Why ‘Not Ready Yet’ is Actually a Great Sales Opportunity

“Not ready yet, follow up in 2 months.”

This phrase is something seen all too often in CRM systems, a little note that a salesperson makes whenever a lead isn’t ready to close but isn’t dead, either. It’s a one-size-fits-all, one-way ticket to a lost lead — but it doesn’t have to be.

“61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to Sales; however, only 27% of those leads will be qualified.” –MarketingSherpa

In addition, “Research shows that only 20% of sales leads are ever followed up. In other words, 80% of potential opportunities are lost without a trace simply due to lack of follow-up.” –The Marketing Donut

Many leads who aren’t ready to close could become ready with a little extra effort. According to MarketingSherpa, “79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance.” When a lead gets put on a follow up list without any contact, messaging or nurturing in the meantime, that is a missed opportunity. Instead, those leads that aren’t quite ready could be enrolled in a nurture campaign designed to move them along through the buying process. This proactive approach to an unripe lead can be a huge opportunity for growth.

“Nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads.”–DemandGen Report

“Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost.”–Forrester Research

Lead nurturing isn’t the only way to take advantage of this opportunity; lead scoring can also come into play. Lead scoring is a shared sales and marketing methodology for ranking leads in order to determine their sales-readiness. The goal of lead scoring is to identify which leads are ready to move to sales and which leads require further nurturing.

Lead scoring is a way to efficiently monitor, organize and filter leads. By combining this tool with your nurture campaigns, you can build a more effective lead management process, too. Regularly reassessing the qualification criteria for each lead stage will result in improvements to your marketing and sales process, allowing you to preemptively and accurately filter out leads who aren’t ready to talk with sales yet. With practice, you can recognize behavioral patterns that should trigger specific nurture campaigns. This helps sales focus only on sales-qualified leads. The ability to automatically generate nurture campaigns is one major way marketing automation software aligns marketing and sales teams. Both teams can work as a unit to define lead stages, develop qualifying criteria and determine needed nurture campaigns.

If all those leads who aren’t ready to close are put into nurture campaigns, imagine the upgrade in their potential. You’re given a second chance to earn their business and you can start by becoming a trusted source of expertise. Build that trust and over time you will create a relationship that is significantly more likely to result in a sale.

That lead might not be ready yet, but you should be.

Need some guidance to set up a few nurture campaigns of your own? Ready to take advantage of this opportunity? We can help.