28 July 2017
We have spent a lot of time in recent posts reviewing the customer journey. Buying behavior has changed and the need for and return to lead nurturing best practice increases as buyers become more discerning about whom they do business with.
“It’s become common knowledge that 30-50% of qualified leads aren’t ready to buy when they first inquire about your business, but about three quarters of those leads will become sales ready within 12 to 18 months.” – Autopilot, 2017
What is lead nurturing?
Closely connected to the buyers’ journey, lead nurturing is a process that aims to groom, qualify and educate prospects at each stage of the journey. For the most part, this takes the form of personalised, targeted content, but also includes telemarketing and social elements like social media, reviews and perceived value/reputation.
Why is it important?
It is fair to say that buyers are using multiple touch-points, consulting more stakeholders and sources as a means of gathering information before making purchase decisions. As a result the sales cycle, especially for bigger ticket items, gets longer and more intricate. Lead nurturing is a strategic way to ensure that your prospects are presented with timely and effective information to guide them through the sales cycle and keep you top of mind as a potential partner.
Let’s look at some of the ways your brand or organisation will stand out from competitors when your prospect is ready to buy.
10 touch-points are needed
That might seem like a lot for some smaller B2B operations, but research shows that prospects react differently depending on where they are at on the journey. Ensuring you have mapped your communications to the areas you know are most important to prospects allows you to improve the effectiveness of the communications. Generic sales pitches aren’t the most effective ways of cutting-through and making a positive impression. If you get the mix of content right the drip feed of relevant information will pay off. Even if prospects on your mailing list are not responding to any of your communications, it does not mean that this is a lost cause. Consistent and strategic targeting across platforms whilst paying attention to cadence has been proven to render results.
Keep your audience engaged by experimenting with different types of content. Ensure you are across the best digital platforms on social media. Digital touch-points vary to include; blog posts, e-books and whitepapers and even mobile via text messaging. Print marketing is also making a comeback; beautiful crafted direct mail pieces are appealing to many customers.
Personalised – right info, person, time
Of all the channels, email marketing continues to remain the most effective means of targeting your customers. Sending quality, value-add and personalised content with engaging copy, brand graphics and images will always help if and when your prospect decides to read one of your emails. If fact, research shows that it can increase sales opportunities by 20%. Qualifying information via a survey can also help to get more buy-in, and to help you tailor content further.
See also: Maximise your email marketing campaigns
Don’t be shy – when the timing is right you should call
Don’t underestimate the power of a warm, friendly outbound call to an engaged prospect – no pressure, no hard sell – but open ended questions that build rapport.
Do sales and marketing speak the same message?
Research shows that 89% of companies that align their sales and marketing teams for lead nurturing see successful results (Hubspot). And it makes sense, ensuring that messaging is consistent across email, direct and social as well as in follow-up telemarketing or any other communications with sales staff means your brand experience is likely to be strong, positive and seamless.
Contact the MIH team if you would like to discuss how to structure a nurture campaign for your business. For an in-depth look at other inbound marketing strategies for B2Bs and NFP download our complimentary ebook.