The importance of lead nurturing can’t be overstated. According to Forrester Research, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales leads, at 33% lower cost.
Lead nurturing benefits your sales and Revenue Marketing™ efforts by leveraging content to build relationships with qualified prospects and accelerate their journey through the buy cycle.
Best practices learned from my experience at The Pedowitz Group have led to my 10 Commandments for Lead Nurturing Success:
- Freshen up old content – You have a lot more content than you think. The most efficient way to get started with lead nurturing is to think about how you can freshen up old content (emails, blogs, articles, and sales presentations) and turn it into educational assets for use in demand generation campaigns.
- Work closely with the sales team – Lead nurturing simply won’t work without an agreed upon understanding of goals, timelines, and processes between sales and marketing. Sit down to discuss and define the definition of a “sales ready” lead. A best practice is to create service level agreements (SLAs) with sales defining a sales-ready lead, lead routing, timeframe for follow up, and consequences when the process is broken.
- Create compelling content - Be sure to keep all prospect communication brief, relevant and unique. Include industry news, educational resources, and helpful tips to show your thought leadership. If your content isn’t compelling, targeted, and delivered at the right time, you’re likely to be overlooked when buying decisions are made.
- Map content to buy cycle – Not all content is created equal. Not all leads have the same needs. Therefore, you need to map your content to the prospect buy cycle. As potential customers interact with your campaigns, the content needs to drive them towards an action.
- Don’t underestimate subject lines – A great subject line can make all the difference!. The more people who open your emails, the more chance you have to influence your prospects. Think about how A/B testing can help determine the best subject lines. Think about how to optimize subject lines to increase email deliverability. All are important factors in lead nurturing.
- QA, QA, QA – This is the part of lead nurturing, and campaign management in general, that is most often neglected. If you don’t do anything else, please be sure to establish a QA process for all outbound communications. Make sure you check the grammar, logical flow, and appearance of your content. Make sure you’re sending to the right people. If you’ve using Marketing Automation, make sure you’ve set up your tokens custom tags, and the right steps for your program statuses.
- Establish lead scoring – It’s surprising to hear that 79% of B2B marketers have not established lead scoring (Source: MarketingSherpa). Lead scoring is vital to sending better-qualified leads to sales. Start by working with sales to develop a common scoring system. Decide which interactions and demographic information should be scored, and how much each is worth. Be flexible, as your scoring criteria may change over time.
- Follow data management best practices - Without clean data, you’re doomed from day one. Too many marketers ignore this aspect of lead nurturing. Take the time to clean up your data. As a result, both marketing and sales will spend less time researching lead information and more time engaging and qualifying new leads.
- Report the correct metrics – Take a keen interest in measures that show lead nurturing’s contribution to the sales pipeline and revenue. Track the number of qualified leads marketing sent to sales. Measure conversion rates along the buy cycle. Gauge whether there is an increase or decrease in deal size, sales cycle, and campaign return on investment. What you track will change as your Revenue Marketing practice matures, so focus only on those key metrics and trends that help drive your business in a meaningful way.
- Re-nurture leads – Not every lead is ready to buy after the initial phone call. To avoid lead leakage, be sure to re-nurture leads that don’t convert right away. Create an agreement with sales and make it easy to re-route leads back into a nurture program.
Contact The Pedowitz Group to learn how to effectively create successful Revenue Marketing lead management programs that attract new leads, drive prospects through the buy cycle and improve conversion rates.
Blog Post Written By: Toyin Adon-Abel Jr.
Toyin is Marketing Operations Manager at The Pedowitz Group. As a certified Revenue Marketer and Marketo Expert, Toyin is passionate about generating positive outcomes from Marketing programs.