Reporting on Demand Gen Report (DGR)’s “2014 Lead Nurturing Benchmark Survey,” Tonya Vinas delivers the mixed news:
- 73 percent of B2B marketers are reporting a better response due to targeting and lead nurturing. YAY!
- 66 percent of the 239 marketers surveyed identified developing targeted content as the Number One challenge. Boo.
[Editorializing via “Yay!” and “Boo.” are our contributions.]
That lead nurturing being more widely used by B2B marketers across all industries is to be heralded. Respondents cited the following benefits of lead nurturing campaigns:
- 73 percent better response due to targeting
- 61 percent segmenting prospects based on behavior
- 61 percent generating more sales-ready leads
- 31 percent lowering costs for qualified leads
In addition to developing targeted content, other challenges respondents mentioned were:
- building the right timing/workflow for campaigns
- needing more insight into lead nurturing best practices
- lacking data and sales support
Thought leadership, webinars, research-based content, white papers, and even videos comprise the content that is being served. These are all great tools that provide information to potential customers; however, with better research and targeting, they can be even more valuable to marketers as responsive lead nurturing tools. At each stage of the buying process, consumers seek different information. Traditionally, email marketing has been the most widely used lead nurturing tool (96 percent). This is a push/outbound marketing tool. Rather than just sending on a predetermined schedule, it needs to react to the information and actions the potential customers take to keep them as interested leads. The trend is for more inbound marketing, where the potential customer seeks information through your content. It is up to B2B marketers to meet the challenge of responding with appropriate, directed content that addresses the customers’ needs.
After establishing the importance of content in nurturing campaigns, we get into the nitty-gritty of Customer Relationship Management (CRMs), specifically where it intersects with automation. Can Marketing Automation Platforms (MAPs) and Customer Relationship Management (CRMs) get along? In a recent ClickZ article, Kevin Miller posits they can, since the common goal of each is lead nurturing. MAPs and CRMs share key process automation between sales and marketing applied to client service and support. “The key thing to remember is that the technology inherent to MAP and the ever improving integration between the MAP/CRM systems opens up a huge opportunity for companies to improve how they communicate, cross-sell and measure satisfaction of clients. Companies that are willing to leverage the MAP to do this are enjoying higher client satisfaction scores and are driving revenue from their existing client base, hence getting more bang for the buck with their MAP investment.”
Does it all add up? Let’s take a look at the numbers in a recent Regalix report about how well B2B marketers understand their customers.
- 80 percent of B2B marketers claim they determine which customers are most valuable
- 64 percent monitor past purchase behavior
- 48 percent track their customers’ demographics
The survey consisted of 284 B2B marketers from North America (72 percent) and the rest of the world. In addition to being able to determine which customers were the most valuable, marketers were asked whether their organization understands their customers’ demographics, journey, purchase behavior, wants and needs, channel preferences and likeliness to purchase. Further, respondents were asked about their understanding of their targeted audience, as well as the customers’ understanding of their brand. Respondents also revealed which channels they use to interact with customers: 100 percent use their website, 88 percent email, 80 percent social media and blogs. Mobile sites and apps, text messaging, chat, paid search and display ads were each used by less than 50 percent of those surveyed.
And since the move is toward MAPs and a reliance on strong content and targeted responsive lead nurturing, it’s always good to review some tips on B2B marketing. Here are some general ones for SMBs that still hold sway and emphasize the importance of content and contact in lead nurturing. We’ve seen many of them: make sure your website creates a strong, well branded and informative first impression; provide content that answers customers’ questions before explaining who you are; be searchable; use social media. Tip 7 stood out for us: “Upcycling Content.” Get additional value out of content by reusing and repurposing it to extend its visibility and relevance. How? Update a blog post, create a Slideshare, convert it into a video or infographic; republish on LinkedIn or expand it into a white paper.
Content can be used for creating the one-to-one conversation we’ve discussed in previous posts and needs to be more fully utilized for effective B2B marketing.
Image via Stuart Heath