Are you currently sending all your leads directly to your sales team? Are they quickly disqualifying the leads because they do not have immediate buying intent? By implementing a few updated techniques, you can help drive sales with targeted lead nurturing.
What Is Lead Nurturing?
Lead nurturing is the process of building relationships with prospective buyers. It encapsulates the steps you take after you’ve captured the attention of someone interested in your products or services and before you hit them with a hard sales pitch.
Nearly every customer life cycle diagram has different variations but, generally, it can be broken down into three main functions:
Lead nurturing touchpoints can be applied at every “hold” point listed above. It involves deepening the relationship with your prospective customers by providing them with relevant content.
Currently, what are you doing with leads that indicate they are interested in your offerings but not yet ready to purchase? Are you waiting for them contact you when they are ready? Does your sales team maybe have a phone call reminder set up to touch base every six months?
Whatever you do, don’t lose touch. Send them personalized messages with educational information, short videos, promotions, etc., within a reasonable time frame. Put yourself in their shoes: What more would entice you to buy?
Lead nurturing helps you stay in front of your audience, so they continue to evaluate your offerings and progress further into the sales pipeline.
Marketing Automation Can Support Lead Nurturing
Manually crafting hundreds of personalized messages would be an overwhelming task. Thankfully, there’s technology to help. Marketing automation technology can automate many follow-up activities.
Marketing automation platforms, like ClickDimensions and Salesforce Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (formerly Pardot), enable your team to develop personalized, responsive communications at scale with lead nurturing campaigns.
If you’ve integrated a marketing automation platform with your CRM system, you may be familiar with lead nurturing campaigns. However, the way that it’s named in your system may be different. Some platforms refer to lead nurturing campaigns as drip campaigns, nurture programs, or, simply, campaigns.
Depending on the marketing automation tool you are using, the steps to create nurture campaigns may be slightly different, but the main concept is the same. You are developing a series of actions (also called triggers, automations, automation rules, etc.) and communications based on prospect behavior.
For example, if someone submits a form located on your website, you may choose to add this prospect to a defined nurture program. Adding a contact to a marketing list in your system is another example of an entry point into a nurture program. Once someone is entered into a lead nurture program, you would then send targeted, personalized communications to keep the person engaged with your brand.
How to Nurture Leads
To achieve desired outcomes with lead nurturing, you’ll need to identify your buyer groups, understand their concerns, define how your product or service can solve their unique challenges, and map the customer journey.
After, you’ll be able to see points along the journey where you can provide additional information about your products and services. For example, someone found an article on your website about something for which they were searching. In the article, there was a link to a white paper to learn more. The person filled out the form to get the white paper. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. This person already has had two meaningful engagements with your brand—you answered a question, then provided more information. Now what?
This is a prime time to add this prospective customer into a lead nurturing campaign. The prospect has indicated interest in X. What else should the person know about X? When should you deliver supporting information? Remember, it’s likely it will take several more touchpoints before this lead converts to a sale. Think about how to keep the conversation going.
Here Are a Few Techniques to Try
Leverage Targeted Content
Lead nurturing platforms enable the creation of targeted, automated communications at scale. Think about what additional and supporting product information you can share to address each buyer group’s needs.
Also, what information have you collected already? For example, do you know the company where a lead works? If so, do you have relevant case studies or answers to common industry questions to share? Another example, has this person purchased from you before? If so, when? Would it be time to purchase that product again, or is there another add-on or value-added service to go with the product that has already been purchased? Tell them about it! Maybe even offer a discount.
Each tailored email, digital ad, or SMS text message should provide meaningful and helpful content. Content examples include:
- Blog posts
- White papers
- Case studies
Leverage your targeted content and distribute it to your prospects.
Create Multi-Channel Touchpoints
Reach and nurture your audiences where they are, on multiple channels. Multi-channel lead nurturing can include email marketing, SMS marketing, social media promotion, paid digital advertising and retargeting, dynamic website content, and direct sales outreach.
In addition, nurture programs typically are set up with time delays so you can control and automate when a message is sent. Most lead nurturing platforms also have logic capabilities that enable you to send your prospects down different paths depending on certain criteria.
Implement Lead Scoring
Lead scoring can be implemented in most marketing automation platforms by assigning numeric values to specific website browsing activities, conversion events, or even social media interactions. The lead score, be it positive or negative, will help inform you about a prospect’s interests and intentions.
Some platforms, like Salesforce Marketing Cloud Account Engagement, also allow for lead grading. This shows how good a fit a prospect is for your organization. A person’s location, job title, product of interest, company size, industry type, and more can each have an assigned value that contributes to a prospect’s grade.
When setting up a lead nurturing campaign, each step should have a clear and concise goal or conversion point with the ultimate goal of turning the prospect into a repeat customer. However, each point should have some flexibility.
You can create flexibility by using A/B testing functionality, analyzing analytics (which assets are performing best), and adjusting the campaign accordingly. Experiment with times, channels, email subject lines, etc., to help you assess what captures the most engagement.
Driving Sales with Targeted Lead Nurturing
Lead nurturing involves a series of planned communications with the intent of moving someone closer to a sales conversion.
Companies driving sales with targeted lead nurturing have aligned their sales and marketing efforts to focus on building the customer relationship. This focus helps to support a customer-centric sales strategy, which can help increase positive sentiment, sales conversions, and brand loyalty. People like to do business with brands they trust. Support the customer journey by nurturing the relationship with educational, meaningful, delightful, personalized communications to help build trust and brand affinity.
Want to learn more about marketing automation technology and targeted lead nurturing techniques? Get in touch by using the Contact Us form below. The Business Technology Solutions Team at FORVIS is here to assist.