Although more than 80% of high-tech marketers say they have a lead-nurturing strategy, 64% say their strategy needs improvement, according to a February 2008 survey by TeleNet Marketing Solutions.

As for which areas of overall lead-generation strategy tech marketers would like to improve in the next year, nurturing of long-term leads was the No. 1 response.

Nurturing shortens the sales cycle and improves return on investment from lead-generation activities, so it is important to reconsider your nurturing strategy frequently. Consider the following three recommendations to enhance your strategy.

1. Add or enhance human-touch strategies

When developing a lasting business relationship, it is critical to engage in verbal communication not only to exchange information but also to build trust. Legitimate relationships are an important part of business—critically important when selling a service or solution. If you rely solely on electronic-based communication to nurture prospects, you are missing a vital element.

Consider the definition of lead nurturing: In a complex sales cycle, nurturing is a relationship-building approach utilizing multiple media to provide relevant information to prospects and engage in an ongoing dialog until qualified prospects are deemed "sales ready."

Another way of looking at the value of human touch is to consider the opportunities missed simply because the prospect is too busy to search the Internet for your company's content or download a whitepaper or respond to your email.

However, if you personally reach out to prospects via well-timed phone calls, you make it easier for your prospect to focus on the problem and take action. This is especially true when the telephone calls are relevant and focused, providing value to the prospect.

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image of Kathy Rizzo

Kathy Rizzo is vice-president of sales and marketing at TeleNet Marketing Solutions, a lead generation and lead nurturing company.

LinkedIn: Kathy Rizzo