The importance of lead nurturing
As the B2B sales cycle continues to lengthen, sales representatives need to take a more active role to ensure that contacts don’t drop out mid-funnel. In many cases, Internet lead generation results in contacts who aren’t ready to buy, but they may be interested after conducting thorough research and weighing their other options. It’s important to stay in touch with these leads in a non-intrusive way. Lead nurturing through marketing automation can help your sales team move prospects from one stage of the pipeline to the next. These irreversible changes in the industry require you to adjust your B2B marketing strategy.
Sales professionals could be making a huge mistake by not re-engaging dormant leads, according to a blog post for Accent Technologies written by John Fakatselis.The reason this group is often overlooked is because managers don’t think inactive leads carry a great deal of value. However, prospect activity can stop for a number of reasons, including not having the budget approval to pursue a business purchase. In addition, focusing on lead nurturing efforts can help you double your revenue.
Devoting more attention to dormant leads
Fakatselis pointed out that there has been a variety of research conducted by industry thought leaders, and the consensus is that 75 percent of leads who don’t show immediate interest in your product will buy a related offering within the next two years. If your team dedicates more attention to these leads, you could see higher numbers of closed deals. Just because these contacts appear to be inactive doesn’t mean they aren’t conducting their own research. Companies that find an appropriate way to stay in touch with leads who aren’t ready to buy make a strong impression and ensure prospects will think of them first when they are going to purchase.
There are a number of ways that you can nurture leads until they’re ready to buy. Triggered email campaigns can be highly effective, particularly when reps send short articles about relevant industry topics. In general, B2B sales and marketing are shifting in the direction of educating rather than utilizing blanket advertising messages. Shorter articles are easily digestible and can provoke decision-makers to really assess their needs.
Know your target audience
One of the most important things to do before embarking on a targeted lead nurturing campaign is to be sure your organization has a firm grasp of your target market, Alicia Fiorletta wrote for Channelnomics. You have to know what decision-makers’ needs and goals are, as well as how they use the Internet to search for information. This data can inform your choices of content to send over to leads. Your sales team needs to have a solid understanding of customers’ pain points and how your solution can alleviate them. Establishing your company as a knowledgeable partner in the industry can help contacts trust you, making them more likely to buy.
Before getting started with lead nurturing, you need to ensure you have enough preliminary information to send relevant communications, Douglas Burdett wrote for The Artillery B2B Marketing Blog. Using a marketing automation platform, you can access this data and generate an initial score to determine the types of nurturing needed to move prospects through the sales cycle. It’s crucial to ask for only the required information to start building the relationship with leads – too many fields on a landing page can cause contacts to abandon the process.
Define the right mix of lead nurturing techniques
Many companies utilize email as a lead nurturing tool. While this channel is highly effective, the relationship needs to go beyond it. For example, your sales reps can strengthen their connection to contacts by adding them on LinkedIn, Fiorletta suggested. This gives your employees another platform to reach leads.
Lead nurturing has a variety of benefits, including generating more revenue at a lower cost, increasing conversion rates and helping sales reps better meet their quotas. However, there are some pitfalls to avoid, according to Burdett. For example, if you use a newsletter to stay in touch, it needs to be sent on a consistent basis. Don’t cold call them every few weeks to see if they’re ready to buy – marketing technology can provide an indication of where prospects are in the revenue funnel. In addition, it’s important to not leave leads hanging if they contact your company.
How can you successfully nurture leads? Engaging in content marketing can act as a valuable tool. You can also send emails to stay in touch after leads have been inactive for a while. In addition, lead nurturing can be more effective when it’s the responsibility of sales reps, Fakatselis wrote. These employees are closer to prospects, which means they have more access to actionable information. However, this approach requires collaboration with marketing.