You’ve created an inbound marketing campaign to bring visitors to your website, and you’ve provided the content that connects users with your brand. Now what? How can we, as marketers, better impact the sales cycle to turn leads not only into sales, but brand ambassadors? Lead nurturing.
When you think of a lead nurturing campaign, keep in mind what the term literally means: taking care of the people who are interested in your brand.
The logic behind, and benefits of, a lead nurturing campaign are simple: boost lead engagement and brand awareness, connect marketing and sales efforts, and shorten complex sales cycles.
Enhance Brand Positioning & Engagement
In the article 9 Benefits of Lead Nurturing, HubSpot’s Ellie Mirman (@EllieEille) includes building thought leadership, maintaining engagement, and identifying with buyer personas' challenges and interests as returns on lead nurturing campaigns. Other benefits include:
- The influence of consistent and relevant communications, which 66% of buyers indicated was a factor in choosing their solution provider.
- Reaching buyers with extremely relevant content, which can produce 50% more click-throughs to additional content and brand information.
Bridge Marketing & Sales Efforts
Many communications campaigns use a customer’s initial actions—like filling out a lead form or downloading content—as metrics to prove campaign success. Once tallied, contacts may be signed up for a monthly eNewsletter, dumped into a CRM, or handed off to an appropriate sales contact to seal the deal.
As a marketer, do you know what happens from there? When is marketing’s job done, and when does the sales team’s job begin?
Lead nurturing puts a process in place to purposefully integrate the efforts of sales and marketing, to provide the best possible brand experience for your potential customers. By determining the main challenge or interest of each lead, you can stay top-of-mind by sending regular, relevant communications through a drip campaign or other automated program, combined with personal touchpoints.
By connecting leads to resources, rather than a “buy now” message, you’re introducing your potential customers to the unique identity and offering your brand provides—growing trust, customer loyalty and brand ambassadors.
Shorten the Sales Cycle
Potential customers navigate through tons of product options, and at times, complex B2B sales cycles. Integrating lead nurturing shows marketing’s impact on the bottom line and drives results. By providing more personalized brand engagement, it can help achieve the ultimate goal: moving leads from prospects to customers.
David Meerman Scott’s (@dmscott) article, Shorten the Complex Sales Cycle with Web Content, discusses how effective content passed to leads can build trust in a brand and its product solution, to ultimately shorten the sales cycle.
Scott recommends beginning campaigns with thought leadership articles that focus on the overall market, specifically in regard to the challenges buyers are facing. Once you’ve piqued initial interest, encourage interaction with leads through engaging content like webinars, ROI calculators or comparison charts. Finally, when you’ve guided a lead further down the funnel, it’s time to send more specific, product-related materials.
Ardath Albee (@ardath421) has another insightful take on shortening the sales cycle with the content used in lead nurturing campaigns: use storytelling. In her DemandCon presentation, Albee suggests creating content that tells your audience’s story, and makes them the hero by solving business challenges through the use of your product or service. Marketers can identify with buyers through content that promotes a continual conversation with your brand, and answers the questions or challenges faced at every stage along the sales cycle.
What questions do you have about integrating a lead nurturing campaign into your sales and marketing efforts, or what successes have you already seen by doing so? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Photo Credit: Chadica