“These leads are gold.”

Most people have seen Alec Baldwin from the movie Glen Glenross. Baldwin plays a hotshot trying to fire up a group of real estate salesmen. He shows them a stack of new leads and says, “You don’t get them” because “giving them to you is just throwing them away.”

If you’re like most organizations, you have a robust Content Marketing plan that drives traffic to your web sites and generates leads. What do you do with those leads when you get them? Are you “just throwing them away?”

The best way to ensure leads is by implementing a structured Lead Nurturing Program.

The Association of Strategic Marketing’s white paper titled The Importance of Lead Nurturing and Scoring defines Lead Nurturing as “building a relationship with eligible prospects regardless of their timing with the aim to boost their business when they are prepared.”

According to ASM, nurtured leads can increase sales by as much as 20%. ‘Click-through’ rates from Lead Nurturing emails are 8% compared to only 3% from general emails. Despite this increased sales potential, 69% of B2B marketers fail to use a Lead Nurturing system.

The core of any Lead Nurturing program is well-crafted, relevant content. Here’s why:

1. Content Establishes Credibility

“The most important features a B2B vendor must have are trust and credibility,” the ASM report points out. “They have to build credibility and reputation by sharing relevant and valuable information.”

2. Content Keeps You in Contact

According to ASM, the new generation of buyers tends not to commit to a sale until the last third of the buying process. Therefore, sales and marketing need to be involved throughout “delivering high quality content and information for prospects that is responsive, timely and relevant.” And “The only way that they can maintain ongoing conversation with prospects is with a comprehensive Content Strategy,” the report asserts.

3. Content Helps Drive the Buying Decision

ASM states that 95% of prospects visit a web site for research purposes but 70% will eventually buy from that company or from a competitor. Not using a content driven Lead Nurturing program is the number one reason for poor lead conversion. Overall, 79% of marketing leads are not converted to sales. However nurtured leads drive 47% more purchases than non-nurtured leads.

According to the ASM, Lead Nurturing involves establishing your credibility in the marketplace, presenting your solution as the most viable, and ultimately convincing your prospect that you are the correct choice for them. As always, the key to accomplishing that is through informative, well crafted and compelling content.

Are you nurturing your leads? Are you drawing traffic but not converting sales?