Studies have shown that 70 percent of new business can come from long term leads.
To have a high rate of success at converting long term leads, companies must be able to optimize these five important lead nurturing processes.
1. Align marketing and sales teams
Lead nurturing requires buy-in from both your sales and marketing teams. You must come to agreement on your lead nurturing processes, including:
- What type of leads are sales-ready and what type belong in marketing’s lead nurturing programs?
- Who is responsible for responding to and routing leads? This can be an individual or a cross-functional team.
- Who is responsible for updating and tracking leads through the marketing and sales process?
- What tools and/or software will be used to manage leads?
2. Segment and score leads
Segmenting and scoring leads allows you to provide prospects with relevant information that will help them through their buy cycle.
- Develop a lead scoring system based on prospect demographics, industry, buying time frame, product interest, digital behavior or other attributes. The relevant attributes are different for every company, so choose what works for you.
- Apply weights to different lead attributes to come up with a lead score.
- Determine what to do with a lead based on their score. Example: low-scoring leads stay with marketing while higher-scoring leads are ready for the sales team.
- Your prospect’s digital behavior should count toward their lead score. Example: if they are actively downloading content or otherwise engaging with your company, their score goes up.
3. Execute disciplined campaigns
Long term leads require long term attention to ensure your company stays top of mind.
- Develop measurable goals for your lead nurturing campaigns. This could be number of qualified leads passed to sales, new business closed, duration of sales cycle, or other objectives.
- For each segment of leads, plan a campaign that offers your prospects value, as opposed to sales pitches. Start by sending educational content such as white papers, webinars, articles and videos. Move on to demos, product overviews, and technical specs. Bring them closer to a buying decision with ROI calculators, pricing quotes and special offers.
- Develop a schedule for when and how often you reach out to prospects. Define the entire campaign in advance, so you will know how to phase your content and messaging.
- Establish response rules for your campaign. Example: if a prospect downloads a white paper and attends a webinar, their score goes up, or they get a follow-up call, or they are considered sales-ready. Or if a prospect watches a certain video, you send them a topic-specific article. It’s up to you and your sales team to define the rules of the campaign.
4. Measure and improve
When you establish goals, create offers, and define campaign rules, you can track what does and doesn’t work in a lead nurturing program.
- Eliminate content that doesn’t perform well.
- Leverage successful content by creating similar offers and re-purposing valuable content into other formats, such as a white paper to a webinar, or an infographic to a video.
- Follow-up with those responsible for tracking leads throughout the campaign to make sure none have fallen through the cracks. Fix any processes that are flawed.
5. Use marketing automation
While it’s possible to develop and execute a lead nurturing program using only spreadsheets or manual processes, marketing automation is becoming a common tool and an investment in a system might make economic sense.
- Marketing automation can track your prospect’s digital behavior across websites, social media, blogs and more, helping you improve segmentation, scoring and response.
- Use marketing automation to score leads, create landing pages, track prospect actions, trigger automatic emails and report on the effectiveness of your campaigns.
- Marketing automation vastly improves your ability to report on the effectiveness of various content, can produce analytics and sophisticated reports, and much more.
The IEEE GlobalSpec Tool Kit “The Industrial Marketer’s Guide to Lead Nurturing” has other recommended best practices along with tips for following up on inquiries and creating successful lead nurturing campaigns. Click here to download your complimentary copy.