Lead Nurturing is a fundamental must-have for successful inbound marketing. Statistics show that only 56% of B2B organizations verify valid business leads before they are passed to Sales. (MarketingSherpa)
In the sales and marketing world, there are few issues that get more attention than at what point a lead becomes 'sales ready' and therefore be passed on to sales and when a lead should stay with marketing and be nurtured.
Gleanster Research estimates that 50% of leads who are qualified to buy are not ready to purchase immediately. If you call these leads up to try and hurry them along the buying process you will most likely lose them. So what to do with those that are not ready to purchase immediately?
Lead nurturing is all about understanding the nuances of your leads’ needs and providing them with relevant content at the right time. Getting these details right and being more scientific with your lead nurturing will help you to align your sales and marketing teams, make your sales teams happier as they receive better quality leads and improve ROI from your marketing efforts.
Take a look at some common lead nurturing mistakes to avoid:
1. Poor qualification
Passing over the leads directly to sales is not going to help anyone. Sales will end up frustrated as many of those leads will be seen as a waste of time. How do you know when people are ready to buy?
You need to look for clues as to the buyer's behaviour. Review what web pages and documents people have chosen to view download, look at opens and clicks on emails, gauge interest on social media and blogs. Try monitoring patterns of engagement over time to work out what stage of buying cycle they are at. They could be in the early stages however if they are downloading product guides they are further in along in the buying cycle and those at the final stage will be the ones downloading case studies, ROI examples or pricing information.
2. Lack of segmentation
This is easily the most common mistake marketers new to lead nurturing make: they create one campaign of emails and send the same thing to every lead who fills out a form. It is an absolutely crucial (yet commonly missed) step to segment your campaigns based on lead intelligence gathered. Make sure you always tailor your emails to match the interests of the individual lead. If all of your offers filter into the same nurturing campaign, it will be obvious by how generic the email is to your leads.
3. Too much too soon
Don't get carried away. Remember that a lead’s first conversion indicates a certain level of interest in your offer and products, but he/she won’t be ready to "marry" you just yet. If leads are hearing from you too promptly and too often, it will definitely be a turn-off.
4. Poor content planning
Remember your content is not just a resource for attracting people to your website, it is a very valuable tool for educating and nurturing prospects until they are sales ready.
Ensure you have the right types of content for every stage of the buying process. Send out emails to leads who are engaging with awareness stage content, recommending other resources that might be helpful, as well as content which represents the next stage in the buying process.
Share your best blog articles with your leads to nurture them along and get them to re-visit your website. It will also re-expose them to any calls-to-action on your blog.
5. Poor communication with the sales team
Marketing automation tools like HubSpot can help you to develop automated workflows to assign leads, send out emails and allow you to personalise content depending on where your contacts are in the buying process. This makes many complex lead management tasks that would be impossible to do manually, possible.
Sales should to be kept informed as to want to what content their leads received -- and when -- so they can have an informed conversation about the material and be fully aware of what their lead already knows. Salespeople hate being surprised by these kinds of things (and rightfully so!). Using automated marketing tools that integrate with CRM systems such as Salesforce vastly helps this situation.
Equally sales should be communicating back to marketing - what content is needed for further nurturing, which leads should really be nurtured by marketing as opposed to sales? What content is missing? What do buyers really want to read about?
Need help with lead nurturing? Want to understand best practice and how to use Content Marketing to successfully nurture leads until they are sales ready? Talk to us about we could:
- help you define your content marketing strategy
- set out a content marketing plan for successful lead nurturing
- help your teams improve sales and marketing alignment
- discover whether HubSpot could help your business improve lead nurturing and pipeline velocity
Already use HubSpot? Intellegentia can help you define and implement your lead nurturing strategy in HubSpot. We can help you to do this via our consultancy and implementation services or our small group HubSpot user training classes that operate throughout the UK.
Either way - call us on 01789 262656 to find out more.