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B2B Marketers Rethinking Lead Nurture Strategies As Acceleration Programs Stall

Given the long sales cycles most B2B organizations have, lead nurturing is typically a critical part of marketing strategies. However, a sneak peek at the preliminary results from our annual Lead Nurturing & Acceleration Benchmark Survey reveal that B2B marketers are struggling with the results of their campaigns to maintain or advance the initial interest of prospects.

While respondents in 2016 said that their nurturing efforts were improving compared to 2015, this year’s results show that there is a current lull in how B2B companies view their nurture efforts. More than three-quarters (77%) state that their lead nurturing initiatives are either "average" or "need improvement," while only 11% deemed their nurture campaigns as “excellent.”

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This lackluster assessment of B2B nurture initiatives can be attributed to a variety of challenges that come with the task. Respondents noted that developing targeted content by buyer stage and interest is considered the biggest challenge, earning an average vote of 3.43 on a one-to-five scale — with five being considered “most challenging.” This was followed closely by building the right timing/workflows for campaigns (3.32). A shortage of data on which leads to nurture (3.07) and the inability to track anonymous visitor activity on company websites (3.03).

While combat these challenges, many of the respondents noted that they were not seeing as much success as anticipated. Thirty-one percent of the survey takers stated that they are seeing no measurable difference in the performance of nurtured leads compared to non-nurtured leads. This is a considerable increase from the 12% in 2016 who were seeing no marked difference in the performance of their nurture campaigns.

Marketers Pivoting Nurture Approach With More Account-Focus, Personalization

While initial assessment looks bleak, the survey showed B2B marketers understand that nurture and acceleration programs are a pivotal part of their jobs and are responding by incorporating new, innovative ways to engage prospects throughout the buying journey.

Based on the preliminary survey data, there are a variety of new approaches and tactics that are being taken to reinvigorate nurture efforts. Some of the techniques highlighted by the survey respondents include:

  • Account-based nurtures (21%);
  • Marketing/sales orchestration (18%);
  • Enhanced personalization strategies (17%); and
  • Retargeting (14%).

Respondents are also experimenting with measuring buyer engagement through formats other than form fills. Video (66%), thought leadership (65%) and infographics (59%) are being made available ungated, streamlining the content consumption process and possibly accelerating leads through the funnel.

What are your thoughts on preliminary findings from the 2017 Lead Nurturing & Acceleration Survey? Let’s have a discussion in the comment section below! Stay tuned for the full report, publishing on Aug. 23, 2017. 

Brian Anderson

An avid B2B journalist with a knack for all things trendy in the POS, mobile and social space.