Industrial manufacturers have a long sales cycles due to RFPs, product design, feedback, testing and more. The need to nurture sales leads becomes critical to success due to the length of these sales cycles. How do you stay in front of the prospect during long product sales time? Answer: marketing automation.
Late night infomercials try to sell you on the pitch of “set it and forget it!”. That same concept informs what is called an “advanced nurture program”. With longer sales cycles a nurturing strategy allows for customer engagement over an extended time frame. With marketing automation, you can begin leveraging the engagement engine within systems like Marketo. You can configure nurture programs to stay in front of customers for up to one year in advance! This means that with proper planning and implementation you are guaranteed to stay top-of-mind with your leads as your product comes to market.
This doesn’t mean you should exclude your normal avenues of prospective engagement. Developing a relationship with your leads on a personal level is important and will never be replaced by automation. However, using automation to assist in the dissemination of whitepapers, infographics, sales sheets, etc. is a great way to build value into your current practices.
Here are some examples of an advanced nurture program:
- Product specific: A bi-weekly communication surrounding a product that provides information and helpful resources.
- Time frame: Twice a month for 6 months
- Total pieces of content needed: 12
- Company credibility: A communication that affirms the credibility of a company via communication of certifications, past history, happy clients.
- Time frame: Once a month for 6 months
- Total pieces of content needed 6
- The webinar’s of the past and future: Provide recordings of past webinars and advertise upcoming webinars.
- Time frame: once a month for 12 months
- Total pieces of content: 12
A great feature of this program is the ability to pause and reset as needed. For example, if current communication with the sales team is tense we can request specific users or all users to be paused. If you maintain a consistent schedule your prospect is less likely to be negatively impacted by a single absence.
Work together with your sales team to identify nurture campaigns and when to utilize them to improve your long-term conversation with your customers and prospects.