Why You Need Lead Nurturing Campaigns

As the B2B sales cycle continues to get longer, firms need ways to proactively manage the buyers’ journey. One of the challenges sales representatives face on a regular basis is leads waiting until they have reached a decision before ever making contact with the company. However, this doesn’t mean they aren’t investigating your product offerings online during this time. When sales employees focus on building the relationship with prospects, your firm can achieve better results over time.

There is a major disconnect when it comes to Internet lead generation. Some companies focus on attracting a large number of prospects, but this may not contribute to a sustainable sales pipeline unless these leads are a good fit for the product or service. Additionally, organizations may fail to see the desired return on investment on their marketing efforts because the sales team is prioritizing the wrong prospects. Smart B2B firms are paying more attention to their existing leads and dedicating more of their marketing budgets to lead-nurturing campaigns. In these businesses, the marketing team is actually responsible for bringing in 20 percent of company revenue, according to Oracle and Bizo’s “The State of B2B Lead Nurturing” report.

There has been a marked change in the sales cycle as B2B buyers become increasingly more empowered, and firms are adapting by devoting more of their marketing budgets to lead nurturing campaigns. The report found that one-third of businesses spend less than 25 percent of their budgets on generating new leads. Instead, companies are creating more flexible sales pipelines by building the relationship with existing leads.

If you’re conducting lead nurturing campaigns, are you doing enough?

Many businesses are familiar with the concept of lead nurturing, which essentially means staying in contact with leads throughout the sales process to ensure they move through one stage of the revenue funnel to the next. The most common form of nurturing is email, but your efforts most likely are not going far enough if you’re only using this tactic. According to the Oracle study, 79 percent of marketers said their emails are only opened 20 percent of the time. Depending on the number of leads your company works with, this won’t help you increase revenue.

In addition to prospects not opening messages, there are other issues with email marketing: it can only be used to contact prospects who have already shared their information and your database may not be entirely accurate. B2B buyers are waiting longer to make contact with organizations, which means they will be unreachable by email during a crucial part of the sales cycle. Even if buyers are downloading content from your website, they may not be giving their real information until they are sure they can trust your company, which leaves many inaccurate email addresses in your database.

Compared to other methods of lead nurturing campaigns, email doesn’t have the same conversion rates. An integrated marketing environment can help B2B firms more effectively build relationships with their prospects.

Personalization makes a big difference in lead nurturing campaigns

Another reason email marketing often falls flat is because companies send generic messages to all their prospects, Laura Hogan wrote in an article for Inbound Marketing Tips for Business Owners. Targeting is gaining a lot of attention in both the B2B and B2C worlds because recipients are becoming far less patient with emails that don’t directly relate to their interests. This could lead to higher numbers of unsubscribes, and then you have no way to get in touch with these prospects if they didn’t give you accurate contact information.

Hogan points out that it may be better to allow slightly more time to elapse if it means you can send prospects more relevant information. This can help your brand establish credibility. The way to determine leads’ unique buyer personas may be from the download forms on your website. In most cases, B2B brands offer gated content on their pages. Once leads enter their email addresses or business phone number and download the white paper or case study, they are sent more information based on the content they viewed. However, this may not form the most accurate picture of prospects’ individual interests and needs.

Persona-based lead nurturing campaigns is typically more effective because it’s more relevant to prospects. Rather than basing lead nurturing on your branded content, you can include fields on your website forms to learn a little more about prospects before entering them in a specific campaign. For example, you can ask about their pain points, job titles or the industry. If you ask multiple questions, you can place them in the campaign based on whichever data point is most relevant to your business. Lead nurturing helps prospects convert, but you need to personalize content and take your campaigns beyond email.