An important part of your stay-in-touch nurturing leads campaign is timing: how frequently to communicate with your leads. Every company should figure out its own schedule. In general, a good rule of thumb is to avoid contacting leads more than once a week, but more than once a month. How do you figure out what frequency is right for your company? Here are a couple of tips:
1) Compute the average length of the buying process. Selling high-priced items is naturally going to take more time, as a lead will probably equate price with risk. Use this average as a metric to see if your lead is especially reluctant. If you so determine, you may either want to apply a full-court-press, or recycle the lead for later follow-up.
2) Consider the method(s) of communication you use. A phone call is definitely more intrusive than email or direct mail. The general pattern is to keep the communications low-key until you approach the end of average buying time. At that point, you can mix in phone calls from sales reps and increase the frequency of communications.
Assume a lead has responded to a call-to-action with enough data to warrant being classified as a prospect. Here is an example of a buying cycle that normally takes three months to complete. This is just one possible scenario – don’t take it as gospel.
- 1st Day: send an introductory email to the lead
- 10th Day: another email, this time with an offer for a download of an article or e-book
- 15th Day: the sales rep sends out a personal email to the prospect
- 30th Day: send the prospect a report discussing industry best practices
- 45th Day: first phone call from sales rep, very low key
- 60th Day: another email, this time promoting a group activity such as a webinar or virtual trade show
- 75th Day: the sales rep now sends another personal email, this time offering to demonstrate the product or service to the prospect
- 85th Day: Sales rep calls to arrange an in-person meeting with the prospect. Tone is strong but not threatening.
- 90th Day: Email a sales proposal to the prospect.
If the prospect remains resistant at this point, you should probably put him or her on the recycle list, and make contact again after a couple of months.
When all else fails, simply ask your prospect how often they want to be contacted, and what information would suit their needs best.