There has been a paradigm shift in marketing; from one-to-many to one-to-one; marketing is no longer about blowing your own trumpet. Today, consumer has grown smarter and has all the desired information just a click away. They are doing their own research, reading reviews and information before making a purchase decision. This has led to a major revolution in the way the consumers see a product or a brand.
The key to drive your audience to try out your product/services isn’t the traditional sales pitch, but to deliver content that helps to educate them and engage them in a conversation through out the different buyer lifecycle stages. So, the motto has changed from “Always be Closing” to “Always be Helping.”
Your prospects no longer are just one cold call away. They are bombarded with plethora of marketing messages everyday. And, they no longer appreciate you getting in touch with them whenever you have an offer. Modern marketers understand this. They know it’s all about having consistent and meaningful dialog with viable prospects early in the buying cycle.
This process, that helps you engage and stay top-of-mind with your prospects over a long period of time, is called lead nurturing.
Lead Nurturing in Everyday Life
Lead nurturing in a way is the art of persuasion. Imagine nurturing in terms of your personal life. You met a dating partner through a dating site or in college or at a pub. Would you think about proposing to your girlfriend right away? No, you won’t. Just as any relationship needs time & commitment to blossom before you say “I Do,” lead nurturing works the same way too.
It’s about building trusted relationships with your prospects before they commit to you.
Rule 1: Build a Long-term Relationship With Your Prospect
Step 1: Another example of lead nurturing in everyday life — You go out shopping and enter a popular store. The first thing a salesman would do is to greet you, say “Hello” and get aside leaving you to explore the collection.
Rule 2: Never start with a sales pitch.
Step 2: After sometime, the salesman will come and offer you with some help in choosing a piece of clothing according to your taste, style & budget.
Rule 3: Gage your prospect’s interests and serve him at the right time, with the right offer.
The great thing about this approach is that it lets you engage in the conversation & build awareness with your followers without coming across as pushy or too sales-centric.
Now if you are not yet ready to buy, the salesman will ask you to leave your email or contact details to keep you updated about all the future happenings by signing you up for a newsletter outlining a sale, special offers, upcoming event or new stock dates.
Step 3: And, he will make sure to keep in touch with you without coming across as too pushy.
Rule 4: Educate your prospect with the goal to stay top of mind when they are ready to move into a buying phase.
Step 4: And, once you avail an offer and make a purchase, the immediate goal for the salesman will be to offer you a great customer service and convert you into a loyal customer.
Rule 5: Keep Your Customer Engaged
Typically, a lead nurturing campaign is spread out over a period of time, from a month to a few months, depending on your product.
And, the aim of lead nurturing is to drive your potential customers down the sales funnel by educating them and engaging with them at each step; from the time they first came into contact with you till the time they decide to buy from you and turn into your customers.
The key is to identify their needs and interests and facilitate them with the right kind of information during their customer lifecycle journey and stay top of mind throughout the sales cycle, regardless of budget, authority, need & timing (Known As BANT). However that does not mean they are not good prospects. You can use this early opportunity to increase your pipeline and position the lead into your sales funnel for turning them into opportunities.
How is Lead Nurturing Done?
79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance. –MarketingSherpa
Lead Nurturing is the art of authoring personalized & compelling content at each stage of the customer lifecycle journey till they are sales-ready.
Every user who turns into a customer goes through these 6 lifecycle stages.
- Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
- Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
- Brand Evangelist
1. A prospect could be anyone in your target niche who is talking about similar services or products.
Need: The need at this stage is to create brand awareness.
2. When a user first becomes aware of your product, and has done any sort of activity on your site; from signing up to opening your email.
Need: At this stage, they are looking for more information about your product/service.
3. A prospect that is evaluating your solution to solve his pain points. At this stage, your lead is trying out your product.
Need: They are still exploring a lot of options and need little more information to decide.
4. At this stage, your prospect is most likely to take a decision. There is a higher probability that your qualified lead has reached to the bottom of the funnel (BOFU) and is ready to be passed on to your sales team.
Need: Your prospect is ready to buy and can be won over by offering right offer at the right time.
5. Your prospect has converted into your customer.
Need: Already onboard, he is looking for your support and getting the most out of your product and services.
6. Lead nurturing doesn’t ends with the buying cycle. Once a prospect turns into a buyer, you aim is to retain them and earn their referrals.
Need: It is very important to identify these customers who have the power to influence others to try out your product & service. The need is to keep them engaged with great content during this phase.
So, depending on the buyer stage, lead nurturing helps your potential customers in making a buying decision by educating them why your product is right for them. Nurturing helps create confidence in buyers and close more sales.
The lead nurturing principles shall remain the same, though the lead of the lead nurturing phase may vary depending on the nature of your business.
Lead Nurturing Methods
Lead nurturing can be done through various B2B & B2C marketing channels. It could be anything from email marketing to social media management. Though you do need a system to automate content delivery through all buyer lifecycle stages and improve your lead management efficiency. According to a recent CSO Insights stats, “Companies with mature lead generation and management practices have a 9.3% higher sales quota achievement rate.”
An effective lead nurturing campaign will involve these steps:
- Segmentation & Customer Profiling
- Email Nurturing
- Creating Persoanlized Content to connect with them at each step
- Social Media Nurturing
Why You Should Do It?
“Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost.” -Forrester Research
- Lead nurturing is a cost effective and efficient way to qualify your leads.
- Nurturing by providing right type of content at the right time in a user lifecycle journey will help you convert fast.
- The major problem faced by traditional marketers was they didn’t knew which marketing channel was yielding results and which was failing. Lead nurturing is the conversational form of marketing that will tell you whom to focus and when to stop.
- Lead Nurturing is a great way to streamline your funnel & learn about your leads.
- Companies that excel at lead nurturing attribute as much as 50% of new deals to older leads they have nurtured – thus increasing brand loyalty and repeat purchases.
- Lead nurturing is a powerful way to maintain a dialogue with future buyers.
- A lead nurturing campaign is highly targeted and engaing to the prospect.
- Lead nurturing helps you grow your contact list.
- It can be used to generate new leads or re-engage with old leads and is ideal for all businesses.
- It is all about offering value to your prospects even before they are ready to buy.
Lead Nurturing Campaign – Things To Take Care
But to know your user’s interests and the activities he is doing at your website, you need a 360 degree picture of him, so you can deliver content that meets his needs at each step and drive him to the next user lifecycle stage till the time he is ready to buy from you.
It not just means delivering a consistent message but personalizing the message as per the prospects needs and wants.
Research says, “80% of inbound leads never have a meaningful conversation with sales.” Isn’t this an eye opener? Not all leads will turn into customers; lead nurturing is the only way to identify those qualified customers by analyzing their behavior & the activities they have done on your website. It could be a certain number of pageviews, sharing your content, opening your email, downloading your ebook or any other activity performed on your website. Lead nurturing is the art of converting his interest into intent thus preventing the leaks in the sales funnel.
As per Forrester Research, marketers who focus on lead generation alone should remember, only a very small percentage of those new leads (5%) are ready to engage with sales, 95% of those leads were non-sales-ready. And that is the reason why marketers are increasing their budget allocation for lead nurturing by 11% to implement a lead nurturing program that tracks and develops leads into sales-qualified leads.