In the world of marketing lead nurturing is the process of building relationships with potential clients. In order to begin nurturing it’s not necessary for the lead to be interested already in buying a specific product or service. All that’s needed is some form of contact information (for example, a lead’s email captured through an online form).

A company or organization then uses a lead’s contact info to reach out to them, raising their profile and ideally developing some form of two-way communication. In truth, nurturing a lead is a lot like becoming friends with a person.

Think about it. When you first meet someone you normally don’t start asking that person for things off the bat. Of course, it’s perfectly natural for friends to give each other things (money, books, food, etc.) But this doesn’t happen until after you’ve established a relationship with a person.

What goes into building a good relationship? A lot of things — trust being one of the big ones (this is a topic for another article). Now the actual process of lead nurturing involves different aspects of communication. Right now, let’s focus on listening.

Who doesn’t love a friend that listens? This kind of friend doesn’t just talk to talk, or doesn’t talk at you; he or she talks with you. Listening is imperative to any true communication. In the context of marketing, it’s important for companies to really listen to what the lead is asking or looking for. Scan email communications, dig through recorded messages, chat with them online, or call them up — whatever you do, listen to what the lead is saying!

Here’s the important part. Really good listeners don’t just lend an open ear; they keep track of what their friend has said. This is where marketing automation software comes in. How can a company or organization keep track of so many points of communication happening at different times between different people? A good marketing automation platform stores all of the relevant information communicated by a lead in a centralized place, to be accessed when needed (this is like the really good memory that your listener friend has).

So what’s the moral of the story? Don’t just talk — listen! The more you listen to a lead, the more likely that what you have to say will be relevant to them, ultimately raising your profile, building trust, and getting you one step closer to a conversion.

Read our white papers “Demand Based Lead Generation” and “Marketing Automation 101” to find out more about using marketing automation to nurture leads.