What if there’s a lead in the queue that isn’t quite ready to be handed off to sales and converted into a customer? Or, what if they’ve spoken to sales and still haven’t made a decision about purchasing?
In a situation like this, a digital marketing team should continue its efforts to nurture that lead. The process of lead nurturing typically involves providing that lead with more relevant, personalized content until they are ready to convert.
80% of new leads never convert, but organizations that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost. So quite clearly, lead nurturing makes a difference in the success of your campaigns.
How can you go about optimizing this lead nurturing process? You can invest in marketing automation.
SocialMediaToday found that about 75% of businesses currently use marketing automation tools. Additionally, 66% of participants reported that marketing automation tools have been either “moderately” or “very” effective for them.
Automation allows even smaller marketing teams to do more with less, including:
Marketing automation plays a large role in pulling together all your customer data to create personas that help you segment and target your audiences better. With your personas, you can also craft more relevant and personalized content that’s more likely to catch and hold a prospect’s attention.
Let’s take a look at these six tips to make the most out of your marketing automation when nurturing leads.
Based upon a customer’s information, you can automate marketing messages to be sent out to them at just the right times. For example, if they have purchased software from you, an email can go out to them once an upgrade is available.
Also, don’t discount upselling and cross-selling opportunities. Once a customer has shown interest in another of your products or services, you can send them a notification about it, a link to a landing page, demo, or something else.
As different customers have different needs, interests, and preferences, you can run different lead nurturing campaigns. Your marketing automation software can track customer behaviors and help you identify where your prospects are within the sales funnel. This can help you create a lead generation strategy to determine the frequency of messaging and content that may be most relevant to them at each stage.
Good segmentation allows for more relevant and personalized content. Taking in all the information about demographics, customer behaviors, interests, preferences, their job, title, industry, and so on, can be difficult if done manually. Automation saves time and creates efficiencies.
Some leads are more ready to be handed off to sales than others. Their behaviors and the interest they show indicate just how ready they are. This process, also called lead scoring, gives each lead a score (typically on a scale of one to five) based on how interested and close they are to a purchase. Forrester reports that more than 84% of b2b purchases involve a complex buying group, with three or more decision makers. In response to the growing complexities of b2b buying committees, brands are turning to advanced applications that can score opportunities, using intent data for all the leads that are associated with the same account.
Use your marketing automation tools to score your leads and free up time to concentrate more on campaigns, creative, planning, and reviewing analytics.
Linking your CRM and marketing automation software better integrates your marketing and sales teams. It makes the lead nurturing process easier by providing better communications, shared data, and processes between both sides. This will allow for a smoother and more consistent experience for the leads that are being nurtured.
Even though some leads might require more nurturing than others—and a more delicate touch when doing so—don’t give up on them. You might have to watch how often you contact them, since you don’t want to risk messaging fatigue. But, if you have a solution or helpful information, the lead might very well respond, even if it takes some time. A cold lead today might be much warmer in a few months’ (or even sooner) time.
Once a lead has converted, the lead nurturing doesn’t end there. As stated above, upselling and cross-selling opportunities might present themselves, and marketing is about building relationships. Once a customer has converted, the relationship can still deepen and lead to other business opportunities and benefits, meaning you should continue to engage with them through relevant content sent with the help of marketing automation.
Michael McNichols is a Senior Content Manager for Oracle Digital Marketing. He has over ten years of experience in professional writing and has been widely published.