Leads are the gasoline to a sales driven organization. When you have leads, you have opportunities and when you have opportunities, you can capitalize on them to drive meaningful and measurable results.

In the good old days, lead nurturing was a process that happened over the course of months. In todays world, lead identification, nurturing and closing can happen in the blink of an eye. That said, it’s still an art to be able to identify and move a lead down the funnel as they go through the typical buying process. One of the most important pieces of the buying process is the idea of lead nurturing. Lead nurturing is a system for continuing a conversation with a prospect from initial contact until the person is sales ready and closed lost/won.

Here’s four steps to increase your chances of nurturing a lead all the way to success:

Rate Your Leads
When you rate your leads you have the ability to determine which are worth spending your time on and which are going to be more challenging to close. Lead scoring has forever been a key part of the lead management process for businesses at it helps sales professionals in understanding each lead’s level of interest.

We recognize the importance of lead rating and have developed a LeadScore for a wide variety of industries. We’re using an industry specific LeadScore as it’s important to know that different industries have different buying behaviours. Thus, we take this into account through natural language processing and score leads to deliver our clients with high quality leads.

Scoring leads is an easy way to stay effective and efficient with your sales process. Potential factors that determine a lead’s score include demographics, behavioural activity and relationship data. That said, the scoring process and equation that you used to rank your leads should be specific to your particular business and industry. For those managing the lead relationship, lead scoring will not only make the process easier to qualify each lead, but it will also make it easier to prioritize calls and emails.

Research Your Leads
Once you have identified the value and relevance of a lead, it’s time to get a better idea of who they are. Part of lead nurturing and lead management is the process of understanding a leads specific needs so you can tailor a conversation to your prospect. People want to feel more like a person than they want to feel like a sales prospect and for that reason you want to do a bit of digging.

Look up a lead on Linkedin, read their bio and even scan their previous tweets before you start engaging. It’s important to capture as much information about a lead as possible, find out about their company, their position and even their job description if possible. Even demographic and psychographic information can help you in nurturing a lead down the sales funnel.

The more background information you have on your leads, the better the chances that you will truly understand their pain points and be able to position your product or service as the perfect solution.

Build On Previous Interactions
When you engage with a prospect the first time you really need to make sure it’s under the right circumstances. You don’t want to come off creepy and you don’t want to go in for the sale immediately if the prospect isn’t ready to buy. It’s important to gauge a leads comfort level with social media and come to a clear conclusion around whether or not this lead is hot, warm or cold. From there, choose your first type of engagement and continue to build on that interaction over time.

Set a specific, repeatable approach to your strategy for customer touch-points and track success. It’s important that you have a clear idea and strategy in place as it relates to how often and frequently you reach out to each of your specific leads. For example, you might decide that Hot Leads are contacted 5 times a month while Cold Leads are contacted twice.

Once you’ve identified the level of frequency for touchpoints, it’s time to start thinking about what type of interaction you will have with your leads. Some sales teams like to simply send emails that are “checking in” but those are the bare-minimum approach. Ideally, you will want to work with your marketing team to set up a content plan in which you can deliver your leads case studies, infographics and more to help nurture them through the process.