Lead nurturing can make a huge difference in your lead generation efforts – Here is one example of what lead nurturing can accomplish
Lead nurturing is the catalyst to position companies and sales people. as trusted advisors. With out lead nurturing in place, I have found that long-term leads ( future opportunities), often ignored by salespeople represent 77% of potential sales !
Before you can start lead nurturing, you need to be able to qualify the inquiries/inbound ‘leads’ to make sure you will be nurturing the right people. This was a bit of triage
Who are your best opportunities? [Walk through slide] The goal of the ideal customer profile is to focus on companies with the greatest likelihood of becoming profitable customers. In simple terms this is segmentation. So who are your best opportunities? Your ideal customer profile is gives you a basic framework on when to pursue a potential customer and when to pass. Do your sales people know when they should walk away from a potential opportunity? Who do we serve? What problem do they face? What do we enable them to do? What does that mean to them?
Benefits of ULD: Higher qualified, sales-ready leads Sales force has less frustration Increased sales effectiveness Better funnel management More accurate and consistent ROI metrics The job of marketing is to develop a lead generation system that matches the readiness of the buyer with the expectations of your sales person. I've spoken with hundreds of companies, and less than 10% have a clear and written definition and universally applied definition of what a lead means. Even in small companies, I can ask 3 sales people “what is a lead?” and get 3 different answers about what a good lead means. In interviewing sales people, I have found that most sales people don’t want more leads; what they want is viable and highly qualified sales opportunities who want to speak to them. My point: If we expect sales people to follow-up on our leads and we think of them as our customers, we need to ask them what they want. Ask questions like: What would an ideal sales lead look like? What are the key questions you’d like answered before you meet with someone? What are the characteristics of the ideal sales opportunity? Who should we be contacting? Who’s involved in the buying process? On my blog I explain the basic steps on how to create a universal lead definition. Search for “lead definition.” So they key question is to define the point at which a lead is ready to be handed off to the sales team. Sirius Decisions spoke at recent Eloqua webinar, and they have developed a lead spectrum that is quite helpful to see how leads move from level 1 (inquiries) to level 5 (highly qualified leads). I encourage you to watch that presentation, too. You then must use your your universal lead to qualify all leads, regardless of source, against this standard. Those that are sales ready get passed on to your sales team. Those that aren’t ready yet and meet your ideal customer profile get put into your lead nurturing process to be further cultivated and developed. The ideal customer profile and universal lead definition work together for our 5 th critical success factor, which is an effective lead management process.
SiriusDecisions a Boston area analyst firm created this lead spectrum. I think it’s helpful because it shows how leads develop over time. Our goal was to give level 3 leads or higher to the sales team which means they fit the definition of a qualified company and they they recognize they have a need. We nurtured al level 2s.
This is our web form for inquiries. It is a 2 step form as they tend to lead to higher conversion.
66% of the inquiries we receive fill out this second form.
Automated response when someone fills out the contact us form
This is sent when the revenue, # of sales, marketers, sales size, etc is not filled out.
Although the phone may not be as buzz worthy as other lead nurturing tools, it remains the backbone to a successful lead nurturing process because it adds the all important human touch. It should function as the integrated hub for all other lead generation modalities and the central point for qualifying inquires converting them into sales ready leads. Personal invitations to events – To narrow down for specific invite, take a past attendee list and call specifically to invite them to a webinar, etc that would be relevant to them, while on the phone inviting them – ask to opt in to monthly emails. Respond in a timely matter to inquiries – within 24 hrs or sooner. It is fascinating to see just how versatile––and necessary––the phone is for lead nurturing, with such applications as: Creating a teleprospecting or lead management team, as an internal unit is easier said than done. So it is not surprising that more organizations are now outsourcing their teleprospecting activities to companies like InTouch.
[Walk through slide] Start basic – crawl first, then walk and then run. Let’s talk about who you want to nurture. As part of understanding ideal customer profile, you mapped out the people who are involved in the buying process for your products. So it’s about choosing the right people in the right companies. The economic buyer or decision maker is central. Do you understand you customers buying process? Whom do you want to nurture? How deep do you want to go? What’s right for your company? We have clients that nurture three contacts per company and we have others that may nurture 10 contacts per company. Now you know who you can start to map out and what’s relevant to them.
