I was walking my dog past the school playground recently and watched a dad with a young child playing on the monkey bars. The boy could barely jump up and reach the rungs, but seemed paralyzed at the distance between the rungs to begin his navigation.
Then I heard him command his father: “swing me, Dad, swing me.” The father gave the boy a gentle push and, using the momentum created by the swinging, the boy navigated his way across the remaining bars.
However, whenever he ceased his momentum and stopped on a rung, he was unable to restart. He dropped to the ground to return to his father for a lift and a swing.
This got me thinking about lead management. We know that initial inquiries begin to go cold within hours. But too often our follow up connections are “one and done:” a phone call, landing page, white paper, webinar or some other content touch.
Without an automated lead management program with a well prepared nurturing plan, prospects, like the boy, can easily lose momentum, become stuck at a stage, and have to drop off. And restarting prospects is a lot harder than lifting a boy and providing a gently push.
It takes a lot of effort to acquire new and initial relationships. Before deploying that whitepaper, conducting that webinar, or attending that trade show, it only makes sense to plan out the downstream nurturing activities that will maintain prospect momentum as they navigate their buying process with the aide of your content.
This takes real effort. If it’s not part of well defined content publishing plan and program — we’re calling it a content engine — the urgency of immediate activities will overwhelm activities that are critical to achieve desired outcomes.
It has to become baked into the process, the “this is how we do this.” Left to individual discretion, it will seldom occur, and will not happen with the required quality and consistency of a best practice.