Welcome to the latest installment in our lead nurturing series. We’ve already covered what lead generation and nurturing are and how to put together an effective campaign, but there is one more aspect to consider when you are dealing with a nurturing campaign: people.
All organizations are made up of people, as are your client base. Whether you’re a B2C or B2B organization, getting in touch with this human element of business is key to creating a successful campaign. Managing the data you hold on your prospects as well as managing your staff to correctly work towards the same goals are an undeniable aspect in lead nurturing. So without further ado, let’s take a look.
Keep Your Data Up To Date
When you have a number of people in your sales and marketing teams, keeping a prospect’s details up to date can be a real challenge. If the prospect deals with different team members each time they get in touch, getting an overall picture of the client, their needs and intentions can be a tricky process.
CRM software can assist with your data management and appointment setting; as when new calls and information about contacts comes in, each team member can update that person’s profile as appropriate – immediately sharing any new developments with the rest of the team should someone else happen to take a call from that prospect in future. When using a CRM with other features such as website analytics and email marketing, contacts’ details can be updated with information about those channels too, giving an overall picture of their interest in you.
However, the most important factor in a CRM’s effectiveness is the need for all users to update it consistently with all pertinent information. One member of staff forgetting to update it or even purposefully withholding information can mean the difference between a happy and unhappy customer; so ensure that all staff members are trained to use any such tools to the same level and that they use them routinely.
Monitor Preferred Contact Channels
In our personal and professional lives, we all know that people have communication preferences. Some people prefer chatting on the phone, others like email, others may prefer text messages or social media. If a client has a certain preference, it’s important to oblige by that method of communication.
Additionally, always note how you came to be in touch with that person in the first place. Did you meet them in person at a trade show? Did they find you through a web search? Or did they come to be on your radar through an online lead generation method like a web form or a resource provided in return for their details? Establishing this information about each contact can play a big part in what content they would most like to receive and how.
To give a couple of examples, if someone downloaded a free ebook in exchange for their email address, not only have they shown an interest in your company, but also in the content you produce. This means that they may well be interested in regular blog post roundups or even information about further downloadable resources. Of course you can also intersperse these with the occasional offer here and there, but a 100% hard sell approach here would likely turn these people away.
For our second example, say someone visited your booth at a trade show and seemed very interested in your product, almost ready to buy. This person would probably be much better contacted by email or over the phone with an exclusive offer tailored to visitors of the show. These people are much closer to buying than the first example, so you need to strike while the iron is hot! However, if it does turn out to be a no, that doesn’t mean you can’t try and pique their interest with more information and offers going forward.
Sales funnels can help greatly with lead nurturing campaigns. To summarize the concept, visualize a standard kitchen funnel with the wide end at the top and the narrow end at the bottom. Imagine new or uninterested leads entering at the top; and their progressing down through the funnel represents them becoming more interested in your offer and closer to buying. Those that make it out of the end of the funnel are those that have agreed to buy.
This may seem like an unusual allegory for the sales process, but a sales funnel can be broken down into the different stages of your sales process. If you split your leads into these categories, it helps you and your team visualize where each lead fits into the big picture. The funnel image works well because you are likely to start with a large amount of less interested leads and the group gets smaller as people drop out of the process.
Starting at the wide end and moving towards the narrow end, a sales funnel’s categories may take a similar path to this example:
Uninterested Lead > Interested Lead > Active Enquiry > Sent Quote > Agreed Quote & Invoicing > Receipt of Payment > Delivery of Product/Service
For more information about sales funnels, check out our earlier article here.
Lead scoring is the practice of ranking prospects on a scale from most to least potentially valuable to your company. The purpose for this is to focus on and prioritise the most valuable contacts; or perhaps to market differently to prospects depending on their perceived level of value.
This exercise also forces you to evaluate what prospect characteristics mean most to you on the whole as an organisation; lead scores can be driven by the potential monetary revenue that that prospect may bring in, or perhaps a different factor entirely such as potential retention levels or likelihood of repeat business. Maybe your score could be a mixture of different factors. However you choose to score your leads, make sure it ties in seamlessly with your business and what you’re after in a client.
Using sales funnels to evaluate how close people are to a sale, and using lead scoring to evaluate how valuable each lead is to you is most likely to help you pinpoint which leads need what information at what time, and in what ways you can deliver that information to achieve the best effect.