Industrial Marketing

Lead Nurturing Basics: Roles, Stages, Content, Timing

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There is a multitude of information available today regarding lead nurturing and how to make it work for your organization. Sometimes having all of this information readily available at our fingertips can be overwhelming and can leave many organizations at a loss of where to start.

To generate the greatest results, it is best to break lead nurturing down to the basics. Make sure that you are targeting marketing content by role, or job title in the organization, while prospecting. Pay attention to what buying stage your company’s prospects are in so that you can target your marketing communication appropriately.

Also, build relevant content to speak to help pull prospects to want to do business with your organization. Lastly, send communication in a timely fashion so that it resonates with the prospects.


When businesses understand that they have to market differently to each role in the company is when they will see the largest return on investment. There are two types of roles or decision makers in the sales process – influencers and buyers.

In a lead nurturing campaign, having a customer influencer on your side will greatly ease the pressure of closing the sale. It can be likened to having an internal sales champion who already has the trust of their peers and more importantly the trust of the ultimate decision maker. Most likely the influencer is the role with the ‘pain’ and is looking for a solution. As a result, marketing content should be more focused about the benefits and features of your business offering.

However, organizations can’t just target the influencer in lead nurturing and the reason being that influencers generally need a higher power to sign off on any business expenses. This is where the buyer comes into play.

Buyers are typically senior level positions within an organization and therefore lead nurturing marketing content must be tailored to match. This means making the content more high level and usually having it revolve around the ROI, or return on investment. Again, it is advantageous to get buy-in from the influencer first because selling to the buyer can be more challenging.

Buying Stage

Knowing what stage a prospect is in while running a lead nurturing campaign helps organizations create and send specifically targeted content. To simplify, we can break down prospect buying behaviors into three lead nurturing stages.

Prospects know very quickly if something is amiss in their day to day sales activities. Perhaps sales have gone cold or they are no longer meeting business objectives. They may not yet understand how to solve the problem which is why at this point in the buying cycle prospects need educational information.

As the prospect’s ‘pain’ strengthens they start to take a closer look and digest the informational content they have been receiving. At this point, prospects have a general idea of what solutions exist, but are not certain which business to choose or which route to take. This is where a more targeted lead nurturing approach comes into play, such as webinars, trade shows or white papers.

In the third buying stage of lead nurturing, prospects are ready to make a purchasing decision. They have obtained a plethora of information from multiple organizations and are narrowing their focus to just one solution. Prospects in this stage of the buying cycle are looking for answers – what is it that your organization can do for them and how is your organization going to do it better than your competitors.


As you have probably gathered from reading this article as well as other lead nurturing information, content is by far one of the most important aspects of lead nurturing. Without it, what tools would you use in your organization’s marketing efforts?

Because content is so important, make sure that it is clear and concise so that it resonates with the reader at just the right time. Don’t feel as though you need to build brand new content for each lead nurturing campaign as it is perfectly acceptable to recycle old material. However, when doing so, be sure to add a new twist or point of view.

It is very important for organizations to be able to appropriately measure the results from their lead nurturing programs. By measuring the results, your organization will be able to determine which topics are resonating with your target market. You can do this by tracking subject lines in emails to see which topics are generating the highest click through rates. By measuring your results, you can dig deeper and determine which topics your prospects are interested in and build content around those subjects.


Timing is everything. With lead nurturing, businesses can be more strategic in the timing of the interactions with each prospect. It is also important to not bombard prospects with communication as it may turn them away from doing business with you. Overwhelming prospects with information, even if it is relevant, will come off as spammy and prospects will eventually tune out the noise.

When it comes to timing and how often communication should be sent out during lead nurturing varies among companies and industries. It also depends on where the prospect is in the buying cycle. Lead nurturing is about building lasting relationships with prospects until they are ready to purchase.

To strengthen the relationship, timely and relevant content must be developed targeting the right decision makers at the correct stage in the sales cycle. One way to determine where a prospect is in the buying cycle is to incorporate behavior based marketing tactics. This means tracking the activities a prospect does while on your website or during your email campaigns.

When businesses track these activities, they are able to send out more relevant communication, allowing telesales to have better informed conversations with prospects, thus moving prospects further through the sales cycle.