Lead generation and lead nurturing both perform critical functions in sales strategy. Where lead generation identifies potential customers or clients for your products and services, lead nurturing is a process of guiding prospects through each stage of the buyer’s journey in order to ultimately earn the sale.
Effectively, it means developing a solid relationship with prospects through engagement and focusing on their needs in order to drive conversions. But how can we nurture prospects to convert qualified leads to ultimate sales? We look at some best practices for successful lead nurturing in today’s business environment.
Set specific campaign goals
At the outset, any lead nurturing plan should incorporate clear, set goals, the purpose of which are to guide you towards what you intend to achieve from any specific campaign.
Your goals can vary according to what you are setting out to achieve and how you the metrics you adopt to measure success. So, for example, one goal could be to regain lead interest if they have taken a turn off the road. Whilst another could be in the form of encouraging them to move down the sales funnel – getting them on to the next stage of the lifecycle.
These objectives can be integrated into a marketing automation platform whereby you can create and analyse campaigns.
Sales and marketing alignment
Aligning both the sales and marketing teams is vital to ensure a respectable conversion ratio. It means that both teams have to decide and agree on the definition of a lead and when it converts. By meeting regularly, they can discuss and analyse lead generation and conversion metrics. Both sales and marketing can concur with respect to lead scoring and assigning points.
Sales people are better qualified to provide information with respect to content as they are in direct communication with potential clients and are aware of potential buyers’ questions and queries, the answers to which help create relevant content.
Segment your leads
Nurturing and providing value to your leads requires a segmented approach as different sets of people need relevant and targeted content based on certain criteria or characteristics. These might include common demographics, company type (e.g. bank, insurance company, independent mortgage provider etc), buyer personas or stage in the lifecycle. Everyone has different needs; by drilling down your prospects with customised content, you demonstrate your understanding of their position in the buyer’s journey and better able to engage them.
Is about delivering the right content at the right time. In which case, you need to understand unique buyer personas. Otherwise how will you know what is relevant to your prospects?
Content should be developed according to each stage of a buyer’s journey, as they move from awareness onto consideration and finally decision-making.
Sharing useful information in order to educate value of your products and services could comprise of infographics, blogs, videos, white papers etc. A range can be used in this way as people respond differently to different mediums.
Personalisation is seen an effective lead nurturing technique. By incorporating the recipient’s name and message based on their recent website activity and engagement (page visits, downloads or clicks on links within emails) in the form of a triggered email, you are assured that the right message is going to the right person at the right time. The recipient feels that there is a rapport developing and they feel important.
Regular emails – stay connected
Email is the simplest and most effective way to deliver your message to potential clients providing you have their consent under GDPR. Email marketing of this nature would include targeted product-specific communications initially, as well as event invites that your company is involved in to encourage attendance, for example, webinars and conferences and also personal emails which give the lead individual, special attention.
Lead scoring / classification
A system of lead scoring can help salespeople convert leads and generate revenue from lead nurturing. By assigning scores in a way of ranking prospects, you are attaching corresponding value. The value we mean would relate to prospects’ behaviour – online engagement and interaction and would eventually play a deciding role in the prospects worth following up.
Lead generation is not the be-all and end-all. Sales don’t just come out of thin air; there is more effort involved in acquiring sales from leads. Leads can only be converted into customers successfully through nurturing. Adopting a clear and logical step-by-step strategy can guide your leads through their customer journey giving your business greater influence over the competition.
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