The digital age has brought with it a new kind of discerning, knowledge-hungry customer. Indeed, in a now-famous study by Google and CEB, researchers found that B2B customers were nearly 60% of the way through the sales funnel before they even interacted with a sales representative.
This raises some questions: Did the sales team even know that these potential customers were sales leads? And what were the leads doing if not engaging with the sales team – languishing hopelessly in the digital ether?
Today’s customers are out there, trying to find solutions to their particular problems, and they are using the length and breadth of the internet-content machine to find a solution to their needs. So what does that mean for marketers? How do we find these leads, guide them through the marketing funnel and, ultimately, convert them into customers?
It all comes down to having a solid lead nurturing strategy. But what is lead nurturing and what are the benefits?
Lead nurturing is, quite simply, the ongoing relationship we establish and maintain with our leads through every stage of the funnel and throughout the buyer’s journey. It means finding out what their particular problem is and then providing relevant, insightful content that responds to their needs.
With lead nurturing, you’ll build a relationship based on trust and continued mutual value as leads progress through their customer journey.
Here are just three of the top reasons why you should make sure you excel at lead nurturing:
1. Sales-ready leads
Nurturing your leads provides your sales team with an untapped resource for sales-ready leads, with no new investment. Getting clients across the threshold of your sales funnel is often a cost-intensive exercise, meaning multiple marketing campaigns and a significant outlay in resources, staff and finances. Plus, many of the newbies to the sales funnel may be sales-shy and not ready to take the plunge.
But they may be willing to dip their toes in the water, and that’s where lead nurturing comes in.
By creating valuable, informative content that is correctly-targeted, relevant and authentic, you can keep clients moving through the sales funnel, creating a plethora of opportunities and marketing qualified leads for your sales team, without the need for continual lead generation.
2. A chance to develop and highlight your brand
Every campaign is an opportunity to learn more about your leads and develop brand authenticity. What do your customers want? What topics are the most relevant? What other products might they be interested in?
The more you learn from your leads, the better the content you can provide through your marketing efforts. Lead nurturing ultimately comes down to building trust in your products and services with potential customers across your omnichannel campaigns – from email marketing and that first subject line that gets the lead to read your email, all the way through to the social media posts that get your content shared. Trust comes from creating content that has authority and clout. The content you provide should establish your brand as the ultimate source of credible, viable information.
3. A source of analytics for improving your lead’s journey
As leads develop a relationship with you and interact with you along all the touchpoints of your omnichannel campaigns, you can gather gather the important information you need to qualify your leads as they make their way through their user journey and quantify how valuable each interaction is. Essentially, you’ll be able to build an attribution model from which you’ll be able to understand which interactions are not worth the marketing budget and which can be improved and optimised.
How can you make sure you’re getting the most out of lead nurturing? Automate it!
The benefits of automated lead nurturing are boundless. With lead nurturing, you can create and link up a range of campaigns that are responsive to each lead’s personalised needs. This frees up a lot of time from your team and ensures that your leads are being guided through the sales funnel with engaging, timely content. You’ll be able to create bespoke, personalised experiences for each customer in a scalable and evolving way.
This also means that you can collect real-time, accurate data on engagement rates, which can be fed back into creating even more compelling content. Marketing automation platforms such as Marketo offer the chance to nurture leads through every stage of the sales funnel with a remarkable range of personalised email campaigns, digital ads, push notifications and more, all of which can be measured within the platform so you can understand what works and what doesn’t.
Using a MA platform is one of the most important ways to ensure that your marketing team has the tools to make the most of lead management, from the first touchpoint to the last and every point in between.