Marketing & sales have been a part of the business system from the dawn of commerce. It is now that they are considered separately, as both were deemed the same before. Selling is one tough process. Getting to know who the exact target is, connecting with them, explaining to them the pros of a product or service, trying to convince them, following up regularly & finally closing the deal is what a normal sales process is like. Selling is needed for businesses to survive in the market & leads are needed for sales to happen. For many, the main objective of marketing is to do enough lead generation for the sales team to close but in the modern concept of business, marketing is much more. Primarily because just creating enough leads doesn’t count anymore, as marketers should also focus on nurturing & enriching them well enough along with managing them properly. Before diving into how Strategized Lead Nurturing can help to close more deals for businesses let’s see the tales & myths behind modern lead processes.

Leads & Managing Them for Success

Leads are the lifeblood of sales. It represents an individual of interest to the set criteria & selling efforts. Leads can be generated through multiple ways including personal referrals, through telephone calls either by the company or telemarketers, through advertisements & different online marketing techniques which is the most modern way. Leads attained through online marketing are a result of the campaigns that have been run such as digital advertising, content marketing, events, email marketing, blogging etc. Implementing lead generation techniques that work for companies is itself a separate segment in inbound marketing. Many may have the doubt that isn’t generating good leads enough? What is supposed to be understood is that the modern lead process isn’t just subjected to the acquisition part. This is where the concept of Lead Nurturing comes in.

“Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales at a 33% lower cost” – (Forrester)

While leads are developed with the processes of lead generation, lead nurturing comes into play where developing relationships with the buyers at every stage of the sales funnel & through every step of the buyer’s journey. Here leads will be sorted by contacted or uncontacted and scheduled for follow-up processes and later will be put into drip marketing campaigns, or followed-up with on the phone by company reps. Lead Nurturing mainly focuses on providing the relevant information and answers to the prospects using all marketing & communication efforts according to the apt time & needs of the customer and it also takes care to keep the customer on-board to get further business from the same person primarily because business doesn’t stop once deal is closed, it’s an ongoing process. All these processes comes under the tag of Lead management. The yesteryears of just generating leads & passing onto sales teams are over. Lead management/lead management services are the thing of today.

Different Lead nurturing programs

As companies are adopting inbound marketing strategies to stay in league with the present ways of marketing, the importance of having effective lead nurturing is recognized in the world of marketers around the world. But implementing a proper lead nurturing strategy is needed to make sure that the efforts don’t go into vain & to gain advantage over the competitors. There are different tactics & techniques for executing proper lead nurturing which includes:-

Targeted Content with data sources

Each buyer is different. It’s a truth that marketers of organization should accept before acting to execute their lead nurturing programs. Having an effective content approach which can be tailored to the buyer’s persona can make hell a lot of changes in the ROI. But creating targeted content is what marketers struggle to accomplish. To avoid this problem marketers can use the data sources & can break down the process to make the process as effective as possible.

“33% of B2B marketers cite “targeted delivery of content” as their biggest lead nurturing challenge” – (Forrester)

Firstly, marketers should identify the unique persona of each buyer. Then targeted content should be assorted can be made according to the interests, goals, objectives and marketing triggers. Then the perfect marketing automation platform should be taken to identify, segment & target the unique buyer persona to scale up in the inbound marketing strategy. All this becomes much easier with the usage of data. Lead nurturing with data sources is also one of the latest trends in modern inbound marketing.

Multi-channel lead nurturing

Earlier, setting up a simple email drip campaign that could send out generic email to a list of prospects was enough. But that isn’t enough in today’s market to achieve success.Today, there are new lead nurturing tactics & technologies that go beyond the limit of email. That too with the introduction of marketing automation platforms, marketers are now being able to execute multichannel strategies.

Multi-channel lead nurturing most commonly involves a combination of marketing automation, email marketing, social media, paid retargeting, dynamic website content & direct sales outreach. But to properly execute all these tactics, proper alignment with sales & marketing teams should be ensured.

Image Source: Marketing Digest

Timely follow-ups

Timely follow-ups which were the core area of expertise of salesmen are a norm in today’s marketers’ day to day activities.  Automated lead nurturing can help the marketers in reaching large groups of prospects as studies have shown, the odds of getting a lead converted to a sales opportunity are higher when followed up at the correct time.

“The odds of a lead entering the sales process, or becoming qualified, are 21 times greater when contacted within five minutes versus 30 minutes after an inbound lead converts on your website” – (LeadResponseManagement)

This mainly comes into play when a lead is connected immediately after a website conversation. In today’s business world the mediums of communication are varied. The client can choose any medium which may be directly through the website, social media or the good old phone. But answering their queries in timely manner is needed so that they don’t go to the competitors.

Lead Scoring

68% of successful marketers cite lead scoring based on content and engagement as the most effective tactic for improving revenue contribution from lead nurturing – (Lead Generation Marketing Effectiveness Study)

The main idea of attaining leads is to convert them to customers to generate profit for the firm. Lead scoring is the technique to rank prospects against a scale that represents the perceived value each leads represents the organization. It can be implemented in marketing automation platforms by assigning numerical values to certain website browsing behaviors or even social media interactions. The resulting score can be used to determine which leads should be followed up with directly by the sales representatives or which leads should be nurtured down the funnel. Marketers should be taking advantage of this technique as it proves to be effective in the determination of conversion of leads.

The social medium

A few years ago if anyone would have told that social media would become an integral part of lead nurturing, the businessmen then would have had a gala time laughing at it. Today lead nurturing with social media is an important part in the inbound marketing concept. This marketing strategy seeks to communicate to leads with recurrent & targeted messages. If used consistently & frequently in the right way to the right audience at the right time, the results can be extraordinary.

“50% made a purchase decision based on a recommendation on the social network”- (ADWEEK)

As social media is an ever changing medium of communication, the platforms which include Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can help prospective customers to connect with the company. The company can also trust these leads as majority of them will be approaching after getting to know about the company through the content posted in the different mediums.

Nurture away to success

As the methods of inbound marketing are becoming diverse lead nurturing is changing accordingly. Lots of new strategies are being developed for effective maintenance of customers. It takes a lot of time & effort to properly establish lead nurturing campaigns but it always pays off by giving excellent results. The most difficult part of marketing & sales is to understand the customers but once you get the knack of it, you can expect to double your profits in no time.