Sales leads are the cornerstone success point to any business-to-business (B2B) industry. If you know when someone is looking to buy a product or service that you offer, you can contact them directly, pitch your service, and spell out their return on investment to secure the sale.
However, too much focus is placed on these quick win sales. What about the potential customer who doesn’t know how you can help them yet? What about the potential customer who wants a bit more information on prices? Surely they are just as valuable in the long term.
Only 27% of business to business (B2B) leads are sales-ready when first generated. This makes lead nurturing essential for capitalizing on the other 73%, but up to 65% of B2B marketers have not established lead nurturing campaigns. Lead nurturing is coming into a league of its own, especially as more sales intent now begins online. Where once marketing departments targeted demographics, they now can analyse their target market and tailor specifically to each sector and even individual.
This begs the question: Can I make my lead generation campaign nurture opportunities for the future? The answer is yes, and here is how…
Understand the Online Marketing Funnel
The traditional marketing funnel encompasses all marketing activity from PR to print advertising. However, from an online perspective, you can monitor and analyze anyone who is looking at your online activities and tailor your approach to reach them.
Essentially the four main elements of the online marketing funnel are:
Take a look at your current online traffic levels and conversion ratios. Do they match up? Some webmasters get obsessed with visitor levels, but having a lot of visitors without conversions to me only equals one thing: A leaky marketing funnel. Although people are interested in your product or service, you are losing them at the final hurdle.
This is where lead nurturing comes into play. By gaining information such as an email address, name, or phone number, you can continue to monitor and connect with them, ensuring they don’t fall off your radar and buy from a competitor.
Make sure you are monitoring online leads and conversions, but are finalizing sales by phone. The easiest way to do this is use a visitor level call tracking system like ResponseTap. In the majority of B2B industries, a phone call is definitely a prerequisite before a sale is made. ResponseTap ensures your online analytics program is integrated and ensure you can see exactly where sales are coming from. This is essential to any lead nurturing campaign.
Target, Target, Target!
After you have narrowed down what should be included in your online leads funnel, you need to put a plan in place to make sure you’re reaching the right people. Deciding how you judge which point of the sales process different customers are at is essentially deciding what it means to be sales ready. The more you can find out about a website visitor, the closer you can match their requirements with what you can offer them.
A study suggests that our brains help us to focus on one thing by allowing us to ignore everything else. This really puts emphasis on creating something that visitors really want to see; otherwise you simply become part of the white noise. Target quality leads over quantity, and use your strategy to nurture relationships with people who want to be targeted.
Leverage Existing Databases
Existing databases are an invaluable resource, especially for your lead nurturing efforts. When marketing budgets are tight, spending them on sourcing new leads will eat into your profits. Why go to that trouble when you have an entire list of past customers who may be looking to buy again?
One of the most important messages to take away from this is the more effort you put into creating a database and keeping it up to date, the more leverage you have to align them to you brand again.
Content Marketing on Steroids
Having a great product will be little use if no one knows about it, and social media is often the first stage of the online discovery process. To have a good social media campaign, you must first have some great content to share. To make the content work for you, you have to have a great website that offers a unique service. Content is what holds social media and product together.
Create some exciting content that will educate your potential buyers on exactly what you can do for them, testimonials on what you have done for others and establishing yourself as a thought leading brand in your industry is what you should be aiming for. This takes strategy and time to build up, but linking social to content is an absolute power house for lead attraction and conversion. High quality content that is contextually relevant sent to potential clients leads to a 208% higher conversion rate than batch and blast.
Hard selling is not needed and is often inappropriate in the first establishing steps to generating and nurturing a lead, but if you’re able to show how you can help a potential customer, using statistics and offering something of value to the reader or establishing your business as a thought leader, you’ll be able to get people thinking: “if they know this about my sector, and are giving it away for free… what else do they know and how can they help me?”
Decision Maker’s Needs
Although you are looking at your online marketing strategies, working closely with an offline sales team is essential. By understanding the buyer, you can understand their needs and wants and evaluate how best to nurture this lead. Targeting people around the decision maker in a business is likely to be useful and if you can schedule in-person meetings to get in front of the people they answer to, you’ll have a better chance at getting ball rolling and making the lead into a sale.
The average number of people involved in a decision is 6.8 — and that number goes as high as 21 individuals on buying committees at larger companies. Your nurturing content will need to speak to each of them individually and address their unique needs.
Lead nurturing is more than simply pressurising people who are not ready to buy into purchasing. If done right, it can create a loyal customer base that trusts what you offer and believes in what you do. Taking a visitor from the initial website visit through to sale is a skill which will become increasingly valuable as the internet markets become increasingly wide and competitive. Get a head start today and begin formulating a lead nurturing plan for your business.
Have I missed anything? Do you use the marketing funnel in your business? Leave a comment; I’d love to hear your thoughts.