How To Use A Lead Nurturing Strategy To Optimize Conversions
It takes about 6 to 8 touches to generate a viable sales lead. It takes 1 action, or lack thereof, to turn a warm lead into a lost opportunity.
How does your team organize your leads? Can everyone on your team identify when a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) becomes a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)? Are your marketing and sales teams aligned? What automated triggers are in place to provide valuable communication to your leads that move them down your funnel?
Implementing a new lead nurturing strategy, or auditing an existing one, is a great way to take inventory of your systems and to effectively leverage your team’s efforts into positive ROI for both your company and for your clients through conversions.
Lead nurturing is the process of building relationships with the goal of earning a prospect’s business when they’re ready. According to Hubspot, 75% of leads buy within 18-24 months. This means that being intentional about interacting with your leads benefits your bottom line in the long run.
First, let’s define what a lead is.
Leads earn their designation after:
- your first conversation with them
- they download a content offer from you
- they subscribe to receive your content
- they request a trial or demo of your services
These prospects have become your leads in response to an experience that you’ve provided them. Well done! Now, it’s your job to learn more about them as they move through the stages of their life cycle and buyer’s journey.
Marketing and Sales Alignment
Next, let’s talk marketing and sales alignment.
In order to effectively provide your leads with the value that they are looking for and ultimately earn their business, your marketing and sales teams need to be aligned. The best conversion results can be attributed to team cohesion even if the roles and responsibilities of the members are asynchronous.
Best practices for marketing and sales alignment include agreement on the definition of an SQL, the defined life cycle stages of leads, and the implementation of a Service Level Agreement (SLA). SLA’s help with providing clear and quantifiable distinctions between marketing and sales team members that allow them to support one another without stepping on toes. Revenue goals can be determined by the number of opportunities needed to gain prospects, and subsequently conversions, based on the average value of a sale.
If a Content Management System (CMS) is your sports team’s roster, then your Customer Relationship Management platform (CRM) is your sport team’s stat sheet and coaching staff. Your CRM contains information about how the season is going and can put intuitive decision making into action.
An important component of an SLA is to set up a closed loop reporting system within the marketing and sales teams that provides tangible feedback based on data and in turn represents the value of your efforts. To achieve this, it is also highly suggested to use the same Customer Relationship Management platform (CRM).
Lead Nurturing Strategy
Now, let’s learn the elements of a Lead Nurturing Strategy.
Successful lead nurturing takes some tact and intention. Come up with a plan for how you will move your prospects down the funnel so that they find themselves at the decision stage of the buyer’s journey.
Content management is a strategy that focuses on using a software program to easily store and source a contact’s information. This includes their name, their communication history with you, their email, and more. It is critically important to maintain your database and organize your contacts.
Contact lists will naturally decay by a rate of about 22.5% annually. Attrition can be caused by changed email addresses. Other corrosion causes can stem from unqualified leads opting out of communication that they had previously opted into.
Your contacts are your lifeline to conversions, and conversions pave the path to revenue. If you are constantly searching for new prospects but are not following up with the leads you earn, you will not close any sales. That is a lot of time and money to spend without earning any business.
It’s a lot like endlessly shopping for food but never eating what you buy. You’re bound to wind up hungry with a refrigerator full of moldy food.
Categorize your contacts. This will allow you to align your content with your context. Grouping your contacts together based on their similarities will help you to tailor the experience you provide them. Your goal is to provide value at every step. One size does not fit all, so customizing your guests experience is made possible by segmentation. The more specific the better.
Tim Ferriss, award winning author of the 4 Hour Work Week, describes the benefit of writing with purpose as writing toward an audience of one. He suggests telling your story with 1 person in mind. Why? It creates a more personable experience. The commonality amongst consumers is that we are all people- we relate to human nature. We can apply similar logic here and create unique relationships with people who identify similarly and who express interest in similar things.
Use your CRM platform to find out more about your leads, contacts, and customers, contacts. Create buyer personas to help identify these similar segments of your contact list.
Where are they from? What industry do they work in? What are their job titles? How old are they? What are they interested in, and what content of yours do they consume? Where are they in their buyer’s journey?
Identify where your lead is in their buyer’s journey. Use what you’ve learned about your leads throughout your communication with them to identify their buyer persona. Remember, your prospects will go through 3 phases of their buyer’s journey: the awareness stage, the consideration stage, and the decision stage. Provide them with the right message at the right time to fit each part of their journey and move them down your funnel.
Lead Nurturing Campaigns
Then, how can we apply that strategy to a Lead Nurturing Campaign that converts?
- Set goals
What KPI’s will you focus on to best represent your success? How will you measure them?
- Select buyer personas
Be specific. Make sure that your campaign is clearly defined and targeted toward the people you want to convert. What value are you providing and to who?
- Create content
Show the people you are trying to reach that you have the answers they are looking for. Create value for them by providing relevant information on the topics they are interested in. This will help to establish credibility as a reliable source in providing holistic answers to what they are looking for.
- Identify timeline
Set boundaries for yourself. How long will your campaign run? At what point should you reevaluate your systems and make necessary changes? What length of time will provide the truest set of data for you to measure your performance?
- Measure and improve
Analyze the KPI’s you chose at the beginning of your campaign to see how you did. Be sure to measure your success by these indicators! You designed your campaign with this system of measurement in mind. If you want to find new data that is represented by new KPI’s, you’ll need to run a new campaign or re-engineer an existing one so that it focuses on the measurements you want. If you decide to make changes, isolate and test one variable at a time for best results.
Optimize For Conversions
Finally, use your knowledge of lead nurturing to reflect Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) in your campaigns.
It is critically important to zoom out and look at your whole picture. What is the goal of your campaign? Does your goal meet the needs of the leads you are targeting?
- Define your goal
- Take stock of your current conversion rate
- Outline the question you’re trying to answer
- Analyze your results
It takes about 6 to 8 touches to generate a viable sales lead. It takes 1 action, or lack thereof, to turn a warm lead into a lost opportunity. Make the most of how you interact with your leads!
First, be sure that your team has collaborative and organized systems in place that provide value for your prospects while moving them down the funnel. SLA’s help with providing clear and quantifiable distinctions between marketing and sales team members that allow them to support one another without stepping on toes. An important component of an SLA is to set up a closed loop reporting system within the marketing and sales teams that provides tangible feedback based on data and in turn represents the value of your efforts.
Next, keep content management, segmentation, and the buyer’s journey in mind when developing your lead nurturing strategy.
Finally, optimize your lead nurturing campaigns so that they produce high conversion rates!