The New Year is often a time to take stock of what happened in 2014 and tweak your marketing strategy to make 2015 as successful as possible. You probably have your plans in place, so sorry to put a spanner in the works but does in include Lead Nurturing? If so, then fantastic, a big pat on the back for you, but if not grab yourself a cup of something hot and take five minutes to learn more about this marketing tactic that, once implemented, could see your sales team receiving not just an increase in leads, but an increase in better qualified leads.
So what actually is lead nurturing? Put simply it’s about warming those lukewarm leads up over a period of time until they’re hot enough convert to a sale. This process starts at initial contact and involves drip feeding informative and relevant information. Many sales teams contact leads too early and scare them off, or leave them to fester in their sales funnel without any contact. By nurturing your leads you help to generate an emotional connection with your prospective clients, building a trusting relationship with them until such time as they become sales-ready leads.
It sounds like a win-win situation; prospects are looked after freeing up your sales people so they have adequate time for liaising with hot leads. But how does it really stack up? You just need to spend ten minutes trawling the web to find some pretty compelling statistics. I’ve dug out a few to get you started:
- 79% of marketing leads never convert to sales – Marketing Sherpa
- 61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to Sales, but of those only 27% will be qualified – Marketing Sherpa
- Companies with a flair for lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost – Forrester Research
- Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases – The Annuitas Group
- Nurtured leads produce on average a 20% increase in sales opportunities compared to non-nurtured leads – DemandGen Report
- The organisations that employ automated lead nurturing enjoy a 10% or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months – Gartner Research
With statistics like these it’s surprising to find that Marketing Sherpa established only 65% of B2B organisations actively implement lead nurturing activities, and only an estimated 5% make use of a full-featured automated system (Forester Research). It’s considered to be a time consuming and costly strategy but the reality is that it’s far more achievable to implement than you think.
There are a wealth of automated ultra intuitive lead nurturing tools on the market to choose from, which can work out to be very cost effective when you consider the potential returns. The purpose of these tools is to take an extremely keen interest (or ‘stalk’) your prospective clients, allowing you to direct highly targeted and personalised correspondence to them. Most commonly this is done in the form of an email. Content is the key here as is confirmed by Jupiter Research who found that emails containing relevant content typically drive eighteen times higher revenue as opposed to broadcast emails.
Next comes timing; you don’t want to bombard your contacts but at the same time you don’t want them to lose interest. Many automated tools allow A/B testing which can be used to not only test the receptiveness of different messages, but also to check the optimal timings for them to be sent. Marketing Sherpa conducted research to establish what frequency B2B organisations that employ lead nurturing are touching leads. As you can see the results are incredibly varied but it gives an indication of what other businesses do:
Although typically seen as a marketing activity, you would be wise to employ your sales team’s insight of your current customers when generating content for your lead nurturing activities as they have working knowledge of what makes them tick.
Lead nurturing can be adopted by any size of business; in fact start ups will have the upper hand when it comes to implementation as it’s a fantastic marketing tool to use from the outset. It will provide invaluable insight into your consumers’ behaviours and preferences from the word go, whilst creating the foundations for a consistent and streamlined communications strategy that can forge strong relationships and establish an early emotional connection.
Whatever size of business though, nothing can beat a simple, personal hand-written note. It shows you have taken the time and the interest in them individually and that can speak volumes.