In many companies, sales is responsible for nurturing leads to become sales. They tend to do it one by one, which is time consuming and inefficient. Or it’s not done at all.
In companies where nurturing is managed effectively, marketing and sales have learned to collaborate. How do you do that? The answer is deceptively simple: You need a strategic process for lead nurturing.
In many companies, sales is responsible for nurturing leads to become sales. They 79% of marketing leads never convert to sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of poor performance. - Marketing Sherpa
What is lead nurturing?
Lead nurturing is necessary but elusive concept for many marketers. We like Hubspot’s definition of it:
“The process of nurturing leads involves purposefully engaging your target audience by offering relevant information, supporting them in any way they need, and maintaining a sense of delight throughout every stage of the buyer’s journey.”
To understand how lead nurturing works, you first need to understand the buyer’s journey, which describes a buyer’s path to purchase. It’s often divided into three stages:
- Awareness: This is the beginning of the buyer’s journey when prospects become aware that they have a challenge that needs to be solved.
- Consideration: This is the middle of the journey when the buyer defines their problem and starts exploring options to solve it.
- Evaluation: This is the last phase when the buyer is evaluating which provider’s solution to purchase.
By understanding the buyer's journey, you can position your product or service to be the preferred solution as they consider potential partners.
When considering the best strategies to engage your target audience, it’s important to start by asking what information your ideal prospects are looking for at each stage of their buyer’s journey. This will help you design an engaging experience for them.
If you can anticipate the questions they’ll have along the way and provide them with helpful content that meets their needs, you’ll start to win their trust – and their business.
4 benefits of an effective lead nurturing program
Here are four ways an effective lead-nurturing program can benefit your business:
Minimize “cherry-picking” of leads by sales representatives
In B2B sales, it’s common for sales reps to prioritize leads that are ready to close versus all others. But this preoccupation with low-hanging fruit” has an unintended side effect. It causes them to ignore prospects who may need your solution but aren’t yet ready to buy. As a result, they end up throwing away a large number of future prospects.
In many cases, with purposeful and persistent nurturing, you can keep your company top-of-mind with them so you can win their business when they ARE ready to buy.
Lead nurturing can be a competitive edge
DemandGen Report indicates that only 35% of B2B marketers have established a lead-nurturing strategy. In other words, it’s likely that your competitors aren’t doing it. That, in turn, can make it a potent competitive advantage for your business.
This is particularly important when nurturing leads through the “consideration” phase, which can last longer than your sales reps would like. According to HubSpot, it takes an average of 10 marketing touches to move a prospect from initial awareness of your company until they buy your product or service.
By providing educational content and addressing common questions and concerns during this phase, you can steadily move them from lukewarm leads to red-hot sales.
No lead left behind
According to a study by Marketing Sherpa, 73% of leads aren’t ready to buy when they first give you their contact information. That means lead nurturing isn’t a “nice to have” but more of a necessity to help maximize B2B sales.
The best practice is for marketing and sales to work together to ensure that all leads are measured against a lead-scoring model. This approach ensures a consistent, quantifiable process for determining which leads are worth immediate sales attention and which require additional nurturing by marketing. Most importantly, it ensures that prospects who aren’t ready to buy don’t get ignored by sales and marketing.
Increase marketing return on investment (MROI)
A robust lead nurturing strategy can help your company generate greater sales and more predictable revenue.
According to research from Annuitas, nurtured leads generate a 47% higher average order value (AOV) compared to deals closed on prospects who weren’t nurtured. In addition, companies can achieve an improved win rate of up to 20% on nurtured leads.
Also, consider this: Armed with engagement data from your nurturing campaigns, you can reverse engineer how many leads you need to generate and nurture to achieve your sales goal. It’s more predictable than you think!
Finally, a lead nurturing strategy can help you build stronger relationships with your prospects over time, creating more loyal customers with a higher overall lifetime value.
Want to learn more? Contact us about developing a lead nurturing strategy. And stay tuned for Part 2: The building blocks of a great lead nurturing strategy.