The Most Effective Lead Nurturing Practices That Work in 2017
Yuliya Skorobogatova 5 June 2017
Overshadowed by a variety of marketing techniques, lead nurturing is something companies often forget about. It is easy to close deals when your leads are qualified and ready to buy. However, there is always a big cohort of prospects who are not so sure yet whether they need your product or service. Lead nurturing focuses marketing efforts on preparing these potential clients for their first purchase.
How Effective It Is?
Though it may seem like yet another step in a process that’s already long and daunting, lead nurturing makes a world of difference. In fact, both Marketo and Forrester Research have found that companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost!
Still not convinced? Here are a couple of stats more. ● A study by CSO Insights showcases that 89% of companies that use both sales and marketing to nurture their leads notice measurable increases in conversion rates. ● According to the Annuitas Group, nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured ones.
Successful Lead Nurturing Practices
Over the past few years, lead nurturing has been compared to numerous courting tactics. It’s been explained as a long engagement and related to trying to date the perfect catch, both of which vividly capture the true nature of this process.
Joking aside, each of the following six practices have already been proven as effective in terms of convincing a modern prospect to consider your offer. They are guaranteed to work for you too, in 2017 and many years to come.
1. Base Your Program on Data for a More Personalized Approach
There aren’t many ways of successfully approaching an indecisive buyer, but never underestimate the power of personalized communication. These prospects are the same buyer personas as your hot leads are, which means that you already know them well enough to make your campaign highly personalized.
If not, do some research straight away. Every strategy that leads a prospect closer to conversion should be data-driven, since that’s the only way of custom-tailoring a message that targets your potential customer’s needs and pain points. Collect data, analyze it, and build your campaign around who your leads truly are.
2. Use Different Channels of Communication
Even though lead nurturing is mainly associated with event-triggered email marketing, you should never restrict yourself to a single channel of communication. Data analysis will show you exactly where your prospects are, so make sure to address them across as many channels as you can.
However, know that keeping track of emails, Facebook messages and Skype conversations at the same time isn’t easy. To manage them all from a single platform, consider using automation tools. Bitrix24’s Open Channels is a great example of multifocal lead nurturing and customer support, along with many other complimentary perks. Stay available 24/7, and they’ll certainly come looking for guidance.
3. Send Helpful Content That Addresses your Leads’ Pain Points
Sometimes, that’s all they need to make up their mind. Whether you choose the email route or something entirely different, the content you deliver should prove that buying your products or employing your services will solve the prospect’s specific problem.
After all, you are nothing less than a niche expert. Use your expertise to share helpful tips, then make your call-to-action a reassurance that you can provide so much more. Once again, return to data for help: your buyer persona can tell you everything you need to know about the pain points your leads have, just as well as how to address them.
4. Create a Lead Nurturing Calendar
Certain leads you’ll have to nurture for a long time, but the actual process remains the same regardless of how quickly a prospect converts. Whatever the case, establishing a calendar may help you define thresholds and reach your goals successfully, in due time.
Being the first step in the customer lifecycle, lead capturing determines the overall success of both marketing and sales. Networking events, social media and, most importantly, landing pages, are still the best practices you can use.
In the greatest number of cases (and with the best success rate), the follow-up contact is established via email. Don’t send just anything, though, but create a personalized message that’s related to the original capture topic.
Lead Nurture Segmentation
Not all of your leads will behave in the same way, nor will they have the same topic and product interests. To prevent lead leaks, create different nurture tracks and target prospects according to their behavior and interests.
Use marketing automation tools which will nurture your leads every time they take an action (visit your landing page, download your eBook or subscribe to your newsletter). You can send special offers, tailored content or even some freebies. Marketing automation tools will save lots of your time and make your leads feel pampered.
Determining Sales-Qualified Leads
Once a prospect is deemed ready for entering the next sales funnel stage, it is defined as a sales-qualified lead. In one way or another, these prospects show an intent to buy, which means that you can stop nurturing them and pass them on to the sales team.
5. Establish a Lead Scoring System That Tracks Behavior
In order to define thresholds and set up criteria that qualify a lead as sales-ready, successful companies use a lead scoring system. It is a methodology that helps you to track a prospect’s behavior and determine the lead’s worthiness accordingly.
Based on the history of interactions, lead tracking defines prospective buyers as “cold”, “warm” or “hot” leads, thus saving you the effort and time you’d spend on pursuing someone who’s highly unlikely to pay for your products and services.
6. Don’t Give Up, but Re-Nurture
We can analyze it all we want, but human behavior is often unpredictable. It will happen that your lead scoring system makes a wrong assessment, or a lead simply changes their mind. Either way, this is where re-nurturing practice can convince an unresponsive prospect to reconsider your offer.
That’s the best case scenario, of course. If you send a re-nurturing email and propose some kind of incentive – a discount, special deal or something of the sort – the prospect can still choose to decline your offer. That’s why you should always ask for feedback too, so that, in the worst case scenario, you can at least gain a valuable insight into the prospect’s mind and learn how to improve.
Whatever the case, don’t give up. Both stats and experience show that lead nurturing is an effective practice, but it does require some patience and determination.
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