WEB TIPS: How to start nurturing sales leads

Avoid clogging your sales pipeline with unqualified suspects.

September 5, 2012   by ANDREW SHEDDEN

Approximately 45% of qualified sales leads will purchase within 12 months. Many manufacturers mishandle the qualification process and clog their sales pipeline with unqualified suspects who will never buy, so be certain you’re nurturing a qualified lead.

Keep these four key points in mind:

• Work with marketing and sales to determine how you will define a qualified lead. Usually it involves a combination of budget, authority, need and timeline.

• Have a series of simple qualification questions that are used on a consistent basis to determine if the prospect meets the definition of a qualified lead.

• While qualifying for budget, authority, need, and timeline is ultimately what you want, you may only have time to ask one qualification question during your initial call. Always ask about need. If the prospect has no need they will never buy regardless of budget, authority or timeline.

• Determine their timeline to purchase and, if appropriate, plug them into your lead nurturing program. A sales-ready lead, for example, would be one ready to buy in 30 days or in 90 days.

Lead nurturing can be executed with marketing software, but it’s also key to have highly personalized interactions. Using phone calls and direct mail will dramatically improve your results.

Andrew Shedden is the president of Broadfield Consulting, a marketing consulting firm that helps manufacturers increase profitable revenues. For free industrial marketing resources visit his blog at For new media resources and services visit

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