I’m Anne, and I’m a marketingaholic.

Room chants back: Hi Anne.

Now that I got that confession out of the way, let’s admit it: Lead nurturing is not easy. Anyone who says it is isn’t telling the truth. Nurturing practices vary by company, industry, and buyer persona. You’ve seen the topic in countless blog posts, webinars, white papers – you name it. So, how do companies nurture leads successfully?

That’s where agencies come in. I know, I know, you’re probably striking up images of a questionable salesman trying to sell an elusive product or service. But not all agencies are created equal. Not to mention, most companies are afraid to even admit they might need an agency for lead nurturing. But numbers don’t lie. In a recent blog post from Marketo they back up the notion of using an agency, pointing out how agencies significantly shorten the time for success and improve overall results.

In light of industry shy-ness towards agencies, we at Marketstar are starting an agency coping group called “Agencies Anonymous.” Our goal is to provide you with steps to help you recover (and uncover) a strategy for lead nurturing that actually works and get over the reluctance of using an agency for lead nurturing. We’ve gleaned insight from the famous 12-Step program and have adopted the following 6-Step Program to coping with your lead nurturing failures.

Step 1: The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

Lead nurturing and management isn’t only a marketing automation tool that you have implemented. Marketing Leadership Council says a tool is only 20% of a successful lead nurturing plan. To be truly successful, companies must have a seamless integration between people, processes, and the tool itself. Do you have the right people? What about your processes and proven methods?

Step 2: Experiences beyond our own can restore you to sanity.

Agencies do exactly this. We put your lead nurturing into our experts hands and get results faster and cheaper than the expensive time it takes for you to learn lead nurturing and hire an internal team to manage it. Agencies are quickly becoming experts at lead nurturing, so let us help you optimize. Sanity restored.

Step 3: An agency’s care of your lead nurturing might not be such a bad idea.

Like I said earlier, lead nurturing is not easy, and it’s OK to admit that. Many agencies have invested the time to learn marketing automation and make it sing for plenty of clients. The agency you choose should instill a sense of sanity to your marketing efforts. There are plenty of maddening mistakes that come with learning a new process. We have already conquered spots where most beginners stumble and have experience navigating the tricky process of passing off leads between marketing and sales.

Step 4: Take a brutally honest inventory of your current nurturing plan.

Get out a pen and a piece of paper, shut your office door, and ask yourself these questions: How many sales-ready leads are you producing? What’s your sales team doing with them? Can you trace bottom line right back to your nurturing? What do you have to show your boss?

Step 5: Admit potential for growth to yourself, your team, and your superiors.

It’s okay to learn from the past. This is part of the buy-in process for your superiors. If you can prove an outsourced lead nurturing solution will yield more results than throwing leads into a database black hole, you’ll be eventually applauded for your marketing team tangibly contributing to the bottom line. Agencies are there to fill in the gaps of your team, without replacing it. A graphics and printing agency is better at making a billboard, that’s why the task generally gets outsourced to them.

Step 6: We’re finally ready to fix our mistakes and move forward.

Here’s where you pick your agency. With buy-in, and confidence that the agency you pick will provide results, you’re ready to graduate. Congratulations. We hope you find success and prosperity in your agency’s outsourced lead nurturing team.

Selecting an agency.

Now that you have the 6 steps to overcoming your fear of lead nurturing and are ready to partner with an agency, it’s time to pick the right one. Here are 5 qualities or features your agency must have:

  • Reputable, extensive client list
  • Marketing automation certification – even better if they’re a partner to the marketing automation platform you use
  • Proven results on projects
  • Transparent reporting capabilities
  • Stellar team of marketing strategist, tool administrators, writers, programmers, and designers

Good luck in your search and may you have lead nurturing success in the future!

Apply now to the Marketo Agency Program.

To learn more about Marketo’s agency offerings, register for our upcoming webinar with Peter O’Neill of Forrester to learn more about your agency can create new opportunities. Download the white paper Technology and the Evolution of the Marketing Agency.