A common misconception about lead nurturing in marketing automation systems is that its purpose is to "move prospects through the sales funnel.". No prospect wants to be moved anywhere. The real purpose of lead nurturing is to follow a prospect through her buying process and mirror what the prospect is thinking when she is thinking it.
Who's in charge of the buying and selling process?
Let's say you're thinking about a new surround sound system for your man or woman cave. You haven't decided to buy, but you want to explore your options.
The store salesperson does the classic solution selling routine on you. He establishes rapport, asks what you're looking for (a new surround sound system), and promptly starts selling you on a solution. Within minutes you're overwhelmed because he's talking circles around your current knowledge level.
More important, the salesperson totally missed the mark by assuming you're ready to buy. In other words, he's moving you through the sales funnel with complete disregard for your buying process.
The key problem in using marketing automation software as a sales tool is that it tries to take a shortcut through the typical sales process. The prospects download your report or whitepaper, so you naturally assume they're interested in your product. Most companies start selling solutions right out of the gate with their follow-up emails, just like our surround sound salesperson.
You know from your personal experience that this type of approach just doesn't work. Let's make things right with the following steps.
1. Follow the prospect's buying process rather than your selling process