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A Definitive Guide To Lead Nurturing

Business |

The sales process has evolved rapidly and customers’ relationship with marketing is different than what it used to be. Today’s consumers are researching products and services on their own. Consumers are more cautious and they are reluctant to engage with businesses until later in the decision-making process. Thus it’s becoming harder for marketers to build customer trust and loyalty. New age marketers need to build a sophisticated, efficacious lead nurturing strategy to build meaningful relationships and trust with prospects that are both relevant and consistent. 

Consumers have accessibility to more options than ever before and hence they are pickier about who and how they interact with brands. The general expectations of today’s consumer is a personalised and timely interaction. Lead nurturing campaigns are important as they help brands to measure the interests of prospects, understand the prospect behaviour in-depth, and create a more streamlined buyer journey that converts a lead into a customer. According to a 2015 report commissioned by Salesforce, 65% of B2B buyers only engage with a vendor sales rep after they’ve already made a purchase decision. The study also found that 83% of those customers only want to hear from a business only if they are able to be relevant and contextual to the customers’ preferences.

What is lead nurturing?

Lead nurturing is the process of forming long-term relationships with prospects and pushing them further down the sales funnel. Lead nurturing allows companies to build trust with their potential buyers which increases their likelihood of converting. Today’s lead nurturing campaigns seek to engage prospective customers on multiple channels such as emails, social media, and mobile devices to develop consistent, targeted, and highly relevant communication with them. Nurturing has the power to speed up the sales process by delivering the right message to prospects who are already evaluating the brands as well as those who are unsure about the buying from the brand. 

A well designed nurturing campaign must act as a guide to prospects which answers consumer’s pertinent questions, how to overcome these obstacles, and position the brand’s product or service as the ultimate solution to these obstacles. Marketing automation is allowing modern-day nurture campaigns to be personalised, adaptive and reactive to consumer behaviour.

Why is lead nurturing important?

Lead nurturing plays a critical role in building a brand. It helps to build awareness about a business and its products and services and gain the trust of prospects. By building credibility, a brand can position itself as a reliable and trustworthy partner whose offerings would be a valuable addition for the prospects. Today’s sales cycle is longer and it is expensive for a company. Nurturing leads can shorten the sales cycle through consistent and relevant communication. Lead nurturing can really help companies to grow their business.

According to a Forrester report,  companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales at a 33% lower cost. Nurtured leads tend to make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. Lead nurturing email campaigns get 4-10 times the response rate than regular email blasts. According to Gartner Research, lead nurturing can potentially save 80% of direct mail budget and bring a 10% or greater increase in revenue over 6-9 months.

Developing a lead nurturing strategy can help organizations to grow their business while reducing the cost of acquiring new customers and gaining a competitive advantage over others.

How to create an effective lead nurturing strategy?

Essentially, leads can be segmented into five categories-

  • Prospects who buy without prompting.
  • Prospects who require time to consider all the options but eventually buy without prompting.
  • Prospects who buy without prompting, but can be convinced to make larger purchases.
  • Prospects who require nurturing before they buy.
  • Prospects who are unwilling to buy despite nurturing.

Categorising your leads will help you to identify the best leads to nurture. 

The different types of lead nurturing campaign can be included in the strategy are:

Welcome campaign

Welcome emails can be used to nurture leads. In the initial email, it’s important to get the messaging right as it serves as a first impression of the business. Welcome campaigns must contain educational information about your products and services. Such campaigns are repetitive and hence can be easily automated. 

Top-of-mind campaign

The top-of-mind drip is a post welcome step that is designed to engage with your leads at regular intervals. The objective of this campaign is to keep your brand’s name in the conscience of the leads through consistent communication about the value of the company’s products and services without going pushing for a hard sell. The top-of-mind campaign can also be automated to create greater efficiency.

Re-engagement campaign 

Re-engagement campaigns are targeted toward inactive leads, with the goal to reinvigorate them. Relevant content such as helpful blogs, case studies, and new white papers can help re-start the conversation with these leads and motivate them to re-enter the sales process. 

Product focused campaign

Product focused campaigns are designed for prospects that are already interested in purchasing. As prospects progress through the sales funnel, they begin to seek out more on product or service information. These campaigns ensure that the prospects make getting the right product information from the company itself, instead of a competitor or biased third party. The content of the campaign must focus on your prospects’ pain points, how your product can address them, and the key features and benefits that will help along the way. 

Competitive drips

The objective of a competitive drip campaign is to focus on product differentiation between you and your competitors. The idea is to highlight the advantages of using your product, as well as the disadvantages of not using it to divert prospects from your competitors to your sales funnel. It’s important to use the ghosting technique (not directly taking names of your competitors) and refrain from talking down about your competitors’ products as this can come off as distasteful. 

Industry expertise drips

Industry expertise drip is designed for prospects who are in the middle of the sales funnel, to reinforce the advantages of your products and services. The campaign reminds prospects about why your brand is the right choice for them. Press releases, industry reports, and high-traffic content can help to establish your company’s authority

Promotional drips

Promotional drips are designed to act as a final catalyst to push prospects to convert to buying customers. Creating the right offer can serve as motivation to buy for prospects who at the end stages of the sales funnel. An effective promotional drip requires personalisation that offers special pricing or additional features based on every prospects’ individual needs. A high-value incentive for the prospect can help close the deal.

Onboarding campaigns

Onboarding campaigns can be an automated or high touch process. Nurturing campaigns allow you to automate some of the more repetitive tasks involved in onboarding, like providing introductory training resources, a list of next steps after the close, timelines for product kickoffs, and frequently asked questions. 

Upsell drip

The upsell (or cross-sell) campaign is designed to capitalise on your existing clients. The campaign aims to move customers up the ladder by introducing them to higher-value features such that they expand the list of products they are using. This campaign helps drive more revenue with little effort from your sales team.

Renewal campaign

Renewal campaign is designed for nurturing existing customers whose contacts are about to expire. It reminds your existing customers that it is time to renew their contracts. This drip can be automated to send multiple reminder emails over a specified period of time.

Steps to create an effective nurturing campaign:

  • Select the type of nurturing campaign your company would like to run to achieve business goals.
  • Identify and segment leads that will be targeted by the campaign.
  • Build a flow for your drip campaign.
  • Create relevant content for your campaign.

Final thoughts

Lead nurturing campaigns are important for a company to build customer trust and advocacy. At Alkye, we offer our clients demand generation services to help them attract and convert quality leads into new customers.