11 Great Tips for Long Sales Cycle Lead Nurturing


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Marketing Intelligence 20th, Nov 2013

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Lead nurturing is the process of building relationships with prospective customers through relevant information and engaging, meaningful contact. This is how businesses stay in contact with those who are interested in the product or service on offer but are not yet ready to buy. 95% of the visitors to your website do not want to speak with sales right away but many of them will eventually make a purchase from you or your competitors. With the right lead nurturing strategy, you can make sure that when they are ready to buy they think of your company.

 

1.       Choose Objectives:

Lead nurturing is a means to an end, figure out exactly what you are trying to do with your campaign and how you will measure success. You want a general, qualitative goal in mind such as “increase conversion rates from demos by 5%”.

2.       Start Small:

When starting a lead nurturing campaign it is important to learn what works and then expand outwards. If you start with a system that is too segmented it will be difficult to work with and analyze effectively.

3.       Ask Questions:

The best way to create an effective lead nurturing campaign is to ask the right questions. Find out where your leads are coming from and what information they are looking for. How many do you get from each source and what makes them convert? By figuring out the who-and-why of your successful conversions you will be able to track techniques that work.

4.       Respond Promptly to all Inbound Leads:

Leads will deteriorate quickly if they do not receive a response. Interest in your product or service will only last a short amount of time before the moment has passed and your prospect’s attentions are elsewhere. For best results, catch them while they are still engaged. Be sure your responses are personal and relevant and provide a clear avenue to continue the conversation.

5.       Create Relevant and Useful Content:

On today’s Internet content is king but content does not necessarily mean blog post or how-to guides. Consider your market and what information will be of use to them. Buyer’s guides can be just as effective fodder for satisfying your prospects’ interest and building strong relationships. Don’t pitch your products, educate your prospects and show them the value of what you have to offer.

6.       Make Use of Blogs:

One of the most effective ways to keep content in your lead nurturing cycle fresh is to make use of the stellar content you are already creating for your blog. You (or someone else in the company) have put a lot of effort into that quality content so make the most use of it. Select articles that are most relevant to each nurturing segment and use this helpful information to further strengthen a prospect’s confidence in and comfort with your business.

7.       Stay Relevant:

Once you have established a lead nurturing cycle that works for your business, segment it further to ensure each target audience gets the most interesting and relevant content. Depending on your industry you may wish to segment your list by lead source, job function, industry, product interest, or recent activity.

8.       Send Free Content by Email:

Only provide free content or online consultation results by email as it will ensure that you receive valid contact information. Not only will you be sure that you are able to contact interested prospects with future offers and nurturing attempts but they will have a reminder of their contact with your business that sits in their inbox until they act upon it. Some businesses may choose to use read-receipts to track when emails are opened for useful data about how or why contact attempts may be failing.

9.       Evaluate and Test Process Frequently:

Markets change and your lead nurturing strategies will have to change with them. Test and evaluate your process frequently to ensure it is still effective. Try out new ideas, there is always room for improvement.

10.   Content Mapping:

An important aspect of designing a lead nurturing cycle is content mapping. This refers to decisions regarding when in the buying cycle it is most appropriate or beneficial to provide certain types of information. This can be tricky to figure out and is one of the main reasons we recommend frequent testing. The needs of your prospect change over the course the nurturing and buying cycle, consider what they will want to know at each stage and map your content to provide them with the answers they want when they want them.

11.   Create a Contact Schedule:

Once you have mapped your content to various stages of the cycle, create a schedule for contacting prospects. Remember that the value of each lead diminishes greatly over time so do not just wait and hope to hear from them eventually – establish contact quickly and maintain it by providing useful and regular information updates. Wherever possible use multiple channels to engage leads and connect via social media.

Finally, one of the most important things marketing teams must remember is to maintain contact with your sales team. Sales teams can use all the information gathered during the lead nurturing process to make the sale and dead leads should be handed back to the lead nurturing cycle in case they decide they are ready to buy in future.

 

By: Steve Toth

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