In this age of the internet, the buyer has the upper hand and there is no more just ‘selling’ to them. They like to make an informed decision due to all the information made available to them at the click of a button.
In fact, according to research, when a prospective buyer contacts you for information, 73% of them aren’t even ready to purchase from you yet, they are just doing their research and comparison with other companies!
If the lead isn’t ready to make buy yet, and the sales team is too aggressive in their approach, they may lose the lead all together. This is where the idea of lead nurturing comes into place.
Why does your company need to have a lead nurturing strategy?
Studies have shown that nurtured leads have a 43% higher order average than ones that aren’t nurtured. Lead nurturing basically means a way for your prospecting buyer to understand and get to know your company as well as product and service you offer better.
It is the time where you can stay relevant and at par with the competition by constantly communicating with them and educating, as well as building trust to create a long standing relationship.
This nurturing period is what helps the marketing and sales teams push the lead through the sales funnel and eventually make a purchase. Research has shown that 79% of leads don’t convert to sale just due to the lack of lead nurturing and on the other hand, companies who practice the correct lead nurturing strategies have 50% more leads who are ready to buy, and that is at 33% lower cost.
5 step lead nurturing strategy to help you get in the game
With the above facts and numbers, you must be convinced that lead nurturing is a serious part of the sales process and a mainstream tool for capturing the right leads and moving them through the sales funnel.
The key to a successful lead nurturing strategy is patience, consistency and time. It is a long process and can take months or even a year to reap benefits, and will need sustained efforts to succeed.
Here are 5 steps to get started on your journey towards lead nurturing that can help in finding the best leads and making sales.
- Marketing and sales should on the same page
Many companies face the same problem where their marketing and sales teams aren’t aligned and keep blaming each other for lost leads. The sales teams always believe they don’t get enough or quality leads from the marketing team, while the marketing teams say the sales reps never follow up properly on the leads they give.
Whether or not the saying,”Marketing is from Venus, Sales is from Mars” is true, the first and most important step towards getting a lead nurturing strategy in place is to align your marketing and sales teams.
Get them to sit together and make decisions regarding this strategy so everyone understands it and is on the same page. They need to agree on how they define a lead and find a way to segregate the leads between them. An easy way is to divide them into two types – top funnel leads (marketing) and bottom funnel leads (sales).
Leads that are ready to get into the sales process and are eager to buy go to the bottom funnel to the sales team, while leads that need more time to understand the product and build trust go to the top of the funnel to stay ‘warm’ until they are ready to buy, go to the marketing team.
This is just an example of how you can segregate leads, but each company needs to find their own system that works as per their own products and services.
- Handling leads and defining a management process
With many leads coming in, you need to handle them properly and quickly so as to not lose any opportunities. This is why a lead management process is required to be put in place, mutually agreed upon by the sales and marketing teams.
Points to be discussed should include how the teams will handle incoming leads, what will be their qualifying criteria, where and how leads will be registered, how leads will be followed up – and other such pertinent questions. If such a system is in place, the movement of leads will be smooth and sales and marketing reps will be able to easily focus on only important leads without wasting any time.
Another great help here is using a Customer Relationship Management software like FIVE CRM, where you can register and feed in the leads, making it easy for you to keep up with the sales funnel and follow up on each lead.
- Collate lead intelligence data to nurture leads
Lead nurturing is all about staying in the forefront of your prospective buyers mind and to do so you must share relevant, targeted and customized information with them on a constant basis. To do so, you have to collect lead intelligence data in the form of what are the type of buyers you have and what is the kind of information they are looking for to get further in the buying process.
To gather this information, you can get data from the sales team, customer service as well as ask prospective buyers and past customers. You can also mine through social media websites and your already existing in-house database.
Once you’ve collated this information together, you can make ‘personas’ and group prospective buyers who fit the pertinent characteristics of each persona. These personas work as fictional representations of who your buyers are and help segregate them based on their demographics (job title, nationality, etc.), their business or product requirements, online website usage behaviour, past interactions with your company, etc.
This differentiation will help you understand the needs of your customers more and make it possible for you to customize the content that you are sending them to make a bigger impact, instead of just using a generalized one.
After these personas are created and the leads segregated, you need to map out what kind of content has to be sent to which persona. You can also work on a content program and timeline that creates a smooth process for the content to be generated and sent out at the right times.
- Email marketing is key
Email marketing is still one of the easiest, best and most successful ways to reach your customers and leads, with 64% companies believing that it brings the highest ROI as compared to other marketing efforts!
Every lead nurturing strategy is incomplete without emails as it is the best way to send out content regarding new products and important value adding information. Examples of emails sent out from your company can include:
- Educational email newsletters that provide some valuable information to the reader.
- Demo announcements to showcase a new product or service you may be offering.
- General educational content that can include white papers, research, etc. pertaining to your area of industry.
- Invitations to important events and announcements.
- Emails personally sent to the reader when they are moving further towards sale.
Mixing these various types of emails can help you keep in constant communication with your prospective buyer and move forward with your lead nurturing communication plan.
Read more about how to send emails people will open in one of our previous blogs.
Analyse and measure your every move
If you don’t check on the results of your efforts, how will you know if it is doing well or not? To make sure your efforts have been worthwhile, make sure to track statistics and open rates of your emails. See which kind of content and formats are working and also check how many emails have directed customers to your desired page or website.
Other metrics to track are how your leads are being segregated and what is happening to them once they are registered in the system. Is the lead nurturing process you’ve put in place working for both the sales and marketing teams and most importantly what is your lead conversion rate.
Again, here a CRM can greatly help as it can analyse all processes and provide you with an automatic report of how each process is performing and being handled.
In conclusion, leads are one of the most important elements of your business and even then nurturing them is not on every company’s mind, leading to missed opportunities. With these simple steps, you can create a lead nurturing strategy that is best for your company, as well as marketing and sales teams.