By Cari Baldwin, Co-Founder & Partner, Bluebird Strategies
A recent study estimates that more than 70% of leads generated by marketing are never followed up by sales.
Yet you have invested in these leads, and many of them are long-term opportunities worth developing. To maximize your return on investment you have to nurture these leads.
Lead nurturing is a top priority for most marketers; not long ago DemandGen Report found that 60% of users of marketing automation software set it as a top functional priority. The problem is that many marketing teams don’t follow through; in the same report only half as many respondents (31%) said they are using nurturing effectively. Which half are you?
To get you thinking about how you can jumpstart your nurturing efforts, here are 12 unique programs we have identified that you can use based on your company’s needs:
New Prospects: For those who don’t know you, craft a series of touches that build credibility with the lead. Don’t start selling too early. Connect with the lead by explaining problem and the various solutions available. Once you have built that trust, you can begin shifting the conversation to why they need your product or service.
Long Sales Cycles:If your sales cycle is more a marathon than a sprint, make sure your nurture is built for endurance. Be patient. Have enough relevant content at each stage of the buying cycle and know when to remind them of your value proposition and why they need to act.
Score Acceleration: Lead scoring helps prioritize your efforts by qualifying leads and assessing prospects’ interest and behavior. Creating a program specifically designed to capture information or activity that can be scored. Use fun punchy content or progressive profiling to get complete and scored view of the lead.
Cross-sell and Up-sell: Once a prospect has bought, use the information you have compiled to determine other appropriate products and services. Calibrate the frequency of touches to the prospect’s receptiveness to further contacts.
Event Follow-up: The aftermath of a trade show, webinar or other activity is a good time to reach out to attendees to learn their needs and likeliness to purchase. It’s best to have this in place before the event happens. Gauge the responsiveness of each and tailor your messaging and frequency appropriately.
Customer Retention: For your established customers, satisfaction surveys, discount offers and similar nurturing can increase loyalty and repeat sales. It’s far more expensive to acquire a new customer, so stay in touch with the ones you have.
Role or Title: Understand each role as it affects the prospect’s status and influence in evaluating products and recommending or approving purchases. Look back at previous customers and identify trends in title/content consumption.
Industry: Research the challenges and needs of the prospect’s own industry and shape your messages to explain how you can help address them. Customer case studies that are industry specific are especially powerful.
Company Specific: Is Coca-Cola a target of your sales force? According to LinkedIn there are over 3000 marketers at Coke. Where do you start? How do you influence? Create a nurture that identifies your depth and understanding of the beverage industry. Add specific Coke messaging into the emails and landing pages. At the end, you will be able to hand your sales team the most interested leads at a company.
Wake the Dead: Consider renewing contacts with former customers or once-promising prospects to learn whether changed circumstances or advances in your product offerings reveal new opportunity. The disqualified and cold lead bin is a treasure trove of potential opportunities.
Remarket: Did an opportunity die on the vine with sales? Was a lead deemed too far out in its buying timeframe to be good for sales? Make sure these leads enter remarket program that keeps their interest alive or reignites it again.
Sales Acceleration: Sometimes nurturing will show that a prospect may be ready to buy. If so, shift your content to speed up the cycle.
Any or all of these types of program can help you turn what would otherwise be lost leads into solid opportunities. By refining your lead nurturing to treat each prospect or group in a personal manner, you increase the chances that they will buy from you instead of a competitor.
Cari Baldwin is a seasoned demand gen guru, recognized thought leader and frequent industry speaker on marketing automation with nearly 20 years experience. As partner and Co-Founder of BlueBird, Baldwin ensures the firm drives marketing programs that deliver measurable ROI for their clients. With a solid technology understanding of leading marketing automation solutions, her strengths include a deep focus on lead nurture content and process strategy, demand generation planning, content and offer development, scoring, program planning, management, execution and analysis.