“A small leak will sink a great ship.” — Benjamin Franklin
Myths are plentiful when it comes to B2B lead nurturing. Perhaps we build these myths simply to make our lives easier. It seems like we have a tendency to move towards the simplest tactics to execute rather than those that deliver the highest return on investment.
Let’s step back a minute and ask a key question, “Why is lead nurturing so important?” Well, the data is in and according to Forrester, businesses that put nurturing at the forefront of their lead generation strategies produce 50% more leads while slashing costs by 30%.
Lead nurturing works. But if you’re going to do it, you need to put these myths behind you.
1. You Can Nurture a Complex Sales Cycle with Email Alone
For many people, email marketing has become synonymous with lead nurturing. While email is inexpensive, your nurturing program needs to be more than a one-trick pony.
What can email nurturing do for you? If you send the right content that meets an individual’s needs, emails are effective in creating brand awareness, building trust and educating buyers. Also, you can use emails to recruit individuals into your social media marketing communities where you can continue to nurture them.
If you’re selling a complex product, service, or solution, however, you cannot expect email nurturing to do all the heavy lifting. There is no substitute for the human touch when developing a relationship and ramping up trust to the next level. In reality, what you want to foster is not a B2B relationship, but a person-to-person (P2P) one.
How do you insert tele-nurturing into your lead nurturing sequence? Probably the best way to nurture is to use emails for leads which you believe are in the early stages of the buying cycle. For instance, they may just be gathering information for a decision they plan to make several months from now.
While tele-nurturing is likely to have a greater impact, it is also more expensive. So you might want to use this tactic when it appears as if someone is closer to buying. By using the phone at this point, you can break through the clutter by reaching out on a human level, establishing credibility and building that P2P relationship.
2. You Can Nurture All Leads the Same Way
We talk a lot about the necessity of nurturing leads. It’s not surprising some marketing leaders believe that as long as they are nurturing their leads, they are on the track to success. There are, however, a couple of problems with this theory.
First, your leads are all in different phases of the buying cycle. What someone needs when they are doing initial research to solve a problem is very different than the needs of their colleague who has already chosen the product category and honed down the potential vendor list. One may be happy to read blog posts that talk at a high level about the problem. The other may be more interested in reading case studies that enable him or her to separate the potential winners and losers.
Second, if you’re like many B2B businesses you likely serve a myriad of industries and your product or solution has multiple applications. Someone in manufacturing will likely not be interested in the same content as another individual in, for example, hospitality. You want to personalize the emails and content offers as much as possible.
To nurture your leads most successfully, sending them content that helps to move them through the buying cycle, you need to:
Bear in mind that some of the information you need for scoring and segmenting your leads will likely not be available by looking at online information only. To assess the quality of the lead you need to know if he or she has the budget, authority to buy, need and when they expect to make a purchase decision (BANT criteria).
To answer these questions, you will likely have to talk to the individual. Of course, there is no need to call all your leads. Prioritize which leads to call by waiting until they reach a threshold lead-score.
This process is powerful because it allows for two-way communication. You can better understand where the prospect is in the buying cycle and the problems they are trying to tackle. This knowledge allows you to customize your messaging to meet their needs.
So don’t let the lead leak sink your sales and marketing ship. Forget the myths. Lead nurturing does not equate to email marketing— it’s much more comprehensive. Also, all leads are not the same and need personal treatment to move them through the buying cycle as fast as possible and to turn them into valid sales opportunities.
When leads don’t convert to sales, you can’t afford to abandon those prospects. Nurture these leads with information aligned to their stage in the buying process. Download the Lead Nurturing Guide for Modern Marketers to turn lukewarm leads into B2B sales.