“Frankly, My Dear, I Don’t Give a Damn!”
That’s a classic Gone With The Wind dialogue we do NOT use when leads aren’t ready to purchase. Instead, we put in dedicated efforts to warm up the cold leads. And this is what lead nurturing is all about.
If a lead isn’t ready to buy, you must not let them slip away or try to sell too aggressively. In either case, you’ll not drive any favorable result. So, find ways to nurture these leads until they are sales-ready.
Let’s dive deeper into lead nurturing and how you can do it!
What is Lead Nurturing?
Lead nurturing is a continuous process of building relationships with prospects not ready to buy yet.
This approach emphasizes the importance of maintaining a balance between informative and empathetic communication, thus allowing businesses to foster trust, loyalty, and ultimately, convert more leads into sales.”
Here’s a B2B lead nurturing example.
One of the most inspirational lead nurturing processes is one of Groove’s onboarding campaigns. As a customer support and help desk software, Groove’s welcome email sequence has helped the company convert trial customers into paid ones.
Here’s their very first customer onboarding email. Notice how they mentioned that the recipient would receive a series of emails hereafter. This ensures maintaining transparency and helps the email recipient to respond accordingly.
Now, if you are ready for lead nurturing, here are four critical questions to ask yourself, by Samuel J. Woods, Founder & CEO of Stimulead, before taking your not-yet-ready-to-buy leads on the journey to being sales-ready.
1. Where did the leads come from?
This question aims at determining the channel your leads came from, and it is the first step in your lead nurturing process. For instance, a lead from LinkedIn may be more sales-ready than a lead from Instagram.
2. Where are the leads going?
This question will help you map a potential path for each lead. Collect information about what they want, how they found you, demographics, company data, etc., to determine how close they are to buying.
3. What do the leads want?
Once you know where your leads come from and where they are headed, you must direct them to the right call to action. But before that, you need to connect the leads to your brand. So, use content to establish brand credibility and awareness
4. How do the leads like it?
Now that you’re ready to warm up the cold leads, tracking your lead nurturing system is necessary to determine what’s working for the leads and what isn’t.
Since lead nurturing is a continuous process, monitor KPIs and metrics like engagement, sales, click rate, etc., and keep making adjustments.
Reasons to Invest in Lead Nurturing
Companies that excel in lead nurturing generate 50% more sales leads at a 33% lower cost. Hence, 55% of marketers aim to get more sales opportunities from their lead nurturing strategy. But that’s not it. There’s more to lead nurturing. Here are a few reasons to invest in a lead nurturing process.
Most leads aren’t sales-ready. 73% of all B2B leads are not sales-ready. Hence, you need a solid lead nurturing strategy to move your leads to the decision stage and convert them from leads into customers.
Builds relationships. Lead nurturing is a continuous process that helps a brand establish authentic relationships with customers. The purpose of lead nurturing is to engage the leads and maintain a proactive and interesting rapport. Also, lead nurturing allows potential customers to ask questions and build trust.
Keeps you on priority. Lead nurturing helps you stay on your prospect’s mind. While a potential customer may not remember a month-old cold conversation, they will consider companies that proactively reach out to them through lead nurturing campaigns.
Establishes credibility and thought leadership. Unfamiliarity often makes leads say no to several companies. Through lead nurturing campaigns and sharing valuable content, you can stay in touch with your prospects and build authority in the industry. Also, it helps you win their trust and move them down the sales funnel faster.
How to Create an Effective Lead Nurturing Strategy?
If you still haven’t thought of a lead nurturing strategy, the right time is now. Here are the steps to creating the best lead nurturing strategy.
1. Align Marketing and Sales
Sales to Marketing – “You do not give me sufficient leads.”
Marketing to Sales – “We do. You just don’t follow up on the leads.”
And the problem goes on…
The first step in B2B lead nurturing strategies is to bring marketing and sales together. Both teams should agree on the definition of a lead and stay on the same page regarding lead qualification.
If the lead is sales-ready, get them into the sales process and let the sales team handle these leads. And if the lead isn’t ready to buy, hand them over to the marketing team for further nurturing. This lead nurturing process goes on until the leads are sales-ready.
2. Create a Lead Management Process
When you are trying to generate leads, ensure a lead generation process is in place to handle the incoming leads well. Moreover, a defined lead management process will help the sales team communicate only to the most qualified leads and filter the less qualified ones, putting them into lead nurturing campaigns.
Let the marketing and sales teams brainstorm to create a list of the aspects to be considered in the lead management process.
