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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 straight over to Sales to close. In reality these leads are not ready to buy, so a conversation with a sales rep at that stage is too early. Using this approach can result in 79% of marketing generated leads not being converted.

Marketing now need to play a much large role in the sales cycle. Leads need to be nurtured over time and passed onto Sales when they are ready. 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, but you can’t keep sending them the same 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
  • When your prospects are closer to making a purchase, they are more likely to come to you

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 behaviours and profile attributes
  • Identify when a Marketing Qualified Lead has become Sales Qualified and automatically pass them over to your sales team

Companies that adopt marketing automation 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 identified when a marketing lead becomes a sales lead and what the lead transfer process is. It’s 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.

4. Measure results

With complex marketing campaigns that have a variety of different elements, such as digital marketing, email campaigns, a variety of 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’s 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:

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

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

 

This article first appeared on the Beanstalk Marketing Blog