Over just the last year alone, I bet more has been published about how to do B2B lead nurturing and content marketing than anyone with demand generation responsibility could possibly absorb in a lifetime.  Even if that’s all they did, all day long, every day of the week!  

By the way, knowing all that great information is out there and even knowing what to do with it is one thing.  Having the time, resources and expertise to put everything in place and execute against all that great advice is a much different challenge.  

What is not discussed nearly as much, which of course is the reason we do all this content marketing in the first place, is how and when to try converting engaged leads to sales ready discussions.  We actually find many marketing leaders are so bought into the nurturing gurus’ doctrine they seem afraid to ask their leads for a conversation now and then.  They appear convinced that any form of selling is now a bad thing and has no place in a pure lead nurturing program.

Remember this fact, those of you selling a B2B product or service. 

If you have leads engaging with your nurturing campaigns, opening and reading messages, clicking through to your website, joining your online discussions, doing downloads and registering for your webinars, they ARE NOT doing it because they have nothing else to do at work that day.  They have a business problem they are trying to understand, prioritize, research or resolve.  Your value-add content is likely helping them through this process, now it’s your job to make it just as easy for them to let you know they are ready to talk to someone.

Here Is Where REAL Sales and Marketing Alignment Matters Most

For you lead gen marketers struggling to define worthwhile calls-to-action in your campaigns, assemble your best sales executives and ask them this question.  When they are sitting across from a qualified, decision-level prospect who admits to them, “Yes, I may have an issue with our __________.  I’m just not sure it’s as big a problem as everyone makes it out to be.”  What do they offer that prospect to help them ‘get to the next stage’ of researching and understanding their possible challenge?   The best reps will have a number of options at the ready, depending on the role, level, stage and urgency of the request.

Your job as the demand gen marketing leader is to convert those options into written offers, website buttons, downloadable tool-kits, online calculators, (you get the idea)!  Those are what make it easy for your leads to TELL YOU they are ready to get serious and would like a little help from one of your experts.

Now, go create those calls to action and put them into practice in your content marketing and lead nurturing programs.

Leads that are ready will click.  When they do, CONGRATULATIONS, you just created a sales-ready lead.