Nightly skincare routines are becoming more and more common. But they don’t make your skin smooth and 100% blemish-free overnight. To get the complexion you want, you have to be dedicated to the routine.
We like to think of lead nurturing in a similar way. Since most prospects in the sales funnel aren’t ready to buy at the first point of contact, it’s important that you routinely nurture leads to build a sales pipeline full of leads that are likely to convert into closed business.
Throughout this blog, we’ll cover the following topics:
What Is Lead Nurturing?
Lead nurturing is the process of routinely contacting qualified leads in the sales pipeline to build relationships and encourage them to trust your business. Lead nurturing is a crucial component of the sales cycle because it empowers your sales and marketing teams to connect with the right buyers at the right time.
A lead nurturing campaign can take a variety of approaches, including making warm calls and sending sales emails relevant to the wants, needs, and pain points of a potential buyer. The overall goal of lead nurturing is to learn more about their business, demonstrate the value of the products or services you offer, and schedule a sales appointment when they’re ready to buy.
What Does a Lead Nurturing Plan Entail?
Not every lead in the sales funnel is in the same stage of the same cycle, and they all have their own wants and needs when investing in your company’s product or service. For this part of the lead generation process to be effective, it’s crucial to have a lead nurturing plan in place. Here’s what an effective lead nurturing plan entails:
Catering to the Buyer Personas of Your Target Market
While the target market may stay the same across your organization, buyer personas differ from prospect to prospect. To effectively nurture leads in the sales pipeline, your sales and marketing teams must present content that aligns with what they’re looking for in a product or service provider. The right platforms must be used to reach decision-makers and encourage a quicker response, accelerating their time in the sales cycle.
When you cater to the different buyer personas of your target market, you can reach them where they’re most likely to engage with content. For example, if a potential buyer is in the awareness stage of the sales cycle, your email marketing materials should contain more top-of-funnel content like relevant blog posts that direct them to your website. However, if a potential buyer is closer to the consideration stage of the sales cycle, your emails should direct them to client case studies that relate to their current pain points. This encourages them to put themselves in the shoes of your client.
Understanding What Motivates Your Target Audience To Buy
What kind of success have you seen from past email marketing campaigns? What are decision-makers in your target market engaging with most? Analyzing past campaigns helps your sales and marketing teams understand what motivates your target audience to buy, enabling you to send lead nurturing content that resonates with their wants, needs, and pain points.
When analyzing past campaigns, it’s essential to consider the following email marketing metrics:
- Open rate
- Clickthrough rate
- Bounce rate
- List growth rate
- Email sharing rate
- Unsubscribe rate
Reviewing these metrics lets your lead generation team understand how users engage with your content. For instance, if your emails have a high open rate but a low clickthrough rate, your subject line may have been enticing, but the content within the email didn’t meet their needs. This means you may need to restructure your emails to include more relevant content for potential buyers.
For a lead nurturing email marketing campaign to be successful, you must send content that’s impactful for the potential buyer. If they don’t see the relevance of your content, they’re more likely to unsubscribe from your sales emails. Lead nurturing emails should boost top-of-mind awareness; however, you must be mindful of what’s sent and how often you distribute content. Analyzing past campaigns lets you see what’s working and where you could improve. If you don’t see the results you want, it’s worth exploring past campaign metrics to see what’s motivating potential buyers to take the next step in the sales cycle.
Establishing the Ideal Customer Experience
A lead nurturing flow should follow the same pattern as the buying process of potential buyers in your sales pipeline. More often than not, potential buyers aren’t ready to take the next step in the sales funnel after the first point of contact, making lead nurturing a vital part of the sales process.
The core difference between B2C and B2B buyers is that the decision-making process is much longer. This is because when selling B2B, there are often more decision-makers involved in the process, requiring some checks and balances. Since the buying process is typically longer, your sales and marketing teams need to provide proof of how your company’s products or services are superior to your competitors. With lead nurturing, you have the opportunity to consistently deliver value to your business, positioning your company as a trusted leader in the industry.
With email marketing automation, you can design your lead nurturing structure so it effectively flows with each lead in the sales pipeline. Crafting and sending sales emails to the right lead at the right time is tedious and time-consuming. Email marketing automation tools allow your sales and marketing teams to send content to the right email addresses at the right time to ensure no lead falls through the cracks. Email automation tools also show you how campaigns are performing, allowing you to make adjustments for a more cohesive lead nurturing strategy.
Why Is a Lead Nurturing Strategy Important?
Since not every prospect in the sales pipeline is ready to take the next step in the sales funnel after the first point of contact, it’s important to foster top-of-mind awareness. With a lead nurturing strategy in place, you can continuously follow up with leads until they’re ready to make a purchase.
Sending lead nurturing emails allows lead generation teams to keep the prospect engaged with your business without being too forward. While making warm phone calls is a great way to speak directly one-on-one with decision-makers, they’re not always practical if the prospects aren’t toward the end of their buying cycle. Integrating sales and marketing emails into your lead nurturing strategy keeps your business at the forefront of the prospect’s mind. That way, when sales reps make warm calls, the prospect is more likely to remember your company because you’ve built trust with them.
Best Practices for a Streamlined Lead Nurturing Flow
Any sales and marketing team can develop a lead nurturing strategy, but it takes some time to create a flow that makes the most sense for your business and yields long-term results. For a streamlined lead nurturing flow that effectively guides qualified prospects to the end of the sales cycle, it’s essential that you:
Create a Lead Scoring Template
What does a high-quality lead look like for your business? Creating a lead scoring template empowers your sales and marketing teams to target leads with a positive ROI who are likely to convert from a qualified prospect into closed business.
Lead scoring is when lead generation teams rank leads based on their sales and marketing qualifications. For example, let’s say you’re an MSP that wants to partner with companies that have between 10 and 200 workstations. One prospect in the sales pipeline has 15 workstations, and another has 180. When determining sales qualifiers, the prospect with 180 workstations has a more significant lead score because if they were to close business, it’d be a more substantial ROI.
However, let’s say the prospect with 15 workstations is closer to the end of their buying cycle than the prospect with 180. In this case, the prospect with 15 workstations would score higher because they’re more likely to convert from a lead into a sales opportunity.
Creating a lead scoring template allows your SDRs to prioritize leads based on their potential ROI and likeliness to convert, saving the time and effort spent chasing leads who aren’t ready to take the next step in the sales funnel.
Automate Lead Nurturing Programs
As mentioned previously, automating lead nurturing programs is a huge benefit to SDR and marketing teams. With sales and marketing automation, your lead generation experts don’t have to craft sales emails for each specific lead in the sales pipeline. Email marketing automation allows SDR and marketing teams to stay productive and continuously build relationships with other prospects who are closer to the end of their buying cycle.
Automation is crucial to your lead nurturing strategy because it continuously builds top-of-mind awareness. When a potential buyer is ready to make a change to their current product or service provider, your company should be the first one they think of.
Like a nightly skincare routine, lead nurturing requires commitment to see the results you want. Without a lead nurturing strategy in place, you risk missing opportunities with leads who would’ve given you a positive ROI. Companies that follow a lead nurturing flow generate more consistent sales opportunities because they’re routinely following up with leads they’d like to do business with, showing a genuine interest in the lead’s long-term success.
At Sapper Consulting, our sales and marketing teams specialize in nurturing qualified prospects in our clients’ sales pipelines. We collaborate with B2B companies across the nation to help them build and maintain a sales pipeline that yields positive and sustainable results. If you need a hand with your lead nurturing efforts, contact the business growth experts at Sapper!