- Lead qualification criteria
- How and where will the leads be registered?
- When and how will the leads be followed up?
- Criteria based on which leads will be put into the lead nurturing program.
Moreover, get a CRM person in the sales-marketing discussion. They can help you register the leads in the CRM and explain the feasibility of the strategy you want to pull off.
3. Collect Lead Intelligence Data
Your lead nurturing strategy is all about sending leads targeted and personalized content. Hence, gathering lead data is a must. Here are a few ways to get them.
- Interview/survey customers or potential customers
- Interview customer support team
- Interview the sales team
- Data mining to identify customer profiles and specific characteristics
- Tracking prospect’s online behavior and buying processes
- Leverage keyword tools to find prospect’s topics of interest and key search terms
Once you have the data, build buyer personas or ideal customer profiles to understand your prospects better and guide them through the buying process.
4. Build a Content Program
One of the best things to do in a lead nurturing strategy is to create a content timeline that plans what to send and when (time intervals). Initially, your content plan for lead nurturing can be a simple one.
5. Leverage Email Marketing to Communicate
Old-school emails are the best way to get in touch with your leads. In fact, emails are the most effective and preferred lead nurturing channels for 78% of marketers.
So, what type of lead nurturing emails can you send?
- Educational email content like blog article links, white papers, and videos to educate leads about your product’s value.
- Email newsletters containing industry insights, blog posts, event announcements, and more.
- Event invites include hosting a webinar, trade shows, and conference organizing.
- Personal emails with more targeted content to leads who are closer to buying.
6. Follow the ‘Track, Measure & Analyze’ Mantra
Track metrics to measure the performance of drip emails, or email engagements, and other lead nurturing efforts with the help of sales intelligence tools.
For example, if your goal is to drive awareness, measure metrics like direct website traffic, or if your goal is to increase leads, measure your database growth, target audience engagement, number of incoming leads, number of leads handled by the sales team, and number of leads in the lead nurturing program.
5 Best Lead Nurturing Strategies You Should Try in 2023
You can experiment with several strategies to find the one your prospects respond to. Here are five effective lead nurturing strategies that you must try.
1. Personalized Email Marketing
“Personalized marketing and advertising is not about sales. It’s about building a relationship with the customer.” - Julian Hillebrand, Unit Manager of Digital Services at COCUS AG.
The most effective lead nurturing strategy that guarantees success is personalized email marketing.
47% of marketers consider personalized email communications the best lead nurturing technique. Ask any marketer about the best lead nurturing strategy; their response will be ‘emails’. Why so? Because emails are cost-effective, you can leverage automated email marketing campaigns to reduce your workload and save time.
Moreover, lead nurturing email communications can help you stay on top of your lead’s mind. Ask how?
With the help of interactive product demos!
Storylane can help you create interactive product demos within minutes. Include engaging and personalized demos in your nurturing emails to build credibility and trust with your leads, to move them down the funnel faster, and to shorten your sales cycle.
Here’s how PandaDoc, a tool for creating, sharing, and tracking documents, uses onboarding drip email campaigns to nurture leads.
PandaDoc often acquires one-time users who use the tool to sign a digital document. To convert these temporary users into active ones, PandaDoc uses a lead nurturing marketing email sequence.
Unlike several SaaS companies that ask for details like job title, company size, contact, etc. PandaDoc asks only for an email address to complete the signup process. The company then adds the collected email ids to their onboarding nurture flow or email list to convince users to implement PandaDoc in their daily work.
The nurture flow onboards users while discussing their pain points and highlighting how their product can solve their issues.
PandaDoc also inserts CTAs encouraging users to opt for their free trial. The final email of the nurturing flow showcases how PandaDoc seamlessly integrates with your tech tool stack.
2. Content Marketing
Personalized and targeted content marketing is an efficient strategy for nurturing leads. With targeted content, you can capture the attention of your inbound leads and take them through the buying process.
Leverage SEO content, share eBooks, blogs, webinars, whitepapers, and other forms of inbound marketing to educate customers about their needs, challenges, industry updates, and market trends. You can also use targeted and dynamic content in your lead-nurturing emails to make your lead interactions more engaging.
Also, you can leverage personalized lead magnets as a part of your content strategy to nurture your leads.
For example, Breadcrumbs’ Lead Scoring for Acquisition eBook is an excellent example of a targeted lead magnet. The eBook is an expanded version of the SaaS company’s lead-scoring articles. The eBook outlines the lead nurturing sequence and signals of a lead with high buying intent.
