Many leads aren’t sales-ready when you first engage with them, which is where a lead nurturing process can be critical to sales success. You’ve paid for the lead, so the last thing you want to do is let it slip into the abyss, never to be contacted again.
Lead nurturing is important because it can help you generate better leads, lower your customer acquisition costs, and even increase customer lifetime value.
Companies that have successful lead nurturing programs generate 50 percent more sales-ready leads at 33 percent lower cost, according to Forrester Research.
So, how do you create a lead nurturing process that converts? And, if you already have a lead nurturing program mapped out and created, how do you optimize it? A good lead nurturing process should be goals-oriented, focused on a specific audience segment, and aligned with marketing and sales.
Where Leads Go To Die
The easiest way to kill a lead is a poor response time. Studies have shown that contacting leads within 10 minutes vs. five minutes results in an 80 percent decrease in your odds of qualifying that lead. That said, many leads are never contacted and just slip through the cracks.
Sales Reps Are Wasting Time
On the other hand, maybe your lead generation efforts are paying off and there are just too many leads for your sales people to follow up with in a timely manner. This is where lead qualification and nurturing tactics can help with saving your sales team time and ensuring they get the leads that are more likely to convert.
How To Qualify Leads
On the less sophisticated end, you can easily add qualification questions to your website forms or chat, such as asking what their role, budget, or company size are. This can be very useful in determining fit — does your lead fit within your target segments for your ideal customer persona? The problem with this solution is that the more form fields a lead has to complete, the less likely they are to fill it out.
A better way to qualify leads is through lead scoring combining both fit and interest. And a good marketing automation tool can help you qualify your leads at scale using lead scoring. Factors that indicate interest include how many times they’ve visited your website, how often they open your emails, and how recently they last engaged with you. Combine this with fit — how they respond to the qualifying questions — and you can create a good starting place for scoring your leads.
Successful Lead Nurturing
Lead nurturing enables you to engage prospects from the moment they subscribe through to when they become a customer. The most common lead nurturing tactic according to a recent Smart Insights report is the email welcome sequence, a series of emails welcoming a prospect to your brand and product. While this is key to an effective lead nurturing program, there are additional ways to use marketing automation to effectively engage leads until they are sales qualified and beyond.
Targeted, personalized content. Create customer segments and provide them with content that speaks to those segments, considering their interests, goals, and challenges. While you can use your buyer personas to segment, you can also segment by the content a prospect has already shown interest in. In addition, you can use dynamic website content to display messages specifically targeted to those prospects.
Retargeting and remarketing. A good lead nurturing program expands well beyond automated email campaigns. Leverage platforms like Facebook, Linkedin, and Google Ads to reach your leads across the web.
While you want to aim for efficiency and scalability — and lead qualification and nurturing is a great way to do this — remember that a real (non-automated) email or phone call within a short time frame is your best bet for qualifying a lead.