Only about 25% of the leads that marketing hands over to sales qualify as immediate sales opportunities. The remaining 75% of leads are time wasters in the eyes of sales. These leads need more convincing before they are ready to take a demo. But a large chunk of them will eventually convert if you keep in touch with them and educate them. This is the need that lead nurturing fulfils.
While lead nurturing is a hot topic and marketing departments are scrambling to get on top of it; it is not all hype. Lead nurturing has been shown to affect the bottom line. Companies with marketing departments that excel at it have seen 9% more sales reps making quota, says CSOInsights.
Let’s say you have subscribed to lead nurturing, how do you up your game and stay ahead of competition?
Collaborate With Sales
Marketing works with a theoretical definition of a qualified lead, pulls out leads from the funnel based on those criteria, and adds them to a nurture program. But often this theoretical definition of a qualified lead is much different from what a real qualified lead looks like. Marketers should tap into sales to better understand who makes an ideal lead. This process without sales' input is mostly speculation. In the face of this inconsistency, reps should definitely have a say whenever marketing sets up nurture campaigns.
Also, enable sales to add leads to nurture programs. With both sales and marketing prospecting for leads, sales will ever so often come across leads that are not yet ready to buy. Build in a process whereby, such leads are not lost, allowing sales to put leads into nurture programs.
Ask sales who they would like to nurture. Perhaps you could make customer contract renewals smoother with a track dedicated to customers. Maybe there is a new vertical that sales is chasing which you could target with a specific track that offers specialized content suited to that vertical. Working with sales to build lead nurturing programs can help them become more focused and effective in delivering truly qualified leads that sales can work.
Embrace Multi-Channel Engagement
No longer do people just read email. Today they read email, search the web, visit websites, read blog posts, tweet, share, and then reply to an email all in the space of minutes. This is not information overload; humans do all this quite naturally and by choice. The human brain is built to process and take in the plethora of mediums that offer a variety of information, entertainment, and offers. Customers are not overwhelmed; rather they like it and demand it. So don’t underwhelm your prospects by just sending them plain vanilla email. Besides, who said lead nurturing is all automated and done only through email?
Mix it up a bit. Throw in a phone call, engage on social, interact with your prospect on chat; suffice to say, engage with prospects on the mediums of their choice to embrace multi-channel engagement wholeheartedly. This will not only broaden your conversation with your prospects but also help push them faster through the buying process.
So the next time a prospect has downloaded some interesting resources and visited your pricing page, you might be wise to give them a call and ask if they would like to take a demo before the competition does.
Build a Treasure Chest With Progressive Profiling
How many times have you deserted a webpage upon seeing a long form? Form fatigue combined with a wariness to part with personal information keep people from filling up long forms online. Form length is directly proportional to the abandon rate. It might be a wiser option to steer clear of inundating your prospects with questions and take to progressive profiling instead.
Ask your prospects a couple of qualifying questions alongside every offer instead of all at once. As your lead progresses down the funnel, you will build up a veritable treasure chest of lead intelligence on them. Your marketing automation solution can help consolidate all this lead intelligence in a single portal and give your marketing and sales teams a unified view of all leads.
Don’t ask leads what your marketing automation system can tell you, such as company name and address. Instead ask them more nuanced qualifying questions like, “Are you currently evaluating a specific product?” or “Do you have budget for product X this quarter?” With answers to such qualifying questions you will be able to gather massive lead intelligence, progress leads faster through your funnel, and help sales close deals faster.