Lead NurturingIn an age where consumers receive 5,000 marketing messages a day, your prospects don’t want irrelevant emails. They want, as Seth Godin puts it, “me-mail.” If you provide highly targeted messages to leads making their way through your sales funnel, they’ll be a lot more likely to listen to what you have to say, and may ultimately purchase. The benefits of segmenting your email list are clear. Studies have found that list segmentation can improve open rates 39 percent and lower opt-outs by 28 percent. When more segments are combined with an already sophisticated lead-nurturing program, your enterprise will be virtually unstoppable. Consider the following statistics:

    • Only 22 percent of companies are currently lead nurturing (source:Gleanster)
    • Only 24 percent of top-performing companies using marketing automation are actively scoring leads (source: Gleanster)
  • Nurtured leads make 47 percent higher purchases than non-nurtured leads (source:The Annuitas Group)

There are many benefits of a mature lead nurturing program. While many companies still haven’t implemented lead nurturing in the first place, the world’s sharpest enterprise marketers are taking full advantage of their marketing automation solutions to further personalize their campaigns. If you know the difference between TOFU and BOFU and your company’s sales funnel like the back of your hand, here are a few more concepts to consider:

Lead Triage

Marketing automation makes following up with your leads easy, right? Considering 15 percent of marketers still rely on untargeted email blasts, it’s a step in the right direction. However, some companies take this targeting a step further and assign their leads to different segments based on a process known as “lead triage.” The term is inspired by emergency rooms, where priority is assigned to patient care based on an individual’s relative need.

A recent case study revealed DocuSign was able to successfully improve its management of the 65,000 leads its platform generates each quarter by improving its triage process. By creating a library of all content resources and capturing more “firmographic insights” on company size and number of employees via landing page forms, leads were triaged into one of 35 possible lead nurturing tracks. As a result, the brand tripled its revenue pipeline within two quarters due to fewer wasted leads.

Accelerator Campaigns

As you get to know your leads better, you may realize they’re not in the optimal track. Accelerator campaigns move your most interested leads toward the bottom of the funnel (BOFU) based on “triggers” from certain behaviors. Advanced marketers are able to scale the concept of individualized attention to contacts and switch their tracks accordingly.

The following behaviors can act as triggers for moving leads into an accelerated campaign:

  • Website visits, particularly when leads view pages on pricing or onboarding
  • Downloading bottom-of-the-funnel content offers
  • High email opens and click-throughs
  • Stagnant scores—highly qualified leads whose scores stagnate could benefit from a different approach

Accelerator campaigns can quickly become complex. Understand the trigger behaviors your customers most-often display in the middle-of-the-sales funnel (MOFU) stage from closed loop analytics analysis and develop workflows to ensure your hottest leads aren’t intercepted by a competitor.

Deep Nurturing

Every company has passionate leads whose excitement just seems to fizzle. Re-engaging leads who met critical lead scoring criteria but failed to purchase is known as “deep nurturing.” While the length of time required for a given lead to be disengaged varies according to the length of an organization’s sales funnel, developing a standardized measure is key.

Extending your offer for free product trials or sending content that inspires conviction, such as case studies or product comparison tip sheets, can reignite the lost passion in your prospects.

Research has found that 80 percent of sales occur between the fifth and twelfth time a company “touches” a prospect. However, only 12 percent of sales professionals contact their leads more than three times. Advanced lead nurturing tactics can improve your enterprise’s ability to provide value to leads, on their own terms and timeline.

There’s no one-size-fits all solution for lead nurturing tracks among your current contacts, and developing a nimble approach to following each lead through the sales funnel could give you a genuine edge above your competitors. What are your lead nurturing tips? Share in the comment section below!

photo credit: SalFalko