Improve Your Lead Generation With These Tips
Lead nurturing is the process of building effective relationships with potential customers throughout the buyer journey.
By creating automated, ongoing communication with your potential buyers during the sales cycle and beyond, you maximize results and revenue for your organization.
Read on to learn more about how to set up nurture workflows and close leads faster.
Why Is Lead Nurturing Important?
Most customers don’t convert overnight — they require marketing over time as they self-educate and build trust with a company. With lead nurturing, marketers can communicate consistently with buyers cross-channel and throughout the sales cycle, addressing the gap in time between when a lead first interacts with you and when that person is ready to purchase.
Lead nurturing is an integral part of a successful marketing strategy, specifically when building relationships with potential buyers on multiple channels (emails, social, paid, video etc.), even if they are not currently looking to purchase a product or service.
Lead nurturing enables you to listen for and respond to buyers’ needs on multiple channels. With the use of personalized targeted messaging that addresses the challenges of the specific buyer, you have an opportunity to have a one-to-one conversation with them. These conversations can be ongoing so as to influence the entire life cycle and create a more customized, personal and engaging experience.
Automation is key to creating this personalized experience, and workflows are the building blocks of your automation.
The Foundation For Creating Effective Nurture Campaigns
1. Know Your Average Sales Cycle
Gone are the days when marketing was just about writing copy and adding pretty pictures. Marketing today is an integral part of revenue generation. As marketers, we want to build a relationship with prospects, so that by the time they engage with sales, they’re better qualified and more likely to buy. A better qualified lead, in turn, makes your sales team more effective and efficient.
To build efficiency we need to understand our baselines. How long does it take for a potential customer to go from contact to close? The average sales cycle is key to identifying goals for moving leads to the next stage of the buyer journey. We may not know exactly how long a particular lead will take to go from contact to close, but we can certainly rely on averages to set our goals.
Use this formula to calculate sales cycle length*:
Total # Of Days To Close All Deals
------------------------------------------------------- = Average Sales Cycle Length
Total Number Of Deals
Tip: Consider using the same formula to identify the average time in each of the buyer journey stages by modifying the above formula for specific buyer journey stages.
2. Document Your Customer Personas
A buyer persona is a detailed description that represents the important traits of your target audience. The persona is a fictional person who provides insights into what your prospects are thinking and doing as they consider options to address their challenges and needs.
“Actionable buyer personas reveal insights about your buyers’ decisions — the specific attitudes, concerns and criteria that drive prospective customers to choose you, your competitor or the status quo.” — Adele Revella, founder of Buyer Persona Institute
Give each persona a name along with key demographic details, interests and behavioral traits so you better understand their unique pain points and goals.
3. Create Content That Aligns With Your Personas And Their Buyer Journey Stages
Build customer-centric content. Below are four points to keep in mind while building engaging content:
- Keep the conversation focused on what is important to the customer. Let your content reflect that you get your customer and speak to their ideal state. (Avoid the pitfall of a product/company-centric conversation.)
- Use the information from the persona document to create content that speaks to each target personas’ specific needs and challenges. For instance, a CEO is concerned with scale and growth of the company, a manager is concerned about efficiency and a developer is concerned about simplifying getting tasks completed.
- Create content that is appropriate for the target audience, their stage in the buyer journey and the channel where the communication will take place. For example, if you are targeting the CXO level, you know that time is a constraint for this persona. Share bite-sized content with this audience, such as infographics, short videos or content that can be consumed on the go, like podcasts.
- Select the right channels for your persona. Developer-centric content in mainstream social will prove ineffective, as developers are not power users of mainstream social media.
4. Set Goals For The Campaign
Based on the information you have gathered about the buyer persona and the sales cycle, it’s time to set progressive goals. For example, if your average sales cycle is 100 days long, aim to cut it by 10 days in the first quarter and 20 days in the second quarter.
Constantly monitor and optimize your campaign by refreshing content, fine-tuning audience target segments and testing various channels. Once you have identified the audience segments, content and channel, continuous monitoring and optimizing will prove to be your path to success.
Building Robust Lead Nurture Workflows
After you have the foundations laid out, it’s time to imagine the conversation flow with your prospective customer. Think through how you want to guide your audience so they trust that your product or service addresses their needs.
Nurture campaigns ensure the right people from your target audience receive follow-up communication. Automation is the way to efficiently offer one-to-one communication.
Workflows are at the heart of automation. Take the following steps to automate this process:
- Clearly identify your target audience for nurture:
- Demographic profile: Title, geography
- Company profile: Size of company (number of employees, annual revenue), industry, type of company
- Previous engagement: Interest in a specific product, current customer
- Decide on the length of the nurture campaign: Ongoing or with an end date
- Create active lists: Active list change and grow based on criteria you set.
- Build clear logic to your flow based on the actions the person takes: If the recipient clicked on a link and submitted a form, then send email A; if not send, send email B. If job title is CXO, add to list X; if job title is manager, add to list Y; if job title is blank, remove from the nurture.
- Set clear cadence for when you will communicate with the nurture pool. Whether it's once a week, once every two weeks or every 10 days, the right cadence depends on the target segment and how actively you are marketing to the same audience via other campaigns. This is a crucial decision, as too much can burn the audience out, while too little may leave them disengaged. Go back to your persona document to choose the right cadence. You may find certain personas are more inclined to engage when communicated with often.
- Choose pieces of content you want to offer during the nurture campaign. The number of assets you'll need depends on the length of the campaign and the cadence.
- Create specific nurture tracks for each of your target personas – one size does not fit all.
- Have clear entry and exit paths for leads in the campaign. For example, if someone downloads a specific piece of content or fills out a form on a page, add them to the nurture. If someone did not take any action after three touches from the campaign, remove them from the nurture.
- Launch the nurture, and keep an eye on performance to continuously optimize. If you’re creating an ongoing nurture, make sure the content you’re offering is current and relevant to the audience.
- Ensure the campaign performance is meeting the set goals of cutting the sales cycle time.
Tip: Start with simple workflows and progressively add complexity.
Follow these steps to create nurture campaigns powered by robust workflows to shorten the time it takes from contact to close. Using workflows in nurture campaigns is key to effective marketing and can truly impact business growth.
Posted By Author Sandy Rao, Strategist
Sandy Rao is a strategist with 15+ years of experience working on marketing strategy for a broad range of technology and industrial organizations. She thrives on the rich challenges that meeting business objectives create for the strategist. Sandy has worked with leading organizations in marketing technology and security, including Marketo, NICE Systems and ABBYY. She lives with her family in the lovely little town of Ann Arbor, Michigan.