Cultivating relationships: how to grow leads into customers


How do you get a lead to bloom into a loyal customer? Hint: They need constant love and nurturing. It might just feel like another buzzword, but nurturing is a really important part of the B2B buying process. 

So get your gloves on and trowel at the ready as we explain how nurturing your leads will make your sales numbers bloomin’ marvellous. 

Before you sow: what is lead nurturing?

Imagine you have a garden with seedlings that you want to grow into big, beautiful plants. You wouldn’t expect them to do well after watering them just once. Those seedlings need time, care, and attention to grow strong and healthy. Just like your prospective customers. 

Lead nurturing is a bit like taking care of those customer ‘seedlings’. 

Nurturing means regularly checking in with your prospective customers, providing helpful information, and answering any questions they might have. You want to build a relationship with them so that when they’re ready to buy, they’ll think of you first because you took care of them.

Growing a beautiful and fruitful garden takes time, and lead nurturing is about being patient and building relationships based on trust and value. Here’s why you should start nurturing your leads to help them grow into loyal customers. 

Planting the seeds: why bother nurturing?

Pretty much every business sends emails to prospective customers – so an easy way to stand out from the crowd is by working on your lead nurturing strategy. Only 36% of marketers actively nurture their sales leads, so with a little bit of effort, you could be cream of the crop. 

If you haven’t seen the number of positive responses you expected, don’t panic. Where others might give up after one unanswered email, checking in with customers throughout their journey will put your brand in the forefront of their minds when it comes to purchasing time. 

The nourishment of this relationship through regular communication not only shows a potential client that you’re personally interested in them, but is also a cost-effective way to get the most out of your lead generation activity.

Tending to your leads: the types of nurturing

In the garden of lead nurturing, there are two types of approaches – inbound and outbound. Inbound is like tending to a delicate flower, taking a gentle approach to provide value and assistance. Outbound is more like pruning a tree, taking a direct and sales-focused approach to nurture the lead towards buying.

Inbound nurturing

By planting the seeds of search engine optimization, content creation, advertising, and social media, you can communicate with potential customers on a general basis. Inbound marketing takes a helpful approach, attracting leads who share similar goals or values.

Through the creation of relevant, valuable, and practical content, you can draw in relevant leads like bees to flowers. Once they’ve landed on your website, the nurturing process can begin. And by adding fresh blog content regularly, you can create a thriving ecosystem of leads that are ready to grow and bloom into loyal customers.

Outbound nurturing

Outbound techniques involve communicating messages directly to an audience, regardless of whether they’re already aware of your brand. Perhaps you’ve seen them buzzing around social media or noticed that their values align well with your own. Either way, outbound marketing has the intent to sell.

Other examples include the more bold move of cold calling, the attention-grabbing presence of direct mail, and the personal touch of in-person approaches. Each of these methods can help you achieve your goals and create a flourishing garden of loyal customers.

Learn more about the differences between inbound and outbound marketing. 

Watering the garden: how to actually nurture

1. Get personal

Just as you’d carefully select the right plants for each area of your garden, it’s important to target your content and personalize your outreach emails to the people who’ll be receiving them. Tell the prospect what specifically attracted you to them. What is it about their values, interests, or goals caught your eye? What campaign of theirs have you seen that sparked your interest?

By spending this extra bit of time to get to know your leads, you can create a lasting impression and increase your chances of a response. It’s like planting a seed that you’ve carefully selected for the perfect spot in your garden – you’re giving it the best possible chance to thrive and grow into something beautiful.

2. Cover multiple channels 

Just as a gardener wants to show off their work, business owners need to get their name out there in order to be heard. Fortunately, there are countless marketing channels available for you to connect with your prospects.

By utilizing different online platforms – known as a multichannel approach – you can reach a wider audience and increase your chances of finding the perfect spot for your business to thrive. Here’s how you can nurture leads in a multichannel world.

3. Don’t forget to follow up

Plants take time to grow and mature, and likewise it can take time for your lead to convert. People are busy, emails can get lost, and sometimes they just forget. But don’t lose hope. A timely follow-up can be just the nudge they need. Remember, it’s not always a “no”, it could just be a “not now.”

The statistics show that follow-ups can greatly increase conversion rates, but be mindful of the response you get. If a prospect asks not to be contacted again, respect their wishes and remove them from any email lists. Ignoring these requests can damage your reputation and make you seem pushy. 

Pruning for growth: focusing on the leads that matter

When it comes to prioritizing potential customers, businesses use something  known as lead scoring – essentially creating your own value system to see how much effort to put into each lead.

As a gardener, you’d see which plants work best by monitoring the performance of similar crops and spotting trends and patterns.

The same goes for your leads. You can use data from your past sales activity to see which lead types tend to end up being customers. You’ll then know where to focus the majority of your efforts. 

Developing your own lead scoring system might seem time-consuming, but it’ll ultimately save you time and effort in the long run. Read our complete guide to lead scoring.

Harvest the fruits of your labor and turn prospects into sales

With so many different businesses competing for your customers’ attention, it’s crucial to keep in front of them as they navigate their own buyer journey.

Make sure you shoot above the rest by feeding your leads personalized and relevant content on different platforms at each stage of their journey. This’ll help you stay at the forefront of their minds come buying-time.

Outbase simplifies the B2B lead nurturing process for you. Our gorgeous platform helps you make the most of your content across all your channels – ensuring that you’re sending the right message, to the right people, at the right time. Bloomin’ marvellous 🌺.

Written by:
Colette Hagan-Young Content Writer