It’s long been said that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. This is no truer than in the marketing space, where every lead wooed and converted translates into increased revenue. However, there’s a commonly used method that exists which proves as the exception to this rule, which we not-so-affectionately refer to as “batch and blast.” This is the practice of sending everyone on your list the very same one-off email at the same time. Essentially, batch and blast is a numbers game, operating with little strategic rhyme or reason and handling leads with a one-size-fits-all approach. But, because no two leads are the same, organizations need to have a program in place that caters to the needs of individual prospects. The solution? Lead nurturing.
According to SiriusDecisions, 80% of prospects deemed by sales teams to be “bad leads” go on to buy within 24 months. For your marketing team, this presents an incredible opportunity to cultivate these leads, through lead nurturing. Nurturing can be defined as systematically contacting prospects in a progressive cadence timed to ease them through the buyer’s journey. This process of educating and staying fresh on the minds of prospects who aren’t (yet) ready to buy, allows you to turn otherwise dud leads into added revenue. Many organizations, maybe even your own, are intimidated by the thought of starting a lead nurturing program. While it’s true that getting started is the hardest part, every day that you’re not utilizing lead nurturing is a missed opportunity to turn cold leads hot.
Why Getting Started Is Hard
Lead nurturing is growing increasingly imperative as the landscape of what we consider “traditional marketing” continues to change. Today’s consumers don’t respond to conventional “Mad Men”-style marketing and advertising tactics; instead, they respond to engaging, informative content that speaks to them and not at them. Gone are the days of one-and-done campaigns. Instead, organizations need to have programs in place to satiate consumers’ appetite for information. Yet, herein lies the problem.
Many organizations don’t seem to fully grasp the concept of marketing automation, particularly the many moving parts that a successful program requires. Simply put, in order to automate something you need to have something to automate. What processes are currently in place that could be used as part of your lead nurturing program? Lead nurturing is dependent upon the foundation on which it’s built. Without the building blocks, there is no building.
Assessing the Foundation of Your Lead Nurturing Program
The beauty of lead nurturing is that the possibilities for engaging buyers are limited only by your capacity to do so. The more programs you currently have integrated into your overall marketing strategy, the more ways you can engage with prospects via your lead nurturing program. The following are highly effective fundamentals that can be implemented as part of your lead nurturing program and help you in gaining and maintaining your leads’ hard-won attention.
- Email Correspondence – Does your organization already use regular email campaigns?
- Trial Programs – Does your SaaS company offer a trial program that could be utilized by a lead nurturing program?
- Content Generation – Is your company generating content and if so, is that content engaging and relevant?
- Trigger Programs – Are you properly utilizing if/then sequences as part of your existing email marketing campaigns?
- Non-Responder Campaigns – How does your organization handle non-responders?
Lead nurturing requires a fair amount of due diligence initially in order to generate any real or lasting results. However, when executed properly, it can result in as many as 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost. And it scales. Most of the new leads you generate should probably go straight into the nurturing program you’ve already created, where you can keep them engaged and progressing with little effort.
If you’re interested in learning more about starting your own lead nurturing program, join me and Act-On’s Manager of Demand Gen, Linda West, for a live webinar where we’ll detail best practices for getting started, key ingredients for successful trial programs, how to develop reactivation campaigns and more.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
11am PT | 2pm ET