Guest post by Sheila Kloefkorn of KEO Marketing
Lead nurturing involves developing relationships with your target buyers at every stage of the sales funnel. You listen to prospect requirements and issues, identify ways you can solve their challenges, and communicate with them using proven marketing messages and channels.
Successful lead nurturing can have a significant impact on your inbound marketing efforts. According to marketing automation company Marketo, organizations that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost. Also, a research study conducted by Forrester found nurtured leads produced an average 20% increase in sales opportunities compared to non-nurtured leads.
How can your technology company get impressive results like this? Some effective lead nurturing strategies include:
- Producing Targeted Content
Creating content for a mass audience does not work. When you understand different buyer personas, you can tailor a broad range of content based on interests, goals, and pain points. A marketing automation platform can help you segment buyer personas.
- Using Multiple Channels
Email has long offered a quick and simple way to reach prospects. Unfortunately, sending out generic emails can lead to dismal results. Instead, you want to leverage a combination of channels to distribute content, including email, websites, blog posts, social media, paid advertising, and direct sales.
- Creating Multiple Touches
You must nurture your prospects throughout the sales cycle. From the top of the funnel to a closed deal, your lead nurturing efforts should create several touch points. At each touch point, you deliver content that addresses pertinent questions at that juncture in the sales process. Your goal is to help prospects advance to the next funnel stage.
- Responding Quickly to Inbound Leads
When an inbound lead becomes qualified, you must follow-up immediately by email or phone call. Although this recommendation seems straightforward, many technology companies fail to conduct timely sales calls. A Harvard Business Review study found B2B companies took an average of 42 hours to respond initially to a lead. The same study reported 23% of the participating companies neglected to respond at all. With quick follow-up, you have a much better chance of converting a lead into a viable sales opportunity.
- Leveraging Personalized Email Marketing
Email continues to offer effective lead nurturing. However, you must avoid sending generic email blasts to every prospect. You can generate better results when you personalize emails triggered by an action. When a prospect engages with your company by downloading gated content, clicking on email links, or visiting certain website pages, you can deliver a targeted message at the appropriate time.
- Adopting a Lead Scoring System
Lead scoring uses a methodology to rank prospect value. Using marketing automation, you assign numeric values based on prospect behavior. How prospects engage with your company and where they are in the sales cycle impact the assigned lead score. Lead scores help determine additional nurturing efforts and direct sales involvement.
- Aligning Sales and Marketing Departments
Lead nurturing should be a shared responsibility between marketing and sales. Both groups must finalize a process and determine how to manage prospects through the funnel. A successful collaboration includes outlining the expectations, responsibilities, and goals for lead nurturing. To learn more, check out this recent Phoenix Business Journal article titled “Account Based Marketing — Tips for Aligning Sales and Marketing.”
Only a handful of leads will convert to customers with initial contact. How do you handle the rest of the leads you generate? For the vast percentage of leads not ready to buy, you need to follow a formal process. Developing a well-designed lead nurturing program keeps prospects interested and moving through the sales funnel.
Sheila Kloefkorn is the President & CEO of KEO Marketing Inc. The Phoenix Business Journal recognized Sheila as one of the Top 10 Business Leaders of the Year. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.