Once you have the right CRM and marketing automation platform in place, you can now manage your contacts right from the initial introduction to them becoming a qualified lead.
This process is referred to as lead nurturing.
“The best way to sell something – don’t sell anything. Earn the awareness, respect, and trust of those who might buy.” – Rand Fishkin
The key thing to lead nurturing is not to bombard your prospects with “hard sell” messages as soon as they have signed up. You need to build a relationship, provide value, and gain their trust first by answering questions that you know they are likely to have, and showing how you can solve their problems better than any other company or service out there.
If you nurture your leads properly, then your business will reap the benefits. Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost, while nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.
How we can help with lead nurturing
In practical terms, we can help B2B companies to use a combination of demand generation and inbound marketing tactics to drive relevant visitors to your website. Our demand generation tactics use paid advertising campaigns, such as display advertising, which builds awareness of your brand with potential customers who, in many cases, have not yet realised that they need your product service.
At WSI, we use our programmatic display process and Demand Side Platforms to give clients access to a range of advertising inventory where we can buy display advertising in real time. We also use paid search to help you identify people who are looking for your products or services and immediately connect them with your business.
In terms of inbound marketing, At WSI Digital, we can create a digital blueprint that helps you put together an inbound marketing strategy to ensure you are answering the questions your audience is asking. We have also developed our SEO methodology that we call AdaptiveSEO. This approach helps you to quickly adapt and evolve to Google’s frequent algorithm changes to stay ahead of the competition, without putting your business at risk of penalties for bad SEO practices.
Building relationships and gaining trust
Lead nurturing is not just applicable in the early stages of the buying journey; it spans the entire lifecycle. If you are going to find answers to their problems then your first step needs to be to listen to what they say (mostly virtually).
The next step we can help you with in lead nurturing is to answer their questions or provide value in exchange for their contact details and email address. This might be via a popup with a promotion, or a newsletter signup, a competition, or a download of a whitepaper or ebook (known as a lead magnet).
The customer may not want to give you their details right at that moment, but if you’ve provided enough value to them, then they will likely come back when they are ready.
By asking the visitor to identify themselves, you know which “persona” they represent. For example, if your company is a FinTech software company you might ask if they are they a “c-level” financial controller or a “project accountant”.
Once you have the details you can then add them to your CRM and start understanding them and personalising communications and content.
At this point, you will start deploying other marketing tactics to get the lead to move to the next step. When you reach this stage, you will hopefully already have built out a prewritten set of emails that you can use to nurture the lead.
Which emails the prospect is sent, and the sequence in which they are delivered in, is determined by predefined rules that we can help you set up in your marketing automation platform. These rules and triggers are known as workflows.
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While it’s important not to be pushy or go for the hard sell, you still need to include some more sales-oriented emails or language in your workflows to establish if the prospect has any buying intent.
The overall length of a workflow and the frequency at which you should send your leads emails differs from Industry to Industry. If we take WSI as a case study, we have found that a strong nurture workflow for B2B will run for six weeks, sending one email each week. In week four we will usually send an email offering a consultation. Once the lead has received all of the emails in our workflow, we will have a trigger to transfer the person to another workflow on completion. In our case, they would go on our blog subscriber workflow.
Lead Nurturing is not confined to email marketing; social media offers a lot of opportunities to support the lead nurturing process. In fact, 92% of executives say that social media influenced a purchasing decision within the last year, while the same percentage engage if the professional is a known industry thought leader.
Our Linkedin Marketing programme (link to this) helps your sales team to become thought leaders in your vertical and share knowledge with your target market during the sales cycle. Marketing automation platforms like Hubpost and SharpSpring will help us monitor how engaged a sales prospect is and will display this right within the “life of the lead” (Show sharpspring screenshot). The sales person can not only see if the prospect opened an email or visited a certain page of the website but also if they engaged with a social post on linked in, Twitter, Facebook etc.
We can help you use social media to build up your reputation as a thought leader and authority in your area, which widens your scope to engage both with people who are in your contact list and funnel, and those who are not.
In a recent study, Forrester asked hundreds of executive buyers and decision makers this question: “How do you make buying decisions?” Almost two-thirds of buyers said that they make decisions based on who creates the buying vision.
This means the buyer did not realise they had a problem that needed solving but were convinced by thought leaders who presented an alternative. In other words, you should be creating content that answers this question: “Why should I do anything different than I am today?”
At WSI, we recognise that the goal of a lead nurturing programme is to convert marketing qualified leads into leads that are “sales ready”. We can help you understand the processes and tactics you need to use to build relationships and gain the trust of your customers so you can nurture leads and, ultimately, close the sale.