Don’t Ignore Your Leads… Nurture Them

Do you find you can generate leads but struggle to convert them?

This is often the case when leads generated by Marketing are passed over to Sales to close and at that point Marketing’s job is seen as done. In reality, often many of these leads are not ready to buy yet.

Sales qualify that the prospect is not sales-ready and the prospect then becomes low priority. This approach results in many early-stage leads being wasted.

Leads need to be nurtured over time and passed onto sales when they are ready, and any leads that subsequently qualified out by sales should be put back into the lead nurturing programme.

By recycling these leads back into your lead nurturing programme, along with your other prospect, when they are genuinely sales-ready they are far easier to convert and the sales cycle is shorter.

How so? Because they will have already grown familiar with your business and established that you are a good potential supplier BEFORE making their enquiry.

Even when a lead is actively engaged with Sales, they should still be nurtured to support the sales process.

Businesses that can successfully nurture leads through the sales cycle can achieve 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost.

To develop your lead nurturing strategy, consider the following:

 

1. Content

You want to stay in touch with Prospects throughout the buying cycle.

However, you cannot keep sending them the same type of messages over and over again. And, if all you have to say is how fantastic your products or services are, your Prospects are going to quickly get bored and look elsewhere for something more interesting.

91% of B2B marketers are implementing content marketing strategies.
Provide useful and relevant information to build your brand awareness and position your business as the experts in your field
You need a range of different type and formats of content to cover different people preferences and different stages in the buying cycle. These include:

  1. Articles
  2. How to Guides
  3. Whitepapers
  4. Infographics
  5. Video
  6. Cases studies
  7. Testimonials

 

2. Automation

Effective lead nurturing without using marketing automation software is labour intensive, time-consuming and extremely difficult to measure.
With marketing automation software you can:

  • Set up automated programmes to nurture prospects by sending triggered messages based on specific behaviours and actions
  • Build dynamic landing pages with targeted content
  • Score your leads based on behaviour and profile attributes
  • Identify when a prospect is highly engaged and pass them over to Sales to either convert to a live prospect, or recycle back into lead nurturing
  • Companies that adopt marketing auomation see 53% higher conversion rates than those that don’t.

 

3. Align Marketing and Sales

In order for lead nurturing to work, you need to ensure that you have a smooth process for passing leads from Marketing to Sales and vice versa.

It is recommended that Sales and Marketing work together initially to agree on what their ideal prospect looks like so that marketing activity can be tailored towards generating the right leads. Lead scoring can be set to give higher scores to those with desirable profile attributes and behaviours.

The outcome is that leads passed to sales are more likely to convert. Systems integration can really help here too, if you are going to adopt marketing automation software, make sure it integrates with your CRM.

This will also allow prospects that are live sales opportunities to continue to receive relevant marketing messages that will help with sales conversions.

 

4. Measure Results

With complex marketing campaigns that have a variety of different elements, such as digital marketing, email campaigns, different pieces of content including blog articles, infographics, presentations and possibly an event or a webinar, how do you know which components worked?

In reality, it is likely to be a combination of all elements and touch-points along the prospects journey that influenced the prospect to make a buying decision. You cannot attribute the revenue generated to one marketing activity alone.

Instead, the prospects journey should be tracked within the marketing automation software and the revenue attributed to multiple campaign elements. Over time you will be able to see trends against which pieces of content are performing the best.

Metrics to Measure Include:

  • Open rates and click through rates for email campaigns
  • The depth of prospects’ visits to your website
  • Number of content downloads
  • Which pieces of content or website page views prior to an enquiry being made
  • Webinar and event enquiries
  • Website visitor numbers

Summary

More and more B2B businesses are delivering lead nurturing campaigns and seeing the benefit from them. In order to implement them effectively, marketing automation software can be an invaluable tool to save time and money, but also to enable complex programmes to be set up and results measured accurately.