Key to designing an effective lead nurturing program is taking stock of your current lead management process. By asking the right questions, you’ll not only uncover additional opportunities for improvement, but the information will play a key role in defining critical issues of workflow – for example: segmentation, frequency, and offer strategy.
Note: it’s critically important that representatives from your sales organization have a seat at the table for this initial discovery process – not just management, but the people “in the trenches” who qualify, respond to, and follow up with sales leads. Giving sales a voice in the process will help ensure that, as an organization, they feel they have a stake in the new lead management program and won’t feel it’s being foisted upon them by marketing. Furthermore, an inside sales representative can offer real world perspective on lead quality, sales cycles, common objections, audience segmentation, even content strategy – that marketers often lack when they work at arm’s length from the sales process.
Here are the top 5 questions to ask about your current lead management process:
1. How many leads do you generate each month and what is the source of those leads?
Understanding the scale and source of leads will help determine the scale of your lead nurturing program, and to what extent you need to tailor your approach to different sources. For example, it’s likely that trade show leads require a different response and follow-up than do say, referrals from partners.
2. What is the range of products in which a prospective customer could express interest?
Some companies market very homogenous product lines; others market products that cover a wide swath of functionality, business needs, and markets. The diversity of your product line, and the extent to which sales leads are responding based on very different sets of business needs, will play a large role in determining the number of tracks in your program, as well as messaging and offer strategy.
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3. What are the key, distinct audience groups that comprise inbound leads?
How different are leads from one another in terms of functional role, industry, company size? To what extent do those groups require a different message, or have different needs, or need to be directed to different products? Do you generate leads from both end users and resellers? From both domestic and international prospects? The higher number of distinct groups, the more likely you need separate email tracks in order for your campaigns to be as relevant and effective as possible.
4. Describe the life of a lead. How are leads responded to, distributed, and managed today? How often does a sales lead hear from your company over time?
This is one area where getting the perspective of the sales force is particularly critical. Gaining a first-hand account of how promptly leads are responded to, how lead follow-up is prioritized and based on what criteria, can help steer your lead nurturing program in a direction where it’s likely to have the most impact and the greatest ROI. When taking stock of ongoing communication, don’t just consider formal marketing programs; determine how often sales reaches out, though phone or email, to those same prospects.
5. What is the typical perception of your company or products and how would you want the lead nurturing initiative to change that perception?
The road to a successful sale is paved with different obstacles depending on who you sell for. For a start-up company, it might mean convincing the prospect that the company has the credibility and stability to merit the investment. For a more mature company, it might mean convincing the prospect that a premium price will actually increase ROI. For a company in a nascent product category, it could mean simply convincing the prospect that he/she has the problem in the first place. Knowing the objections that impede sales will help you craft a lead nurturing program that successfully addresses those concerns first-hand.
Adapted from the white paper: “Top 10 Tips for Lead Nurturing Success (How to get the most from your lead nurturing program, and how to plan for success if you’re just getting started)”. To download a free copy, click here.