Lead nurturing is the ability to look after and educate qualified sales leads that are not yet ready to buy. It can allow you to build a strong brand perception amongst your prospects long before they’re actively engaged in a sales process. It can also help you better understand their needs and find out about their renewal strategy and timings.
According to Marketing Sherpa almost three quarters of all B2B leads are not sales-ready. This means you need to use effective nurturing techniques to engage and communicate with them at multiple touch points in order to help move them towards the buying stage. We’ve identified five techniques for best practices in lead nurturing that you ought to be using.
1. Understand who you need to reach
Many (larger) organisations now have multiple stakeholders involved in the overall decision-making process, so it’s important to understand which individuals you need to reach (junior management through to key stakeholders) and create the right communications strategy to reach those individuals. If you can find a way to get in front of the people they answer to, you’ll have a better chance at influencing the decision-maker(s) and making the lead into a sale.
2. Work closely with sales
Work closely with sales representatives to ensure that leads are being passed to sales at the appropriate time, and so that you are getting the right educational content to them that’s going to engage them and influence their decision. With leads, always target quality over quantity so that you get a higher conversion rate quicker as well as a better ROI.
3. Score leads to keep your best targets in sight
Lead scoring allows you to assign a numeric value to all your prospects in order to prioritise leads according to their quality and how quickly they are likely to close. Create a lead scoring methodology, with input from both marketing and sales teams which analyses demographics, activities and behaviour that make up a sales-ready qualified lead.
4. Establish the right process
Attracting the right prospects needs a systematic approach; first they need to know about you – so you need to have an integrated marketing strategy that ensures your brand is visible and that you are using the right channels. Next they need to like you – by sending credible and timely marketing collateral to them such as emails or content marketing. Then they need to trust you – and this can be achieved through telemarketing follow-up where you can demonstrate specific industry expertise or case studies can be discussed in more detail.
It is imperative that you follow a lead nurturing process to proactively keep prospects interested and move them swiftly through the sales funnel.
5. Monitor progress
Watch for signs of progress through the buying cycle. Every link they click, anything they download from your website and record all comments through telephone contact. You can use this information to understand how close they are to the buying stage and identify the sort of content that appeals to them so you can provide more of the same.
If you’re finding that your typical sales cycle is taking longer to close, a lead nurturing strategy is definitely worth the time and effort, and helps allow you to keep hold of valuable leads and convert them into customers sooner.