Lead nurturing – questions answered


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You have probably heard a lot about lead nurturing and its related techniques. Marketing discussions are abuzz with lead nurturing processes, best practices and its advantages. But, the components of lead nurturing are as varied as the concept itself. This articleprovides introduces you to the basic concepts of lead nurturing and provides insights into the lead nurturing process so that you can create a unique lead nurturing process that suits you and your company the best.

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Lead nurturing – questions answered

  2. 2. Executive SummaryYou have probably heard a lot about lead nurturing and its related techniques. Marketingdiscussions are abuzz with lead nurturing processes, best practices and its advantages. But, thecomponents of lead nurturing are as varied as the concept itself. This whitepaper providesintroduces you to the basic concepts of lead nurturing and provides insights into the leadnurturing process so that you can create a unique lead nurturing process that suits you and yourcompany the best.What is lead nurturing?Educate, Converge, Convert…Lead nurturing is the process of educating your leads, gradually nudging them towards yourcompany as they are about to make a purchase decision and finally, pass on the lead to your salesteam for conversion.Does your company need lead nurturing?The answer is yes.Every year your company spends a sizable amount on demand generation efforts. These includee-mail campaigns, promotions, tradeshows and so on. But, have you noticed what happens to theleads that flow-into your database as a result of these activities? In most companies, these leadsare passed on to sales, 80% of which are often dropped by sales for being unqualified. In reality,the dropped leads are just not ready to buy yet, but most of them do eventually make a purchase.Lead nurturing will help your company convert a majority of those 80% leads into sales.How does lead nurturing help?Simple…it puts you on the same side as your lead.The traditional marketing model discussed above focuses on demand generation. Marketing 2.0is all about interaction. B2B buyers are gathering information about sellers and the optionsavailable to them, through various means such as the web searches, peer review, social media,internet research etc. However, these buyers don’t wish to be contacted by the seller until theyare in the last few stages of the sales cycle. In such scenario, how do you make your presence feltwithout being obtrusive? This is where lead nurturing helps. Engaging in lead nurturing isdifferent from engaging in a demand generation campaign, as the former allows you to becomean ally of the prospect by handholding them through the learning and decision-making steps thatthey go through before making a purchase. In a B2B environment, where the stakes are highbehind every purchase decision, becoming an ally or a trusted partner increases your chances ofclosing a deal.
  3. 3. Is there a specific lead nurturing formula that you can follow?The answer is no.While lead nurturing best practices have been established, new lead nurturing techniques arecreated every day. As the term denotes, lead nurturing is all about the leads—the prospects. So,the process of nurturing leads is as unique as the leads themselves. What works for one set ofleads may not work for the other. You have to study your business, its prospects, operatingenvironment and then pick the lead nurturing processes that work best for your company. In fact,some companies have more than one lead nurturing program in place, depending upon its targetaudience.What are the main components of a lead nurturing process?Marketing-Sales alignment, competent lead scoring model, automationLead nurturing requires a seamless integration between the marketing and sales processes of anorganization. Every demand generation campaign, all the marketing and sales collateral, everyinteraction that the marketing team has with the prospect must be in conjunction with the salesteam’s objectives. Marketing must groom the leads even if they are not ready to buy, educatethem about the company’s offerings and just when the leads are about to make a purchasedecision, transfer them to sales for further follow-up. However, this transition should be sosmooth and glitch-free that the prospects don’t have the slightest clue that they were interactingwith two separate departments in the company. Any jerk as a cause of misalignment betweenmarketing and sales can cause the company to fall off the prospect’s list of preferred vendors.Not all leads develop equal interest in your offering. That is why lead scoring becomesimportant. Lead scoring is a key element of the lead nurturing process, which allows you tocategorize your leads according to their engagement levels. Most lead scoring models havemultiple dimensions to them. For example they should be able to gauge prospect’s interest levelsbased on various elements such as prospect attributes, behavior, Prospect Company attributesetc. Like in the case of lead nurturing, there’s no single lead scoring model that can be adoptedby all. The lead scoring model would change depending on numerous factors such as industry,business environment, prospect segments, company size etc, thus demanding custom leadscoring models. To develop a powerful lead scoring model, marketing and sales have to work intandem and define who would be the ideal prospect for the company. The next step would be toassign scores to each of those attributes which will finally add up to generate the prospect score.Most companies have lead-scoring models in place, but the challenge is to keep them updated atall times. It is recommended that you review your company lead scoring model from time to timein light of changing business environment. For example; suppose Massey motors, a companymanufacturing small segment cars, ventures into manufacturing SUVs. Massey’s lead scoringmodel would have to be updated with respect to the new prospect segment for SUVs. Constantreview and update of the company’s lead scoring model is a great way to set up a reliable leadscoring model to base the organization’s lead nurturing efforts upon.As an indispensible part of the lead nurturing process automation not only integrates marketingand sales and but also plays a key role in the success of your company’s lead scoring model.
  4. 4. Automation bridges the gaps between your marketing and sales processes, thus minimizingchances of lead leakage. It also helps you connect the lead scoring process with your company’slead nurturing programs, thus allowing you to design and implement elaborate lead nurturingcampaigns that are customized to the preferences of your target segments. Automation can helpyour company map its content to appropriate prospect profiles, thus enabling you to provide theprospect with relevant content, which is the base of any lead nurturing campaign.What are the characteristics of a successful lead nurturing campaign?Value adding, interesting & dynamicBuyers today look to educate themselves before making a purchase decision. They will welcomeany communication from you, which adds value to their quest for information. At the same time,today’s B2B buyers are wary of blatant marketing messages and overzealous salespersons. So,the aim is to ensure that your lead nurturing materials are actually informative and value adding,and not just poorly concealed marketing promotions.The success of a lead nurturing campaign depends on its ability to hold the audiences’ attention.Touch upon areas that are of concern to them and personalize your communication with theaudience. Personalization has to be at various levels to be effective. These include industry levelpersonalization, demographics based personalization, prospect behavior based personalizationand personalization based on prospect attributes or company attributes.Lead nurturing campaigns have to be dynamic in order to be effective. That means as yourprospect moves along the sales cycle, the lead nurturing program should also changeaccordingly. For example, if a prospect’s behavior indicates that they are very close to makingthe purchase, then, such prospect should be smoothly handed over to sales and need not gothrough the entire lead nurturing process. Similarly, some prospects may have to be transferredfrom one lead nurturing program to another depending on their behavior. Automating the leadnurturing process will allow you to set triggers and events based on which such transitions cantake place automatically. Lead nurturing provides your company with the opportunity to tap leads that are otherwise wasted Lead nurturing helps you cut costs that are associated with acquiring a new customer Effective lead nurturing campaigns are informative, value adding and dynamic Marketing-Sales alignment and a competent lead scoring model are essentials of a successful lead nurturing campaign Automation helps simplify and lend efficiency to the lead nurturing process by allowing for event based triggers and personalization
  5. 5. For the past 14 years, MindMatrix has been aligning sales and marketingfunctions for over 20,000 sales and marketing professionals ac ross 200companies, from diverse verticals through its innovative sales andmarketing software and solutions.Unique to the industry, MindMatrix offers Next Generation MarketingAutomation software on a single unified platform for Sales and Marketing.Our solutions bring about a seamless integration of the 2 functions helpingour clients derive the maximum benefit from their investment in marketin gand sales automation.Contact me today to know more about how MindMatrix solutions can helpyou align your marketing and sales processes for improved results.