Many B2B marketers dedicate time and money to lead generation. Whether you're using online or offline marketing, from PPC campaigns to trade shows, your company wants to attract prospects. People who are in the early buying stage aren't always ready for someone from your sales team to call. Reaching out too late is a known problem, but reaching out too early can drive away potential customers too. If you're looking to improve the results of your lead generation efforts, turn to a lead nurture campaign.
What is Lead Nurturing?
Lead nurturing is how your business establishes a relationship with a prospect that is still in the early stages of buying. This type of campaign focuses on creating a beneficial, working relationship so that when it comes time to buy, that lead turns to your business instead of someone else. Lead nurturing is not about following up to see if someone is ready to buy or sending out an email blast about your company's products. Lead nurturing is:
- Providing high-quality content that is relevant
- Building trust between you and the potential customer
- Finding the most-qualified leads from your generation efforts
Making sure you run your lead nurturing campaign right is crucial to its overall success. In a study done by Forrester Research, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50 percent more sales ready leads at 33 percent lower cost. The right campaign can improve your sales team results while saving your business money.
Right from the start, incoming lead processing campaigns provide your B2B business with the opportunity to create a fantastic first impression.
- This is where lead nurturing begins. Your sales and marketing teams should create a profile of an ideal customer to determine where a lead is "sales ready" or not. Once you have that in place, you can determine your opt-in email marketing or sales representative approach. Having email preference settings in place can help you fine tune your approach and nurturing content.
After you've processed a lead and determined where they are in the buying process, consider the information you'll send them and the frequency. Depending on your business and industry, the time frame for emails will vary, but as rule more than once a week is too frequent and less than once a month is not frequently enough.
- If a lead isn't sales ready and is simply conducting research, your lead nurture efforts need to be geared towards sharing educational, industry-oriented information.
- Even with all the online outlets available, B2B marketers need to focus on remaining as personable as possible, especially when it comes to their lead nurturing campaigns.
- Match your content to where the potential customer is in their buying stages. If they are in the research stages, send tips on best practices, whitepapers, and other educational information. Once they begin showing interest in your content, begin sending more product and solution-focused information.
- If they begin showing even more interest in your campaigns, hand the lead off to a sales representative. When you've determined the lead to be "sales ready," making sure someone from sales gets in touch shortly can be a make it or break it moment.
According to DemandGen Report, on average, nurtured leads produce a 20 percent increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads. But, when you're calculating the ROI of your lead nurturing campaigns, focus on the number of sales ready leads and conversions from both your new and existing CRM databases. Whatever it is your business is hoping to gain from lead generation campaigns, track the before and after to see what is working best.
- Lead nurturing can improve the conversion of prospects from your existing database to sales-ready leads by 2 or 3 times.
- An effective lead nurturing campaign can help generate more qualified sales-ready leads without any additional spending on lead generation.
- Focus on the old and new. Leads that have been deemed "old" aren't a loss. With lead nurturing campaigns, you can turn old leaves into opportunities won.
Lead nurturing campaigns are a great way to make sure your business is making the most of your lead generation efforts. Even better, the right campaign and messaging can take dormant accounts from your database and turn those into conversions. The benefits of a lead nurturing campaign, beyond an increased percentage of lead conversions, are the insights you'll gain into your most "sales ready" buyers, their purchase stages and needs.
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