Lead Nurturing Isn’t a Stage in the Sales Funnel

There are few things more enticing than reading or engaging in a dialogue about something controversial. We eat it up. Additionally, it really gets us thinking about the topic, which is a great thing.  Take a look at an excerpt from a Leadspace Radio via Sales Lead Management Association with Carlos Hidalgo, CEO and founder of ANNUITAS.

220-leadspaceradio-carlos20140417LeadspaceRadio: “You speak around the world – what’s one piece of advice that you think is received as somewhat controversial? Think of something that’s not so evident that people should do, or that there’s just this unnatural resistance to.”

Carlos Hidalgo: “We can’t just focus on a piece of the funnel. First of all, we have to understand that the funnel isn’t a buying process. I’ve said it before. I never heard a Buyer say, ‘I’m in the sale acceptance stage of my buying process.’ Buyers are not linear in their progression often times so we really believe that to focus on any one area upstream which is Engage, midstream which would be nurture or Conversion, if you just focus on any one of those areas, you’re missing a good part of the buying process.”

“How can we STOP DOING lead nurturing campaigns? A campaign is something that has a start point and an end point. It’s not perpetual -which demand generation should be. We should be looking at a holistic buying process and then if we want to align that to a funnel that’s fine, but we should be looking at what does our Engagement content have to say? Is it thought leadership? Is it not necessarily pushing my brand but helping me really educate my Buyer?”

“Nurturing has to be a holistic part of demand generation, connected to nurturing and also connected to content. If not, you’ve got a huge gap in that buying process. We really believe that demand generation includes nurturing and nurturing should not be taken out separately.I have seen organizations say, ‘We’re going to focus squarely middle and do nurturing.’  If you don’t know what your upstream content is like, how do you have that continuity and dialog with the Buyer? That’s number one.”

“Number two is really the way that most organizations do lead scoring today is really, really poor. What we’ve done is we’ve said every white paper is going to be 25 points. If a CEO or CMO downloads it they get more points for their title. We really shouldn’t be basing our lead scoring on the asset type. What we should be doing is taking a lead scoring approach that takes into account where in the Buyer Journey that content is consumed. If I download and consume a white paper in my late stage nurture, shouldn’t that be more valuable than something I downloaded prior to white paper, perhaps in my Engagement content? Why? Because I’ve spent more time with you from a buying perspective. I’ve gone down this content journey with you so the later stages that I’m consuming content, the more valuable that content is. However, most organizations they get in a room, they get on a white board and they say, ‘Okay. White papers, case studies, webinars – how many points should these be?’ That’s irrelevant. It’s really all dependent on where in that buying cycle that content piece is.”

This is just a snippet of the conversation from the interview.  Curious to hear more on why lead nurturing isn’t a stage in the sales funnel and more Demand Generation Strategy tips? Listen to the full interview here. For more on the ANNUITAS Demand Generation Strategy, download our eBook, 10 Content Rules for Effective Demand Generation.

Author: Erika Goldwater, CIPP/US @erikawg Director, Marketing for ANNUITAS

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