In the first part of this blog series, I have covered: “what is lead nurturing and how to set up lead nurturing campaigns. In the second part, I covered the benefits of lead nurturing. This is the third and concluding part of the blog series. I will cover winning lead nurturing strategies that work.
The inbound marketing campaigns help businesses to generate leads regularly from multiple sources. But no business can increase the number and value of orders only by focusing on generating more leads. In addition to generating leads regularly, your business must focus on nurturing every lead in the most effective ways. You can easily increase the volume and size of orders by keeping in place an elaborate lead nurturing strategy.
Lead nurturing can be defined as the process of communicating and engaging the newly-generated leads at every stage in the sales process or sales funnel.
According to Business2Community.com, “Aligning content with a prospect’s stage in the buyer’s journey can boost conversion rates by 72%.”
You can implement a lead nurturing strategy to convert leads into customers by sending relevant and personalized content according to their position in the buyer’s journey.
The lead nurturing tools help you to segregate leads, focus on sales-ready leads, and send personalized messages without deploying additional resources. But you must remember that lead nurturing is an ongoing and long-term process. You cannot drive sales simply by investing in the right lead nurturing system. In addition to choosing the right lead nurturing solution, your business must implement effective lead nurturing strategies and lead nurturing best practices.
13 Lead Nurturing Strategies and Best Practices to Drive Sales Conversion
Bridge the Gap between Marketing and Sales
In most organizations, marketing professionals generate leads and salespeople follow up the leads. But you cannot nurture the leads effectively without aligning marketing and sales seamlessly. You can easily bridge the gap between marketing and sales by adopting account-based marketing (ABM) approach. Unlike conventional marketing approaches, ABM emphasizes on collaboration between marketing and sales teams. The marketing and sales professionals can nurture the leads as a unified team by launching campaigns that are both personalized and targeted.
Track Every Customer Interaction
You cannot nurture leads properly without storing all business interactions with them in a centralized location. Your business can easily collect, aggregate, and organize the real-time customer data collected from various sources using a customer relationship management system (CRM). The CRM will create a customer profile for each lead. You can access the customer profile to find key information like location, occupation, industry, most visited site pages, most downloaded content, and preferred communication channel.
It is very important that your CRM needs to support marketing lists and marketing automation activities. I would strongly recommend the use of Hubspot CRM for this purpose, it will enable seamless integration of other amazing products like Hubspot email and landing page builder and make your lead nurturing process super smooth.
Create Buyer Personas
As a semi-fictional representation of a consumer, a buyer persona helps you to understand the needs and expectations of consumers clearly. While creating the buyer persona, you must cover the key attributes of an ideal consumer – age, gender, location, needs, expectations, pain points, and budget. You can refer to the buyer personas to answer important questions like how to influence the buying decision of the lead. You can seduce the lead to place the order by sending him content to address specific problems or meet specific needs.
Do check out the Make My persona tool from Hubspot and get started with your journey. You can also get the free downloadable version of buyer persona worksheet.
Analyze Buyer’s Journey
A lead behaves differently in each stage in the sales funnel. You cannot convert a lead into a customer without sending personalized and targeted content according to her current position in the buyer’s journey. You must prepare an elaborate customer journey map as part of the lead nurturing strategy. Also, you can refer to the customer journey map to understand what product/service the lead is looking for, what problems the lead is facing, what affects the lead’s purchase decisions, and what prevents the lead from placing orders. The information will help you to communicate effectively by sending highly targeted content according to the current position in the buyer’s journey.
Again, I will suggest the readers to check out the free customer journey map template.
Assign Scores to Each Lead
As a key aspect of lead nurturing, lead scoring helps you to identify and segregate sales-ready leads by assigning scores from 0 to 10 to each lead. The lead scores will help you to remove dormant leads from the database and focus only on highly qualified leads. Also, you can differentiate between the leads that are ready to place an order and the leads who are interested in your product or service. Hence, you can easily drive sales conversion by sending highly targeted content only to sales-ready leads. Likewise, you can influence the purchase decisions of interested leads through regular and timely communication.
