The demise of the sales funnel has been greatly exaggerated.

True, the buying experience has evolved, along with customers' expectations about where, when, and how they'll make that purchase. It's much less a straight shot from point A to point B than it is a winding path full of switchbacks.

Whether you think the funnel is dead or simply evolving, one thing is clear: Today, business is personal. Buyers expect sellers to know what they like and what they don't.

To nurture prospects correctly, and give them what they want, you need to adjust your messaging based on where they are in the sales cycle.

Rather than just pass leads off to Sales, marketers now shape and guide prospects through the sales funnel until purchase intent is clear. Thanks to lead nurturing, doing so is easier and more effective than ever before.

This is the nature of nurture

Lead nurture, also called drip marketing, is a powerful feature of a marketing automation system that enables you to stay automatically engaged with future buyers, helping successfully guide a lead from initial interest to the closing of the sale. With the ability to drive revenue from a database of leads that you've already built, lead nurture has the potential to transform the way you do business.

What makes lead nurture effective is its ability to automate thoughtful, targeted communications based on prospects' own activities and interests. No more generic emails. No more getting spammed. When you execute the process successfully, you can establish buyer preference for your solutions while at the same time gaining an understanding of buyer timing.

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image of Brad Dodge

Brad Dodge is the president of Dodge Communications, a full-service integrated public relations and marketing agency helping healthcare and technology companies build strong brands, demonstrate thought leadership, and drive sales.

Twitter: @BradDodge