Whether at sports day, cross country at school, or running after work, most of us can relate to the pain, sweat, and tears experienced at this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon (if you ran, please accept a virtual slap on the back from me). Yet all the while we are acutely aware that after crossing the finish line, and for quite some time after, the contestants are some of the happiest and proudest people on earth – months of training and preparation have been converted to an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment and success.
For us marketers, our marathon is lead nurturing. Let’s be honest: there are times when it can seem like a bit of a slog, especially during the initial period. Yet, for those who power through the wall, crossing the finish line and achieving that big sale will be well worth the effort.
So why should we bother with the marathon when we could sprint instead?
Organisations that use lead nurturing properly can generate 50% more sale-ready leads for 33% less cost - Forrester Research
Well, in an ideal world every prospect who visits your website would be ready to make a purchase. The reality though, is that the vast majority of B2B purchase decisions are made by committee. Therefore, the first visitor from that potential customer organisation is most likely to be gathering information for research purposes.
Lead nurturing might seem like a drawn-out process but it will result in higher quality leads. Sales staff will convert at a higher percentage, the average order value will be greater, and customers are more relevant, meaning you can retain their business for longer. Ultimately, your customer acquisition costs will be significantly reduced, while the order value increases.
The purchase journey is now a long-distance discipline
As the B2B purchase journey changes – research indicates that a prospect is almost 60% of the way to completing their purchase before they contact a sales rep – it is becoming increasingly important for companies to nurture leads over time, rather than cold call them at the earliest opportunity.
People are more open to being marketed too than ever before. But only if the marketing is relevant and useful to them. This requires you to provide enough information to convince them and other decision-makers that your solution can help their business realise its goals.
The issue for most companies that attempt this tactic is that they waste a lot of educational material. While their prospects might read an ebook or infographic, ingest the information and consider it useful, it is often forgotten about because no attempt to nurture them with follow-ups is made.
To prevent this from happening, it’s important to have a lead nurturing strategy in place.
Running the lead nurturing marathon
Your lead nurturing strategy will be unique to your company. Ultimately, the aim is to keep reminding prospects that your solution can solve an issue for them over time. Use a series of content and distribute it via email to decision-makers who you know are interested in your offering (they have downloaded some literature or visited product pages).
How a prospect reacts to each touch (opening an email, downloading content, ignoring email etc.) should determine the next direction you take them in the process – known as workflows.
With so many different possible outcomes, it’s important to use marketing automation software. A good system will automate the process as you have instructed it to, freeing you to focus on other lead generation strategies for your company.
With lead nurturing, you can actively build new relationships with these prospective customers and keep your company fresh in their mind (while showing thought leadership and industry insight).
The result? When your visitors are ready to buy, you’ll be their first port of call.
So, if you’re ready to get your lead nurturing marathon up and running, download our free guide: B2B lead nurturing – how and why.
Ready, set… go!