Your database is the hub for all communication. Don't build biggest list Build most relevant list possible Your ideal customer profile and universal lead definition should drive the fields in your database. Does your database have the fields available to capture those data points? Here’s a basic outline of a database. Right people in the right companies Who actually buys? [go through the slide]
Relevance is a personal thing. It represents a genuine understanding of the customers business situation, needs and desires. That needs to happen early and often, You need to understand that customers world, concerns and business needs. The goal is to make it clear to those in the buying process that you “get them” by being relevant. What’s relevance? It’s time well spent getting to know everything you can about what they do and how they think. Research your customers industry for trends. Are you really conversant with your potential customers world? Do you do the following? What’s likely going on inside the company? What external factors are affecting its business? What’s the good news? How external factors are affecting job roles? What are their anticipated needs and pains? What were the challenges they were facing? What are the common business issues? What initiative or need makes a good fit?
What problems does the prospect need to overcome each day? What is the prospect’s top priority right now? Do I know what the prospect worries about? What messaging do I want to communicate? Now you can begin to organize your content based on what’s meaningful.
Now you create your library. Once we got our library of content assembled and put a process in place to keep it fresh.
Vendors are the least trusted source for information when it comes to b-to-b buying. Though it probably isn’t much of a surprise to learn the materials you are offering to prospects aren’t trusted as much as those from other sources, the situation has probably deteriorated worse than you thought. An additional interesting fact was the poor performance of VARs/partners as a trusted source; they finished second to last to vendors at only 4 percent. We have seen a number of organizations trying to offload additional demand creation efforts onto their partners, believing they have a closer relationship (and thus a better chance to communicate) with their customer base; our data indicates that this can be a very risky strategy depending on the quality of partners you have. When asked to choose which of eight key marketing information sources they trusted the most, only 3 percent of respondents indicated vendors, good for last place. When asked which source they trusted the least, vendors this time finished in the undesirable first spot, garnering 40 percent of responses. Sources that are more trusted include industry analysts (29 percent) was the their top choice Peers (22 percent) and trade publications (16 percent). It is more critical than ever to partner with sources that carry comparatively more credence, especially at the beginning of a buying cycle when you are trying to convince prospects to make a change in behavior that will result in a purchase.
You can use: Technorati watch lists: www.technorati.com
Universally, marketers love to use e-mail marketing for nurturing and cultivating future opportunities with their target audiences. On the other side, I've heard numerous speakers and bloggers declare e-mail marketing dead. That’s simply not true. E-mail is a one-to-one medium, nothing more, nothing less. The development of an effective e-mail program depends on how much you know about your target audience and how well you use that information to tailor a relevant message. The key is message relevance and program execution. Friends Don’t talk with bullet points For example, I get some numerous e-mails from companies that know me (in some cases I'm their customer!) but their e-mails don't show it. Their &quot;creative&quot; and graphics laden e-mail messages don't speak to my concerns at all. So each irrelevant message (my vendors and potential partners) send is basically programming me to delete future messages from them. My point? Be relevant with each e-mail message. Your objective should be to take full advantage of the unique characteristics of e-mail in creating meaningful communication that is at once attention-getting and informative... in a style easily perceived to be directed exclusively to me, the recipient. It should feel like it came from a human being not a mailing list.
Once we got our library of content assembled we then mapped out the tactics to share our content.
This example shows a three track lead nurturing program we assembled for a client. It depends heavily on email and the phone. But we also were able to use some upcoming events and past events too. Kept it simple at first. It was really a process of Crawl, walk and run… We now have 18 Tracks Kept it simple at first. It was really a process of Craw, walk and run…
People develop whether you nurture them or not… needs to stop because you’re ignoring them. They key is to have consistent, meaningful, relevant dialog, regardless of their timing to buy, so when that opportunity comes up they will consider you as that trusted resource. Understand and capture your audience Build your lead nurturing Library Message development Develop your lead nurturing tracks Execute and Measure Results I sincerely hope that you feel you got a good look into what really works with lead nurturing for the complex sale.
Inbound Lead Nurturing (CV201) Professor: Brian Carroll , MECLABS , InTouch
Start with a lead ® Inbound Lead Nurturing Brian Carroll, CEO InTouch and author of Lead Generation for the Complex Sale (McGraw-Hill 2006)
Inbound Nurturing Case Study #1 Before Lead Nurturing Results
Generated more activity, but same result
Marketing felt leads went into a “black hole” – No closed loop
<2% lead-to-sale pipeline conversion rate
Unable to consistently measure ROI
Sales team didn’t pursue majority of leads
Lack of consensus – what is a “lead” anyway?
