4 Ways to Nurture a Prospect Without the Dreaded “Just Checking In”

We’ve all been on the receiving end of the “just checking in” email.  You know what I’m talking about.

“Hi Jon, just wanted to check in on… blah blah blah”

You receive them ad nauseam until someone snaps, or you finally respond “STOP!”

I totally get it. When your first sales email doesn’t get a response, you need some good follow-ups. But these “just checking in” emails are truly useless – they offer very little value to the receiver, if any, and they’re far overused.

Instead, nurture the relationship with a series of relevant, informed touches – not just regular ‘check-ins’ to see if the prospect is ready to meet. This is the time to use all the account insight you’ve generated to prove to the prospect that you understand their challenges and have a unique approach to solving them. Try these tactics:

  1. Invite them to an event

    Reach out and make a personal invitation to one of your own events or your part of a broader event.

  2. Send them content

    It doesn’t even have to be your own content! Consider sending an article or blog post with a note that says “I read this and thought of what we discussed.” A little effort here goes a long way.

  3. Help them solve a problem

    Introduce your beleaguered prospect to someone, suggest a tactic or send a case study that addresses an issue you know they have.

  4. Comment on their activity

    Let them know you saw their blog post, watched their webinar or read that article.

This kind of thoughtful engagement is much, much better than the rote, zero-content ‘check-in’.

“Targeting outreach campaigns by account enables Cloudera SDRs to research individual accounts and buyers and speak to their exact pain points. As a result, these campaigns produce a 60% open rate, 31% response rate, and massive increases in both net-new opportunities and add-on business from current customers.” – TOPO: Cloudera Case Report, September, 2015

Getting the meeting

Sales Development – or Prospecting – is the heart of every Account Based Everything (ABE) program.

It combines email, phone calls and the personalized end of social media interactions into a coordinated series of engagements that develop and deepen relationships. In many companies, outbound prospecting and Sales Development Reps (SDR) were the sales department’s response to the inability of traditional demand generation tactics to make inroads into major accounts.

But now, ABE brings marketing and outbound sales development into alignment, focusing efforts across the teams in a coordinated way.

In Account Based Everything, the goal of account development is often to get the meeting for the sales rep, not to sell the product. With this mindset, SDR programs shouldn’t try to ‘close the deal’. Instead, they should be all about seizing opportunities to set up a meeting. 

“Don’t call me and read a script. Make it personal and change the nature of the relationship from buyer-to-seller to businessperson- to-businessperson.” – Craig Rosenberg, TOPO

Prospecting Tips

    • Work your referrals – still the most effective prospecting tactic.
    • Get the prospect’s direct number – and skip the switchboard or PA.
    • Call before 9 and after 5 –or figure out your prospect’s typical work schedule… and catch them before or after they get busy.
    • Don’t block your number – no one answers from blocked numbers.
    • Track their response to your emails– use outbound-focused email technology to see if they open your email or click a link.
    • Share their social posts – help them spread their messages (without overdoing it!).
    • Look at autodialers – it can be an efficient way to optimize call resources, connecting more prospects to live calls – and predicting the best times to call. Many of them include local-number dialing which can increase pick-up rates.

“Wednesdays and Thursdays are by far the best days for making contact with leads. Mondays and Tuesdays are the worst. Fridays are not too bad. While we don’t know why this is, time after time the data shows us that it’s true.” – InsideSales.com

Get more killer prospecting tips and templates for your account-focused strategy in our Clear and Complete Guide to Account Based Marketing.

Jon Miller
Jon Miller
Jon Miller is CEO and founder of Engagio. Previously, Jon was the VP Marketing and Co-Founder of Marketo. He is a speaker and writer about marketing best practices, and is the author of multiple Definitive Guides including Marketing Automation, Engaging Email Marketing, and Marketing Metrics & Analytics. Jon has a passion for helping marketers everywhere, and is on the Board of Scripted and is an advisor to Optimizely and Newscred. In 2010, The CMO Institute named Jon a Top 10 CMO for companies under $250 million revenue. Jon holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvard College and has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

One Response to “4 Ways to Nurture a Prospect Without the Dreaded “Just Checking In””

February 16, 2017 at 6:16 pm, Kris Rudeegraap said:

Great post Jon! Here’s a few other great nurturing options I’ve used before that work well.

1) Buy them coffee or lunch. This is a great touch point and gesture and can be done virtually too via eGift for inside sales teams.

2) Send them a handwritten note. This can be used in conjunction with “commenting on their activity” or “inviting them to an event.”

3) Use direct mail to send them content. This can have even greater impact if you send them a printed eBook or printed blog post. It shows them you put in the extra effort and they also have it sitting on their desk which keeps you top of mind. Including a simple post-it note with “I read this and thought of what we discussed” adds a great touch.

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