Lead Nurturing Excellence
Sales are very rarely made on the first encounter between company and lead. The reason being is this thing called a sales cycle, which we like to apply the metaphor of a courtship. You see, companies need to woo their leads into the commitment of becoming a customer. You don’t just put a ring on it on the first date (well, maybe some people do) and you shouldn’t expect a lead to jump feet first either.
So begins the courtship, or in marketing terms, a lead nurturing system that woos those leads into loving your company and wanting that big commitment. Many companies that we work with have either no lead nurturing initiatives or very passive ones. And by passive, we mean they aren’t targeted or consistent. By implementing a strategic, targeted and consistent system, why you are going to have people falling for you all over the place.
Step 1: Who is Your Ideal Type
We have said it before, and we will say it again, you need to know your optimal customer inside and out. No more generic terms, we need specifics on who you want a relationship with. Define everything about them and then get to know them. If your demographic are people in Denver, ages 22 – 40, awesome. But that covers a pretty wide array of people. Do you want families? Do you want people who live an urban lifestyle? Enjoy hiking? Own a dog? You should know your perfect customer as well as your best friend or spouse, so you know how to talk to them.
Step 2: Iron Out a Game Plan
If you don’t know your company sales cycle, well, get on that, like yesterday. If you do, you know how long the process takes, usual questions, hot buttons, and a sense of how to move people from one stage to another. Lead nurturing takes that sales cycle and insights and provides a way to push people through. Every lead nurturing system is different, so this is the stage where you define exactly what yours will look like. Here is an example of what one can typically look like.
Lead Conversion – Lead converts by filling out a web form, attending a tradeshow, viewing a webinar, etc.
Lead Nurture 1 – Email based on insights from lead conversion sent 3 days after conversion with some sort of offer
Lead Nurture 2 – Call from inside sales speaking to the hot button seen from the conversion with some sort of offer
Lead Nurture 3 – Email based on insights from lead conversion sent 10 days after conversion with some sort of offer
Lead Nurture 4 – Email based on insights from lead conversion sent 17 days after conversion with some sort of offer
Lead Nurture 5 – Direct mail is delivered 21 days after conversion with some sort of offer
Lead Nurture 6 – Call from inside sales speaking to the hot button seen from the conversion and subsequent lead nurturing
Lead Nurture 7 – Email based on insights from lead conversion sent 28 days after conversion with some sort of offer
Lead Nurture 8 – Email requesting some sort of sales step – a meeting, demo, etc.
Lead Nurture 9 – Call from inside sales speaking to the request of some sort of sales step – a meeting, demo, etc.
(If you would like to learn more about how marketing is interlaced throughout the sales cycle, check out Marketers Mastering the Sales Funnel)
The offers that are included in the nurture system are not all “Hey get 50% off!!”. When we say offer, we mean it more in the way of a value exchange. So, the first email could be focusing on a white paper. The next a video tutorial. The one after a sign up for a webinar. You get the idea. Basically, you want to educate the lead into ultimately selling themselves on taking that ring when you finally pop the question. Keep the information you are offering engaging and valuable. Don’t hold back, be honest and forthcoming and always be true to your brand.
Step 3: Get Specific
Although you have your type ironed out, each lead is interested in something different, so it doesn’t makes sense to have the same conversation with everyone. The more targeted you can make your messaging, the better, because you are speaking to exactly what they need to hear in order to make the transition to a customer. For example, someone lands on your website and downloads a case study on product X. That means that your entire lead nurturing system needs to be based around product X and not talk about product Y.
The key is to rely heavily on insights and reporting. You need to know exactly what pages of your website they are looking at, where they are spending most of their time, if they engaged on social media, what emails they are opening, etc. Every bit of information that you can get is vital – going back to our original metaphor, think of this as little hints as to what your potential mate likes and doesn’t. This information should be linked back to your CRM system and a client or lead record within that so that sales reps can have up to the moment insights when talking with people.
Step 4: Make Your Life Easier
Yes, this single area of your marketing plan can be extremely overwhelming. Heck, we know courting someone is a huge effort. Thanks to the digital revolution though, there is automation available! *Sigh of relief. So you set and forget it, in a sense. Once the system is turned on, it operates automatically and you are left to take sales. One great option is Hubspot. Using their platform you have access to a metric ton of solutions to make your life easier, including lead nurturing. Just keep in mind, like all things marketing, you need to track the success of the program and make adjustments and updates along the way to ensure optimal success.