Live From DMA2010: How to Double Conversion Rates With Effective Lead Nurturing
For HP Software, Lehman says, early in the sales cycle consumers are still looking around and doing research on several vendors. That's why the company puts information about the software on third-party sites.
When consumers opt-in on the HP Software site or call the company—his department sees tens of thousands of leads each quarter—that counts as the first touch. The next touch will be of another ilk—a webinar, for instance. Then, spaced about two weeks apart, leads receive a white paper promotion, then an outside research piece and, finally, a call. The idea is to give leads what they need at each level of the sales cycle in a channel that works best for them, he says. Without lead scoring, he says, "it's almost like you're not listening to people" and companies are just creating spam.
For HP Software, non-responsive leads become "dead" after 24 months—the usual amount of time a customer takes to upgrade or buy new products. At that point, even though the lead opted in, HP Software stops contacting them.
Maintaining engagement is key and response rates depend on understanding leads. "You really have to think about your target audience and what it is you want them to do." So it's usually two to three touches, yielding positive responses, before marketing forwards leads to sales, Lehman says.