Originally posted by Erik Matlick on iMedia Connection, April 1st, 2013 at 7:33 am
The latest research is showing a clear positive correlation regarding a company’s success and lead nurturing, a process that provides relevant, meaningful communications to a prospect to lead them to a conversion. However, research is also suggesting that BtoB marketers may be lagging in their adoption of effective lead nurturing strategies. In a recent CMO study from IDC, marketers were asked to indicate their satisfaction with their businesses’ various lead management techniques. Lead nurturing scored the lowest in satisfaction.
Consider this: 45 percent of all business inquiries result in a sale – eventually, yet according to the Sales Lead Management Association, 80 percent of sales teams do not call leads that are initially deemed unqualified.
Translation: if you are a BtoB marketer, who is not currently engaging in lead nurturing to help further qualify and sway “unqualified” leads, you have a huge opportunity to gain a competitive advantage and capture more of those sales. And because lead nurturing is proven to contribute to higher quality leads and larger average order sizes, you may even increase your ROI from sales you would have madenaturally, as well.
Here’s another study to consider: In “Understanding the Industrial Buy Cycle,” GlobalSpec’s research shows that for purchases over $1,000, like many BtoB buying decisions, buyers were exposed to three or more pieces of content before they converted. During this peak discovery phase, buyers may be researching your products along with competitors’, as well as reading relevant white papers, attending related events, etc. In today’s over-communicated, overly saturated environment, BtoB brands have an opportunity to be the “go to” resource of key information that can assist the buyer during this discovery phase, and shine a favorable light on their company in the process.
The challenge, and perhaps the reason why lead nurturing is so under-utilized today, is that when leads are initially deemed unqualified, marketers do not want to waste time and resources chasing a dead end. Companies who want to incorporate nurturing into their lead gen strategies without sacrificing scale should keep these best practices in mind:
- Simply emailing your contact list repeatedly will not develop relationships. BtoB brands should ensure they are utilizing a smart lead scoring program, as well as a marketing automation system, that allow for insightful communications to engage with prospects on a one-to-one basis.
- Lead nurturing is a multi-touch, multi-channel approach that may take weeks to months. An individual lead nurturing journey may require marketing touch points across email, phone, mail and display. Prospects must be engaged holistically to develop a lead and help an individual move seamlessly though awareness, consideration and, eventually, conversion. All channels will support these developing relationships and should be used accordingly.
- Communications must be relevant to the prospect where they are along the journey. A phone call after downloading a white paper can be seen as desperate, whereas an invitation to a webinar would be seen as instructive. Test programs and develop insights with your data that enable you to create “communication maps” – a series of useful, informative tools, such as white papers, webinars and research reports that guide prospects to conversion.
Why do all this? I’ll leave you with one last study.
In study from Aberdeen Group, “Lead Nurturing: The Secret to Successful Lead Generation,” the “best in class” companies profiled were twice as likely to have lead nurturing programs in place. Those companies enjoyed higher revenues, better campaign response rates, lead qualification rates and average order sizes that were 47 percent larger than non-nurtured leads.
Simply put, if you aren’t making nurturing a natural part of your lead gen process, you may be throwing potential customers out the window too soon – and leaving revenue on the table.
Learn more about the power of lead nurturing from our recent webinar, Lead Nurturing: A Multi-Touch Journey, featuring B2B marketing expert Ruth P. Stevens.