How to effectively nurture leads

Most B2B purchase decisions aren’t made overnight. Software or factory equipment can impact a company’s profitability for years to come. In fact, sales cycles in some industries can take years, which is why you can’t ignore leads who aren’t ready to buy right away. Just because prospects are not interacting with your sales team doesn’t mean they have stopped researching product offerings and different vendors. This is where lead nurturing comes into place. After your sales representatives make new contacts, you need to build the relationship with them over time to guide leads in the direction of making a purchase. While this may sound highly time-intensive for your organization, an online marketing system can help you move leads through the sales funnel.

Lead nurturing is effective when you start it as soon as people get in touch with you, according to a Ventureburn by Mohit Sharma. This can help your team kick off the sales cycle on the right foot so leads form a positive opinion of your company. Nurturing works best for businesses that can split their customers into distinct segments. Separating clients into different groups makes it easier to create more relevant communications. Vague segments can cause complications in lead nurturing efforts.

Miss fewer sales opportunities

Whether your company utilizes extensive marketing campaigns for Internet lead generation, this will not be worthwhile unless prospects are interacting with your content, Business 2 Community stated. If your website isn’t converting visitors or recipients aren’t opening emails, your team could be missing opportunities. This lack of interaction could be the result of a disconnect in understanding of your target audience’s wants and needs.

You need to learn more about your existing customers, refine your segments and ensure that you are crafting content for each stage of the buyer’s journey. Taking a look at current processes, customer experience and content and make adjustments when necessary. Here are some ways you can implement marketing automation to improve lead nurturing campaigns:

1. Respond quickly

Despite the lengthy sales cycle in many industries, research has indicated that leads are most likely to go with the vendor that responds to their inquiries first, Sharma wrote. Consumer-facing companies pride themselves on speedy responses to clients, and this evolution has spilled over into B2B buyer behavior. Whenever possible, leads should be contacted within the first few hours. All questions should be answered within 24 hours. If this is challenging, marketing automation can allow you to install an auto-responder when prospects perform a certain call to action. You can explain the next steps or inform leads when they will receive a personal response. This helps you avoid missed opportunities.

2. Personalized Web experience

More relevant content on the page as soon as visitors access your website can result in higher levels of engagement. This can also work for existing customers because you can tailor content to their interests to create new opportunities to upsell and cross-sell, according to Business 2 Community.

3. Stay in touch

Even though prospects are more likely to reach out to your sales team when they are ready to talk about different product offerings, this doesn’t mean you can seal the deal with one conversation. Sharma said 80 percent of sales require between five and 12 contacts before completion. Instead of increasing demands on your sales team, the capabilities of marketing automation can make it easier to stay in touch with prospects through email. The platforms can be triggered when leads take certain actions, like interacting with content or spending time on product pages.

Split lead nurturing into stages for the best results

The different steps of lead nurturing should reflect your sales cycle. Nurturing campaigns should start with brand awareness, move on to address the capabilities of your solution and then answer the questions about why your offering is the best, Jenna Hanington wrote for Salesforce’s blog. You need to cultivate leads’ interest and continue to provide them with relevant content as they move through the buying cycle.

Your sales team needs to play a more involved role when leads convert into prospects. They will want more confirmation that your company understand their needs, and prospects are less trusting of content that businesses produce about themselves. Leads want proof that your solution will work for them, which highlights the need for different types of content marketing throughout the sales cycle. To shift leads from one stage of the funnel to the next, your content needs to address all of their immediate concerns. This will help establish trust in your brand, whether leads are engaged in direct conversations with your reps or are conducting their own research on your website.

The more complicated your product is or the longer the sales cycle, the greater the need for lead nurturing. Building a relationship with prospects can facilitate the sales process.