Somewhat following on the path of last week’s lead scoring post, but taking a step backwards, today’s post is going to cover the importance of lead nurturing.
And to begin with an analogy:
Imagine you just got a new pet. This pet needs love and care to grow and have a good life. Without the proper amount of attention, food, and love, this new pet is going to feel neglected and could end up running away in search of a new owner who is going to treat it better.
This is just the same when you acquire a lead. We’ve already established that taking notice of the lead’s interest is important, but the relationship is a two-way street. Your interest and ability to attend to your leads is essential–you don’t want your lead running off to a competitor.
What Does Lead Nurturing Entail?
79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance. (Source: MarketingSherpa) HubSpot Blog
Don’t just let a lead sit when it becomes known to you. Once the lead is acquired from any source, it is time to nurture the lead with relevant content.
Let’s first talk about what lead nurturing is not. Lead nurturing is not about using a batch-n-blast approach. Batch-n-blast is the practice of sending the same content to the entire database at the same time. Batch-n-blast is good for certain communications but it is not lead nurturing in the way it is defined in 2015.
Lead nurturing is about developing the buyer’s journey. That means delivering the right content to the right person at the right time. A CEO of an investment firm who is late in the buying cycle has different needs than an IT Director of a technology firm who just visited your trade show booth. Each should receive content that is appropriate. The key is to make the lead feel included and welcome with relevant content.
How to Develop the Lead Nurturing Journey?
Lead nurturing is much more strategic than a batch-n-blast approach. If you only send one email and don’t follow up with relevant content, your potential buyer may lose interest. You obviously want to gain their interest, not lose it in order to make a sale. If your lead feels forgotten about, your potential buyer may turn into someone else’s customer.
Usually, a mix of content works best but a little testing goes a long way. As one of your first steps, consider developing a content matrix to inventory your content. Then begin to map that content to the buyer’s journey. Don’t go crazy mapping content to every buying stage or persona as you have to walk before you can run. Start simple with a few tracks of content over 4-6 weeks to begin testing.
Mix of content may include:
- White papers
- Webinars (Live and on demand)
- Product benefits
- Case studies
- Blog excerpts
Lead Not Ready? Recycle
50% of leads are qualified but not yet ready to buy. (Source: Gleanster Research) HubSpot Blog
Sometimes leads are not ready to make a purchase at the present time. Don’t take this situation as a loss or a bad thing. Take it as an opportunity to win over a customer at a future date.
In this case, consider recycling this lead back to the top of the revenue funnel. Best practice businesses will continue sending this recycled lead emails to keep the conversation going. When the recycled lead engages again via a web visit or other action, consider speeding up the conversion with more frequent emails.
Businesses that are not properly educated on the importance of recycled leads often forget about them. What happens is the lead will sit in the system until eventually, the lead goes to the lead graveyard. This is a lost opportunity to leverage the existing investment.
With proper execution, recycled leads are a key component of a company’s nurture strategy. If the business properly nurtures this lead until it is ready to make a purchase, this could turn a bunch of potential missed opportunities into sales.
Go beyond standard batch-n-blast and develop a lead nurturing strategy. Lead nurturing clearly is very important in maintaining the attention and interest of your leads. Without proper nurturing, many leads will disappear which can result in lost sales.
The same is true for lead recycling–companies need to keep the conversation going.
Remember to always nurture your leads (and pets) so they don’t run away in search for someone better.