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5 Lead Nurturing Strategy Considerations

Written by Heidi Corcoran

May 29 2018

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A considered lead nurture strategy is important to support your sales and marketing activities and ensure prospects keep moving through the funnel. We explore 5 lead nurture tips to consider for an effective process.

Why is Lead Nurturing Important?

Wouldn’t it be great if every lead that visited your site was ready to buy? 

If only it were that easy! However as you know, only a small percentage of leads will be purchase-stage ready after initial contact with you. That’s why having a great lead nurture process in place is crucial, to hold the attention of your good-fit leads and keep your brand front of mind until the time is right.

A lead nurture process works to purposefully engage a defined target group of prospects, moving them through the buyer’s journey by providing relevant, value-focussed information until they are ready to become a customer. There are multiple approaches you can use to nurture your leads; from sharing targeted, relevant content, to delivering personalised, engaging experiences, to following up promptly via the right channels and more.

So what must an effective inbound marketing lead nurture strategy consider?

Research conducted by Forrester has shown that marketers see an average 20% increase in sales opportunities from nurtured vs non-nurtured leads. - Hubspot

5 Lead Nurturing Strategy Considerations

1. Make sure marketing and sales teams are aligned

A strong inbound marketing campaign relies on both marketing and sales working as one team towards the same objectives. This alignment is of particular importance when it comes to the nurture process, as teams must jointly:

  • Focus on lead qualification, and have a unified definition over what constitutes a good MQL/SQL (and what does not).
  • Implement a lead scoring system to ensure that only quality, qualified leads are included in your nurturing strategy.
  • Collaborate on nurture content and share insights over appropriate publishing channels to maintain awareness with your audience.
  • Agree the defined point at which a lead should be handed from marketing to sales.

“89% of companies that align their sales and marketing lead nurturing efforts report measurable increases in the number of sales opportunities generated.” - HubSpot

Related:  When Should Marketing Hand Leads To Sales?

2. Create quality content to nurture across every stage of the buyer’s journey

Quality content, that maps to a lead’s position in the buyer’s journey and helps to educate and nurture them to the next stage, forms the foundation of great lead nurture.

As a result, every piece of content should be created with a specific stage of the buyer’s journey in mind, and considered as an asset to expand the nurture process. 

To see success, examine your leads, MQLs and SQLs to see which buyer stages they sit across. If you notice for example, that most are stuck in the consideration stage, and you’re struggling to move MQLs to SQLs, consider creating additional middle-to-bottom of the funnel level content, that can nurture them through to the decision stage. 

Great nurture content can come in a variety of formats for any stage, but as a rough guide:

  • At an awareness level, consider creating top of the funnel focussed blogs, guides or eBooks.
  • At the Consideration stage, more middle of the funnel content is needed; such as case studies, webinars, or more in-depth videos.
  • At the Decision stage, nurture content might be a free trial or demonstration, vendor comparisons or other bottom of the funnel content.

When including content in your nurture activities, be sure to share stage-appropriate content with your leads; sending awareness stage content to a prospect who is in the late consideration or decision stage will not deliver value.

Related: How to Map Content to Every Buyer's Journey Stage

3. Deliver engaging, personalised experiences

Personalised email nurture workflows, are an integral part of an inbound strategy and a great touchpoint to include in your nurture strategy, but keep in mind that there are more ways to nurture than email alone.

For example, incorporating a chatbot on your site can benefit process in numerous ways. Providing a real-time way for visitors and leads to engage with your brand and find the answers and content they need; intelligent, considered and personalised bots can help to build trust and nurture your audience.Chat also provides great process flexibility; in addition to creating a personalised, engaging experience on your site, you can use chat as a conversion tool to capture new leads, and crucially as a nurture tool; to recommend appropriate content to specific leads, or to book a consultation. As a result, you can speed up the nurture process and see dramatic reductions in sales cycle length. As detailed by Drift, some organisations have seen up to a c.33% cut in sales cycle length since implementing a bot.

In addition to email workflows and conversational marketing approaches (chatbots), it’s important to address your multichannel nurture approach - consider the many digital environments that your prospects are active across; the social platforms they use, the industry sites they read, and be sure to keep an active profile on them, to keep your brand front of mind and build trust. Paid ads and retargeting can also help to keep your brand front of mind. The exact tactics you use will depend on your audience, marketing strategy and more - but regardless of your approach, ensure your sales and marketing teams are aligned on activities to deliver a cohesive nurture strategy.

Related: How Automated Lead Nurture Shortens Sales Cycles

4. Personalise all Communication

According to Hubspot “Personalised emails generate up to 6 times higher revenue per email than non-personalised emails do”.

How would you react to a personalised email, that was triggered based on your recent visit to a certain website - and that clearly recognises your precise challenges to delivers new, next-stage advice? It would likely be more engaging than a generic, non-personalised message, containing miss-mapped content.

Personalised nurture - delivered at the right times and to the right people - whether via chat email, on social or via other channels such as on-page personalisation and content recommendations - is a must in a nurture process. Helping to build that brand/prospect relationship, trust and confidence, personalisation can help you stand out, and see shorter sales cycles as a result.

5. Timely Follow-Up

Strike whilst the iron is hot! It may seem obvious but the best time to pick up the phone, or send a follow-up email, is when your content is front of the prospect’s mind.

In a survey, HBR reported that “leads contacted within one hour of making a query, were 7 times more likely to be qualified” and, in another survey from reported that “The odds of calling and successfully being able to contact a lead, decrease by over 10 times in the first hour”.

Considering Your Lead Nurture Strategy

A well-structured lead nurture strategy, implemented by both sales and marketing, is a must to support your marketing and sales activities, and to help your prospects move through their buying journey. Implemented correctly, it will impart credibility, increase brand awareness, shorten your sales cycle and ensure you’re closing a higher volume or quality customers.

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