B2B Lead Nurturing: Double Your Qualified Leads
Everyone wants to meet more buyers who are close to making a purchasing decision. (Including us!)
But what if we’re all missing a trick?
Maybe we already have enough sales leads; and we just need to make them work harder for our businesses.
And that’s the secret behind a strong b2b lead nurturing program. It enables you to generate 2x as much business, at less than you are currently paying to acquire a client.
Sounds pretty good!!
In this article we’ll look at how to use b2b lead nurturing to increase revenue, improve brand awareness, and salvage lost deals.
What’s B2B Lead Nurturing? And Why Do You Care?
Lead nurturing refers to an organized process to strengthen relationships with potential clients over time.
In doing so, you move them closer to a buying decision in the process.
Here’s why you should care.
Forrester did some research and they discovered that companies who are good at b2b lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads, at a 33% lower cost.
And others have found that nurtured leads have a 47% larger order size.
That’s kind of huge! Nurturing leads gets you more, bigger deals. And you can get these clients at a lower cost than what you currently pay.
Sounds great. Sign me up!
Staying Top of Mind
B2B lead nurturing is valuable because the nurturing process keeps your firm top of mind.
People are busy, and when it comes to making difficult decisions we look for mental short cuts. These help us make better decisions in less time.
These ‘short cuts’ mean we’re more likely to buy from a company we know than one we don’t. Especially if they regularly educate us with valuable content.
And this is the real value of the b2b lead nurturing process.
Cost Per Lead Is Increasing
Getting leads is expensive, and the cost trends are only increasing.
Hochman Consultants found for PPC, the cost per conversion was $10.18 in 2005 and over $43 in 2017. That’s a lot more than standard inflation!
The amount you pay for a lead will vary by industry and advertising channel. But the cost to acquire new customers is only going higher over time.
You probably don’t have an unlimited budget. So what should you do if you want to keep growing?
The answer of course is to get more value from your existing ad budget. You may not need more leads. You just need more clients from the leads you already have.
A well organized b2b lead nurturing program will help you maximize lead value.
Deals Fall Apart
If you don’t get a deal, there’s a very good chance one of your competitors snapped up your prospective client.
Argh! That sucks.
But here’s the thing; deals fall apart all the time. Just because a client chose to work with your competitor, doesn’t mean they’re going to stay there. They may decide things aren’t so rosy once the project has begun.
So keep nurturing prospects AFTER they’ve said no. Your tenacity and professionalism may pay big dividends later!
Set A Goal For Your B2B Lead Nurturing Program
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
– John Wanamaker
As noted above, companies that invest in lead nurturing reap huge benefits. Marketing Sherpa noted that companies that practice lead nurturing report a 45% higher ROI than those that don’t.
But a high ROI for B2B lead nurturing isn’t guaranteed. Your program needs to be monitored and optimised to ensure it’s a good investment.
Start by setting a goal for your lead nurturing program, just one.
It’s tempting to track 20 different metrics – unsubscribe rate, click through rate, open rate, response rate, and so on.
But try to keep things simple. Make the goal for your campaign a single KPI. This will keep you focused. And give your reporting purpose.
Ask yourself what you want your prospects to do. Make that the KPI.
If you want prospects to book a meeting, then that’s the goal.
For example, convert 1% of available leads to meetings. So if you have 1000 active contacts then this should result in about 10 meetings per month.
How to Nurture B2B Leads
Most conversations about b2b lead nurturing revolve around CRM and marketing automation.
These tools help, no doubt. But it’s the human element that determines the success of a nurturing campaign. Focus on offering your prospects more value than anyone else, and the rest will sort itself out.
Here are some ways to nurture B2B leads, while keeping an emphasis on a positive customer experience.
Revert Quickly & Appropriately
Make a habit of following up with new leads quickly. And by quickly I mean minutes, not days!
The start of your relationship makes a big difference to how prospects perceive your firm moving forward. Which will in turn affect your lead nurturing efforts.
Companies that follow up promptly are perceived as more professional, better staffed, and are more likely to get a meeting.