Follow up Every Lead in a Timely Way
The lead nurturing tools help you to communicate with a large number of leads. But you cannot influence a lead’s buying decision without sending the right message at the right time. You can easily convert a prospect into a customer by sending a timely email or making a timely phone call. Unlike cold calling, lead nurturing helps you to understand a lead’s needs and expectations precisely. The personal information will help you to create sales opportunities by choosing and sending the right content. However, you need to ensure that the content is delivered to the lead in a timely way.
Create and Send Highly Targeted Content
Highly targeted content is the key element of lead nurturing campaigns. You cannot drive sales conversion by sending the same content to every lead. You have to create targeted content for each buyer person based on important attributes like needs, interests, and objectives.
Also, you need to create content by keeping in mind the lead’s position in the sales funnel. For instance, while creating content for the top-of-the-funnel leads you must focus on answering their common questions. The information will make the lead shortlist your products or services while doing pre-purchase research. You can find a good example of this below:
Combine Multiple Channels of Communication
Many businesses these days nurture leads by sending automated emails. But you must remember that customers these days interact with a business through multiple channels of communication. You can easily influence a lead’s buying decision by communicating with her using her choice of the communication channel. While implementing a lead nurturing strategy, you must emphasize on delivering the timely and personalized message to the leads through commonly used communication channels like emails, text messages, in-app notifications, social networks, and PPC ads. You can further drive sales conversion by running re-targeting campaigns.
Personalize Every Message
According to SmartInsights.com, “72% of consumers say they now only engage with marketing messages that personalized and tailored to their interests.”
In addition to sending highly targeted content, your lead nurturing strategy must focus on sending personalized messages to each lead. You can easily impress and engage the leads by mentioning their name at the top of the message. At the same time, you also need to customize the email content according to important attributes of the buyer persona like interests and needs. The leads will become customers only after believing that your information will help them to solve specific problems.
Send Content in Multiple Formats
According to Hubspot.com, “32% of marketers say visual images are the most important form of content for their business, with blogging in second (27%).”
Many customers these days prefer watching or hearing information instead of reading information. You cannot engage leads without combining textual and visual content. You can easily influence the buying decision of leads by conveying the targeted content in the form of video clips. The video clips will help you to interact with the leads by responding to the comments posted by them. Also, the comments make it easier for you to understand the needs and expectations of customers.
Focus on Multiple Touches
A buyer’s journey differs across businesses and industries. The same buyer’s journey also differs according to the nature of products or services. You cannot convert a lead into a customer without sending at least 10 touches through the buyer’s journey. Your lead nurturing strategy must help the lead progress through the buyer’s journey by providing the right information at the right time. Hence, you must communicate with the lead throughout the buyer’s journey by sharing a variety of content – blog posts, FAQs, podcasts, videos, whitepapers, and social media posts.
Monitor and Optimize Lead Nurturing Programs
The performance of a lead nurturing program varies based on a slew of factors. You cannot increase sales conversion simply by keeping in place a lead nurturing strategy. You must assess the performance of individual programs using important metrics like the number of messages sent, delivered, opened, and bounced. Also, you need to fine-tune the lead nurturing programs regularly to generate higher ROI.
Don’t Ignore Post-Sales Nurturing
You must not forget that lead nurturing is an ongoing process. In addition to nurturing the sales-ready leads, your business must continue nurturing the leads after receiving orders or closing sales deals. The post-sales nurturing will help you to understand customer needs and expectations as well as improve customer satisfaction. Also, the post-sales customer communication will help you to discover opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling of products.
Your business can easily drive sales by complementing lead generation with lead nurturing. The lead nurturing tools help you to nurture and manage leads efficiently without putting extra time and effort. Its also important to review you lead nurturing strategies at regular intervals. You need to keep an eye on lead nurturing best practices and refine your strategies accordingly.