Closing the loop on every “sales ready” lead
Majority early stage leads actively nurtured - Grew from 0% to 60%
Improved lead-to-sales opportunity rate – Grew from 4% to 12%
200% more opportunities in sales pipeline
Can better measure and prove ROI
Results achieved without significant budget increase
Inbound Nurturing Case Study #2 Before Lead Nurturing Results
No early stage leads actively nurtured
Only one contact engaged per company
2 touch points per contact
40% of contacts provide email addresses
21% lead to opportunity rate (sales pursuit after hand off)
4% lead to sale rate (sales converted from marketing leads
88% of early stage leads actively nurtured (none before)
3+ contacts engaged per company (200% Increase)
8 touch points per contact (300% increase)
89% increase of lead-to-sales pipeline conversion rate
7% Lead to Sales Conversation Rate (75% increase)
Regular marketing pipeline analysis & sales reporting developed -closed loop feedback and conversion rates by stage.
Resource : “How to Precisely Define a "Lead" Before Marketing Begins” http://www.startwithalead.com/article.asp?ARTICLEID=283
Step 2: Your Universal Lead Definition Spectrum for Sales Lead Readiness Source: SiriusDecisions Lead Spectrum 2006 Lead Metrics Study (used with permission) Hand off To Sales
Step 3: Lead Qualification Inquiry Form – First Step
Step 3: Lead Qualification Inquiry Form – Second Step
Step 3: Lead Qualification Inquiry Form – Thank You
Step 3: Lead Qualification Automated Inquiry Email Response Subject: Thank you for contacting InTouch Brooke, We have received your information request. A member of my team will contact you soon. During our normal business hours we will reply to all inquiries during the same day. Until we speak, I encourage you take a look at InTouch's lead generation blog, http://blog.startwithalead.com . This provides an excellent insight into our philosophies regarding lead generation for the complex sale and is a tool we use to share best practices and latest trends in lead generation. Best regards, Brian J. Carroll CEO InTouch, Inc.
Step 3: Lead Qualification Inquiry Email Response Subject: Follow Up on InTouch Services for Brooke Bower Hi Brooke, I received your message about needing more information on our lead nurturing services. You have some specific needs that I want to make sure to address, so I suggest we have a brief chat over the phone. That way, we could have a quick conversation so I can learn more about your situation and address your needs specifically. Until we speak, I encourage you take a look at the award-winning InTouch lead generation blog, http://blog.startwithalead.com . This provides an excellent insight into our philosophies regarding lead generation for the complex sale and the blog is also a tool we use to share information about best practices or latest trends in lead generation. Best Regards, Mark Wicka
Step 3: Lead Qualification Phone – The “Relevant Conversation”
Confirm information on inquiry form
Ask for missing information from form
Get permission to “opt-in” for nurturing
Identify qualified leads
Step 4: Understand and Capture Your Audience Whom Do You Nurture? (Viable) Who’s involved in the buying process? How deep do you want to go?
Step 4: Understand and Capture Your Audience Your Database is the Hub
Gather and filter relevant content based on message map
Third party articles, relevant topics, research reports
Vendor agnostic podcasts, webinars, blogs and case studies to position sales team as a “trusted advisor”
Company specific white papers, success stories, webcasts
Reuse available content before creating new content
Filter third party content for a nurturing “library” using free sources http://www.google.com/alerts
Resource: "Thought leadership for Lead Nurturing" (content strategy) http://blog.startwithalead.com/weblog/2005/06/using_thought_l.html
Step 6: Build Your Lead Nurturing Library Educational Marketing Tools Resource : “ Content Ideas for Lead Nurturing” http://blog.startwithalead.com/weblog/2007/08/content-ideas-1.html
Step 6: Build Your Lead Nurturing Library Google News Alerts for Third Party Content Technorati watch lists ( www.technorati.com ) Google news alerts ( www.google.com/alerts ) Yahoo! news alerts ( http://alerts.yahoo.com )
Step 6: Build Your Lead Nurturing Library Email Template Built on Third Party Content To: (Recipient) From: (Sender) Subject: Article on virtualization for executives Hi Bill, I thought you might find this recent article on virtualization relevant. It provides a strategic overview that is written more for executives. “ FAQ: Detangling virtualization” http://news.com.com/FAQ+Detangling+virtualization/2100-7339_3-6177447.html We've been helping a number of companies decide when exactly to use virtualization and how to avoid the "all my eggs in one basket" concern that this article brings up. Best Regards,
Step 7: Develop Lead Nurturing Tracks Multi-track Lead Nurturing Tip: Crawl, Walk, Run
Step 8: Executing Lead Nurturing Tracking and Managing Your Leads
Thank you Brian Carroll CEO InTouch 651.255.7700 x640 [email_address] Other lead generation resources: www.startwithalead.com www.leadgenerationbook.com http://blog.startwithalead.com http://www.linkedin.com/groupRegistration?gid=1941474