Don’t be one of the 47% of companies that don’t follow up with their sales leads, at all!
If nothing else, you should have an automated email that goes out to new leads. Guide them on how to take the next steps in their buying journey.
Use common sense when following up with prospects. Someone who sends a message to speak with sales wants you to call them. But a sales lead that signs up for your newsletter probably isn’t expecting their phone to ring.
Create Helpful Content
Like this article!
New content for your blog isn’t just for bringing in new leads. It’s a fantastic way to nurture your existing sales leads.
In fact, more than half (56%) of marketers say that targeted content is the biggest element in a successful lead nurturing campaign.
Regular exposure to high quality content reinforces your brand and keeps your company top of mind.
It can also move your prospects down the purchasing funnel towards a deal.
Here are 3 ways to use content for lead nurturing.
- Share your new blog content via email. If you publish frequently then email less frequently. Your leads are glad to hear from you, but not every day.
- Create a multi-day email course and send it to new leads as a drip campaign.
- Connect with sales leads on Linkedin and other social networks. Share your best content so you are continually in their social feed.
Sharing your expertise is hands-down the best way to prove you’re the right team for the job. So make quality content a habit you adopt early, and often.
Create Content For Every Stage Of The Funnel
Someone who signs up for an ebook isn’t the same as someone who takes a meeting with your sales rep. They’re in different stages of the buying journey.
Your b2b lead nurturing campaign must reflect these differences.
Create drip campaigns designed to help buyers at the stage where they’re at now. So someone who downloads an ebook gets different content than someone who requests a meeting.
Be sure to continue to nurture prospects who are speaking with your sales rep. They’re your most valuable opportunities, and deserve extra attention.
Some companies continue to nurture prospects even after they’ve converted to becoming a client. The relationship is more important than ever. So it makes sense to create content aimed at helping the people you need most.
Every couple of years I clean out my browser bookmarks.
Invariably, I find hundreds of websites that I bookmarked because I thought I’d want to visit in the future.
But here’s the thing. In most cases I bookmarked the site and never went back. It’s like the bookmark button is a neuralyzer gun from Men in Black. Once hit, immediately forgotten.
And that’s why retargeting your audience is so important. Around 97% of website visitors that leave without taking action never return.
And that’s not good!
They had a reason for being on your website. If they were searching for your services then you want them to return.
Retargeting is just advertising to people who previously visited your website.
You’ve almost certainly seen retargeting in action. When you research a product online you end up seeing ads for the same thing on social media and other websites.
What makes retargeting so powerful is that you can focus your ad budget on people who meet qualifying criteria. For example, only show ads to people that visit certain pages on your website.
Someone who visits a blog article may not prove much buying intent.
But a visitor who finds you by searching for a service page is a very good prospect. They’ve already demonstrated some buying intent. So it’s well worth spending a bit to bring them back.
This narrow focus on high value prospects makes retargeting very, very cost effective.
It’s so effective, it’s almost scary. Retargeting crushes all other ad placement strategies with a 1,046% lift in brand / site searches after seeing an ad. Which is more than double the effectiveness of any other strategy.
Go Beyond Marketing Automation
Marketing automation is the key to successful lead nurturing. Good tools will help you nurture opportunities, regardless of where they are in the sales cycle.
Marketing automation uses lead scoring to segment your audience. For example, someone who downloads an ebook gets 5 points. And they get another 3 points if they click on an email link, and so on. When a lead accumulates enough points they move to a higher priority.
On the surface this lead scoring model seems like a pretty good system. But a lot of assumptions are baked into the algorithm. And some firms find the model kind of useless.
But here’s the thing; sometimes it’s not about automation. It’s about people and relationships.
If your ideal sales target visits your website, but doesn’t get enough points, will you ignore them? I hope not! And your lead nurturing program should reflect that.
Identify the people or companies that you most want to work with. And then nurture them in ways that DON’T scale.
For example, connect on social media and comment on their work.
These are the activities that are the seeds of real relationships. And they’ll keep you top of mind when the prospect is looking for your solutions.