3. Drip Campaigns
These are automated email campaigns used for lead nurturing to drive more sales. Drip campaigns can generate 50% more sales-ready leads through steady customer interactions. However, you must set the goal of drip emails before launching one. So, if you want to give drip campaigns a try to nurture your leads, here’s an example to fuel your plans.
Trello’s effective drip email campaign “Twelve days to Trello” is one of the most classic examples of drip email campaigns. Launched during the holiday season, the campaign title was inspired by the song “12 Days of Christmas.”
The email contained links to pages highlighting Trello as a productivity tool. The pages were on how to use Trello to boost productivity. Aligned with the holiday season, this effective email drip campaign was perfectly timed and launched to generate more customer interest and maximize sales.
4. Individual Interactions
No matter how well-personalized your email interaction is, personal one-on-one interactions with leads are the best form of personalization. The one-to-one touchpoint is something people miss out on. But leveraging this lead nurturing strategy can be one of your best decisions.
Incorporate multiple personal touchpoints in your lead nurturing process. Keep these interactions in between automated processes to ensure balance in your lead nurturing funnel. You can include personalized interactions in the following ways.
- Schedule in-person meetings with leads.
- Connect with leads on social media.
- Let your sales reps handle lead nurturing.
One of the lead nurturing best practices is not to pitch your product too early to the prospects. Initially, it is necessary to understand their needs, and then take them through the buying process.
Surveys help you understand your prospects better. They help you collect data about individual leads and ensure they are approached correctly.
Send out simple surveys with relevant questions about the leads’ pain points and requirements. Analyze the responses to identify behavioral factors, engagement factors, and other useful information. Then, you can take action based on these valuable customer insights. Combine survey data with website behavioral data to take a holistic approach to lead nurturing.
How to Optimize Your Lead Nurture Strategy?
Creating a lead nurturing strategy isn’t enough. You have to optimize it to keep up with the ever-evolving consumer landscape.
Here are three tips to help you optimize your lead nurturing strategy.
Automate Your Lead Nurture Email Campaigns
Email marketing will certainly be a part of your lead nurturing strategy (if it’s already not). Automated lead campaigns can help you make the most out of your email marketing strategy. Automate your lead nurturing emails to maximize productivity with minimum time investment.
Email marketers automate these lead nurture emails 👇
- Customer onboarding drip emails to educate leads about your product value proposition and offerings.
- Welcome emails to set the stage for all new contacts while increasing engagement
- Thank You emails to not miss an opportunity to build personal customer relationships.
Organize Webinars and Follow Up
When nurturing leads, find engaging ways to educate them about your product and how it can help them address their pain points. One of the best ways to do so is by hosting webinars.
Research says that 58% of demand-generation marketers think webinars are "the most successful tactic for top-of-funnel engagement." Also, 48% stated that webinars "effectively move prospects through the rest of the sales funnel."
So, start hosting webinars and follow up on the leads who attend them. The next step to hosting webinars can be sending emails and relevant content to move leads down the funnel.
Use an Omnichannel Lead Nurturing Strategy
Optimizing lead nurture strategy involves diversifying your efforts. You cannot just focus on one or two communication channels that have worked for you previously. Adopt multiple platforms and inbound channels like emails, social media sites, etc., to help you reach and engage more leads.
While emails are best for lead nurturing, the leads who do not respond to your emails need strategies like social media marketing, direct mail outreach, or retargeting ads. Hence, using multiple communication channels is the most effective way to optimize your strategy.
Lead nurturing isn’t going to turn the wheel of fortune for you overnight
It takes time and, mostly, dedication.
If you are a person of sheer focus, commitment, and dedication, your lead nurturing efforts will drive results. So, if you are ready to commit, kickstart your lead nurturing process now. Nurture leads and boost your sales opportunities 🚀
What are the elements of lead nurturing?
There are five key elements to an effective lead nurturing campaign. They are - The Campaign Goal, the Clarity of a Prospect’s Persona, the Right Content of Lead Nurturing Campaign, Nurturing Campaign Timeline, and Methods for Measurement and Improvement.
What is the goal of lead nurturing?
Lead nurturing is about cultivating the leads that aren’t ready to purchase. The goal of lead nurturing is to value the leads, increase audience engagement, build a relationship with them, and convert them into customers when they are ready to buy.
What are the benefits of lead nurturing?
There are several benefits of lead nurturing. These include building brand awareness, capturing new leads, increasing target audience engagement and customer base, boosting sales, building industry authority or thought leadership, and establishing brand credibility.