The sales process has evolved rapidly, and customers’ relationships with marketing are different than they used to be. Today’s first 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 sophisticated, efficacious lead-nurturing strategies to build meaningful relationships and trust with prospects that are both relevant and consistent.
Consumers and Lead Nurturing
Consumers have access to more options than ever before, so they are pickier about who and how they interact with brands. First, the general expectation of today’s consumer is a personalised and timely interaction. Lead nurturing campaigns are important as they help brands measure the interests of prospects, understand prospect behavior in-depth, and then 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 if it is relevant and contextual to their preferences.
Why is lead nurturing important?
Lead nurturing plays a critical role in building a brand. It helps to build brand awareness about a business and its products and services to 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 to its prospects. Today’s sales cycle is longer and more expensive for a company. In addition, nurturing leads can shorten the sales cycle through consistent and relevant communication. Lead nurturing can really help companies to grow their businesses.
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 the 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.
Categorizing your leads will help you to identify the best leads to nurture.
The different types of lead nurturing campaigns that can be included in the strategy are:
1. 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.
2. Top-of-mind campaign
A top-of-mind drip is a post-welcome step that engages your leads regularly. 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 for a hard sell. The top-of-mind campaign can also be automated to create greater efficiency.
3. Re-engagement campaign
A re-engagement campaign is designed to reinvigorate inactive leads. Relevant content such as helpful blogs, case studies, and new white papers can help restart the conversation with these leads and motivate them to re-enter the sales process.
4. Product-focused campaign
A product-focused campaign targets prospects who are already considering purchasing the product. As prospects progress through the sales funnel, they begin to seek out more product or service information. These campaigns ensure that the prospects get 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.
5. 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.
6. Industry expertise drips
Using industry expertise drips, you can reinforce the benefits of your products and services to prospects in the middle of the sales funnel. The campaign reminds prospects 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
7. Promotional drips
In order to convert prospects into customers, promotional drips act as a final catalyst creating the right offer that can serve as motivation to buy for prospects who are at the end stages of the sales funnel. An effective promotional drip requires personalization that offers special pricing or additional features based on every prospect’s individual needs. A high-value incentive for the prospect can help close the deal.
8. 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.
9. Upsell drip
Using an upsell (or cross-sell) campaign, you can capitalize on your existing clients. The campaign aims to move customers up the ladder by introducing them to higher-value features so that they expand the list of products they are using. This campaign helps drive more revenue with little effort from your sales team.
10. Renewal campaign
A renewal campaign serves to maintain existing customers whose contacts are about to expire. It reminds your existing customers that it is time to renew their contracts, which is equally important. Over a specified period, this drip can be automated to send multiple reminder emails.
Steps to create an effective nurturing campaign:
Select the type of nurturing campaign your company would like to run to achieve business goals.
And then target leads by identifying and segmenting them. Build a flow for your drip campaign.
Create relevant content for your campaign.
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.