Years ago when I started embracing marketing automation it was because we were generating a lot of demand from trade shows, emails, seminars, webinars, search engine marketing, and of course, our website. We were not having any problems collecting names of interested parties but I was tired of “throwing everything over the fence” to our sales team without some level of qualification. Marketing automation provided the lead scoring and lead routing to help us manage our lead process much better. Lead scoring is still a key reason why many marketers look at marketing automation today.
However, as I talk to prospects and customers I see that one of the overlooked or underappreciated benefits of marketing automation is lead nurturing. In fact, many marketers don’t implement lead nurturing campaigns until a year or longer after their initial marketing automation implementation. This is unfortunate as I see lead nurturing providing three wonderful gifts that keep on giving:
- Gift #1: Generate more sales leads with no more investment—You have already spent a significant amount of money to collect new prospect names through a whole host of marketing programs and channels. You and I know that many of those names are not truly “sales ready.” With lead nurturing you can continue to reach out those those names in your marketing database that are not sales ready—without spending any more marketing dollars. All you need is some valued content, some benefits-oriented emails, and segmented lists. You can build out campaigns based on industry, job function, company size, buyer cycle position, etc. According to DemandGen Report, on average, nurtured leads produce a 20 percent increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads. How would a 20 increase in sales opportunities impact your revenue pipeline?
- Gift #2: Be seen as a trusted advisor with your prospects—Lead nurturing works because it allows you to build credibility and trust—and develop relationships—with your prospects by sharing useful information. Making B2B purchase decisions can be overwhelming. These decisions often require many people and take a long time. You are trying to earn their business when they are ready to buy. If buyers believe that you understand their problems—and can provide solutions—you differentiate your company in being selected for purchase.
- Gift #3: Enhance your sales/marketing team relationship—According to research groups such as Forrester and CSO Insights, lead nurturing reduces the percentage of marketing-generated leads that are ignored by sales by as much as 80%. Lead nurturing also raises win rates on marketing-generated leads by an average of seven percent. With lead nurturing, more sales reps make quota—an average of nine percent higher—and the ramp up time for new sales reps is decreased by 10%. While your sales reps may still not be ready to give you enough credit for your impact on revenue, they will definitely notice an increase in the quality of leads that turn into sales opportunities for them.
Where is the downside to lead nurturing? Whether you are looking at marketing automation or have already implemented a platform, don’t wait to implement your lead nurturing campaigns. Just make sure you have a few pieces of quality content. As I have mentioned before, the content should be valuable and not self-promotional. When possible, make it short and to the point. Be sensitive to your prospect’s schedule and attention span.
Finally, I would recommend that you establish at least a “single opt-in” permission approach for your lead nurturing campaigns. This level of permission shows a pro-active concern for permission and should increase your deliverability and sender reputation scores. Don’t wait for a special holiday to open your lead nurturing gifts. Tear into them now with the same excitement you had as a child opening gifts. You’ll enjoy them today and tomorrow.
Ready to get started or improve your current lead nurturing? Check out the Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing.