So you got yourself some fresh leads from your marketing efforts and your favorite B2B database vendor. Now, what do you do with those? That’s right: lead nurturing, and this post tells you six of its least-known secrets and how each applies to you, the IT marketer.
Although you may be quite familiar with this concept, it still bears repeating just to make sure we’re on the same page here. Lead nurturing is the process of keeping in touch with those in your leads database. It helps you discover and build relationships with your prospects by engaging with them in ways appropriate to how far in the conversion cycle they are.
Lead nurturing improves the efficiency of marketing/sales processes. Research claims that businesses that do well in lead nurturing grew the number of their sales-ready prospects by one-half while reducing related costs by one-third. Another study finds that organizations practicing proper lead nurturing saw 9% more sales reps reaching their quotas and shortening the wrap-up time by 10%.
Here are six powerful tips to help you apply lead nurturing effectively in your B2B marketing campaign:
1. Define what a “qualified lead” is.
Leads generated or acquired from different channels and sources require different levels of engagement and interaction in order to be converted and qualified. Lead scoring helps you rate how mature leads are in terms of convertibility. Fresh leads from your online, email, and promotion campaigns may take longer to qualify than sales-ready leads from tradeshows, appointments, referrals, or a B2B list rental company.
2. Know your leads inside-out.
The prospects in your IT leads database are not one-dimensional characters. In fact, they take on various roles that affect their purchasing behavior. Your IT prospects may be categorized either as decision makers, influencers, or any of the “buyer personas” in B2B marketing. It’s important that you correctly classify your prospects in order to nurture them properly.
3. Send the right message.
As mentioned in the numbers 1 and 2, your prospects fall into certain categories according to their convertibility and buyer persona. The next secret in lead nurturing is to match your marketing/sales message with the appropriate grouping of leads. Obviously, the content you deliver to fresh leads should vary from what sales-ready leads receive.
4. Engage your leads closely.
Communicating with leads on a highly-personalized basis is known to improve conversion rates. No matter which medium you’re engaging with your prospects in, it’s important to treat them as if in a one-on-one conversation. Sometimes, this may require staying away from a very sales-oriented message and just establishing your credibility.
5. Lead your leads.
The whole point of lead nurturing is to keep in touch with your prospects in order to lead them through a “buying journey”. Staying in touch with fresh leads or sales-ready prospects throughout the nurturing process ensures better conversion and qualification results.
6. Don’t send your sales reps yet.
99.9% of the time in the lead nurturing process, your sales reps actually play little to no role at all. Your goal in lead nurturing is to prepare your prospects for conversion and not selling per se. It’s only after going through the nurturing process that qualified prospects get introduced to your sales team through appointments or meetings.
Nurturing the folks in your IT leads database is becoming ever more crucial, not only in marketing and sales but also in your business as a whole. The average sales cycle has increased by 22% over the recent years, and you’re now facing three additional decision makers to give the nod of approval to buy your product. Doesn’t this fact underline the clear need to follow effective lead nurturing practices?