Lead nurturing is a technique that involves automatically engaging with leads over a period of time. Nurturing can be used to automatically stay in front of non-sales-ready leads, find hidden leads in cold databases, mitigate churn rates, and enable sales to stay in touch over a long sales cycle. The number one factor in determining the timing of emails in a nurturing campaign is the use of the campaign. Let’s take a look at the three most common uses for lead nurturing, their goals, and the best practices for timing email communication in each.
Net New Lead Nurturing Program:
Goal: Take new leads from a conversion point to a sales-ready lead.
Example: Someone downloads a white paper. They are then nurtured with a drip until they reach the sales-ready state.
Suggested Timing: For Net New Lead Nurturing programs, you first need to consider the length of your selling process. The longer your sales process, the longer you should wait in between emails, and the shorter your sales cycle, the shorter your pause should be. I suggest a minimum of a 6-day pause between emails and a maximum of a 45-day pause. Six days means that you will not run the risk of emailing someone twice in one week, and 45 days gives you a touch once every month and a half.
Note: If you have a sales cycle shorter than 6 days, it is okay to break this rule.
Sales Nurturing Program:
Goal: Help sales stay in front of prospects over a long period of time.
Example: Sales adds a prospect to a program, which sends emails to the prospect that appear to come from the sales rep. The emails are spaced out over a long period of time and remove the manual nurturing process for the sales rep.
Suggested Timing: For Sales Nurturing Programs, you need to work with your sales team to determine your timing. I suggest speaking with your top sales rep to find out how often they currently reach out to their prospects, because they will have the best idea of what is needed and what works best. Their input will be extremely valuable for helping to create this nurturing program. Mimic their manual follow cadence. When I was selling, my cadence was 2-2-12-30-17-2-2-12-30 with follow-ups (this means you would have a two-day pause followed by an email, then another two-day pause and email, followed by a pause for 12 days, and so forth). The idea here is to appear natural.
Cold Lead Nurturing Program:
Goal: To find leads that go cold and bring them back to life.
Example: The nurturing program can automatically find “cold” leads in your database in real time and automatically re-engage with them, creating a safety net for you so that no more leads fall through the cracks.
Suggested Timing: The best way to approach these leads is to assume they know who you are, but that they’re not ready to engage for a multitude of reasons. While you may never know all of the reasons, you can stay in front of them so that when their condition changes, you are there waiting in the wings. A natural cadence is best in these scenarios. Try mixing up times between 6 and 45 days. Having a few pauses followed by a longer pause is a good strategy here.
As you can see, the timing of your lead nurturing programs can and should vary based on your goals. Always start with your end goal first and move forward from there. Best of luck!