In yesterday’s webinar “Turn Visitors into Customers with Advanced Lead Generation Analytics“, Chris and I talked about strategies for converting more leads into customers using advanced marketing technology. We gave examples of using A/B testing to improve conversion rates on landing pages for mid-funnel content and tracking a wide variety of visitor interactions with your website to optimize the flow of leads through your sales funnel. Probably the most important new feature of the HubSpot Enterprise software is the ability to respond immediately to certain events that indicate a readiness on the part of the visitor to become a customer. This is what’s being called “behavior driven lead nurturing“.

behavior driven lead nurturing helps convert more leads into customers

The idea of reaching out to “hot leads” by e-mail, SMS or social media is not new. The idea of reaching out to them with an inside sales call is old as the hills. What’s new is automating this process in order to reduce the number of missed opportunities and compressing the overall sales cycle. The new HubSpot software allows you to “tag” just about anything a visitor (or lead) can do, including clicking on links or images, visiting certain pages or filling out forms.

Once you have created these tags, the system literally watches visitor interactions and logs them for you. Then you can set up a variety of triggers based on these events. If someone who has converted on some of your top-funnel offers (a “lead”) returns to your site, clicks on “A”, visits page “B” but fails to complete form “C”, you can automatically send them a message helping them to understand why they should complete the form. In many cases the lead will be both surprised and happy that you are paying attention to their interests and may well be convinced to take the next step. Not everyone will take the bait, but what we’re trying to do is improve conversion rates, and an interactive touch is much better than none at all. It’s not all automation, however. You don’t want to lose prospects by sending them messages at inappropriate times, so creating an intelligent strategy is crucial. Here are my top 3.

  1. Deploy Your Triggers at Key Mid-Funnel Junctures – ideally, you have nurtured your lead from someone solely interested in your content into someone interested in your products or services. A trigger that goes from a white paper or webinar on your offerings to a landing page where they can contact you for a consulation is an obvious choice. Think about the different opportunities a lead might have to become a customer. You’re not constructing road blocks here. You’re giving them some personal assistance.
  2. Design Your Content to Lead Them to Your Triggers – create content that progressively takes your visitors and leads to the next level. You can do this with blog and webinar series for example. Each level introduces new advantages and degrees of sophistication of becomes more tuned to a specific problem or vertical. Watch the leads as they move through this chain, then capture them before they head for the exits.
  3. Humanize Your Response – e-mails and SMS are not human but they are much faster than you or I can respond. Use these electronic touch points in combination with personal calls. Your sales team will be notified when these triggers occur and with whom they are occuring. Add a line to each message telling the lead that a consultant (not a sales person) will be calling them soon. This sets the expectation and presents them with a real opportunity to make contact. Your sales team should be monitoring these incoming opportunities and should be ready to “strike” with a low-pressure, consultive follow-up call.

I hear a lot of arguments about the pros and cons of marketing automation. We humans are really good at some things, but we suck at others. Among other things, we’re terrible at paying attention to or understanding a firehose of information. If you had intelligent “bots” out there in your sales funnel directing traffic and letting you know which leads you should contact right now, how could that be a bad thing? Yes the bots will make mistakes, but if you do this right, there will be a lot more wins than losses. If you can’t get on board with this strategy, ask yourself this, “how well are you doing now at converting leads into customers?”

Thanks for listening.

PS, the slides for our webinar are available now here. The video will be available soon. Please check in early next week to view the webinar in its entirety.

Photo credit: compujeramey