B2B buyers usually work on an extended buying cycle that can take anywhere from one month to eighteen, depending on the product or service.
Although a potential buyer might not need your product or service today, they may become a sales-qualified lead in six months’ time, so it’s crucial to focus on lead engagement until that point.
But keeping a potential buyer engaged and interested in your company when they don’t need you yet can be difficult. In fact, only around 35 percent of B2B companies have an established lead engagement program. This means that by designing a strategic lead nurturing campaign, you’ll immediately have an advantage over most of your competition.
In this post, we’ll look at how to set up a successful lead nurturing program and the key elements to optimize it. Already sending out email newsletters? Increase the success of your campaigns by nailing email cadence.
What is lead nurturing?
When you build a relationship with a potential client online, it’s known as lead nurturing. As your potential customer moves through your marketing funnel, you’ll reinforce and develop trust which turns them into a sales-qualified lead.
A successful lead engagement strategy focuses on key marketing and communication that gives value to customers, answers questions, and removes obstacles they might have.
The ultimate goal of lead nurturing is to keep that line of communication open with a potential buyer until they are ready to make a purchase with your sales team.
Why is it important?
Lead nurturing helps to ensure that when a buyer is ready to make a purchase, your brand is front of mind.
In fact, 70 percent of marketing teams believe the nurturing process is more important than the direct sales process, because it has a lasting effect on more customers overall.
What’s more, 79 percent of leads never convert into buying customers, and a lack of lead nurturing is the most common reason for such a poor performance.
How to create a lead nurturing plan
Lead nurturing is an ongoing process that requires time and effort to implement effectively. However, once in place, you’ll see a significant improvement in B2B lead generation conversion rates and an increase in sales.
Here’s how to get started creating a lead nurturing plan.
- Define your ideal customer
To make your lead engagement campaign as effective as possible, it needs to speak to your target buyer at different stages in their buying journey.
To do this, you need to define your buyer persona and know the struggles they are facing that will lead to your product or service.
- Are multiple people responsible for making a buying decision? What are their job titles/seniority?
- What business needs are driving their decision-making?
- What questions or struggles do they have that you can answer?
- What objections do they have that are stalling a buying decision?
- How are buyers responding to your existing marketing campaigns? Are they speaking to the right audience?
- How do your buyers prefer to consume online content?
These are just some of the questions you need to answer to begin designing an effective B2B lead generation strategy.
- The logistics
The next step is designing the lead nurture process. The best place to begin a lead nurture campaign is over email. This is the most direct way to contact buyers and makes it easy to track your analytics.
You’ll need to pin down the specifics of:
- How many emails will you send potential buyers?
- What offers will you include in the campaign?
- What valuable content can you provide that will answer questions and give value?
- How often will you contact your potential buyers? You don’t want to overwhelm them or for them to forget who you are.
- Will you stick to email or use multi-channel nurturing on your website/social media posts/etc.
Your answers will depend on theindustry, the price of your product or service, the length of your buyers’ journey, and more.
However, a simple lead nurturing campaign can begin with a simple series of four or five emails over the course of a month which culminates in an offer.
Something more complicated might involve a six-month-long campaign including webinars, multiple touchpoints, phone consultations, and more.
- Track results and tweak
There are key performance indicators that will show you how well your lead nurturing campaign is doing:
- Engagement: track this through email open and click-through rates.
- Sales cycle length: track the time it takes for leads to become paying customers.
- Outcome metrics: track the number of leads who go onto become paying customers.
Your nurture process will evolve over time with small tweaks aiming to boost these metrics, so it’s important to track your data from the beginning.
Marketing automation: How it helps develop sales-qualified leads
The most effective way to optimize your lead nurturing process is to use automation software.
It’s impossible for you to be available to potential sales-qualified leads throughout the entire sales journey, so automation gives a human touch to the content marketing process, even when there isn’t one.
This allows you to focus on delivering a high-quality product or service, knowing that your leads are being nurtured on autopilot, ready for you to step in when needed.
Using automation tools for lead engagement
Save time by using a tool like bant to automate some of the processes. Bant.io is an all-in-one lead generation tool that helps nurtures potential sales-qualified leads for you. Bant’s software uses high-performing email sequences to reach your target audience, personalize your content, and move them through the sales journey, all on autopilot.
Using AI-powered tools, your business can easily set up a lead nurture email campaign using Bant and almost immediately begin to get new, warm leads reaching out.
Bant even has a positive response detection tool that filters positive responses to your email campaigns, allowing you to prioritize the best potential clients.
Lead nurturing best practices
When it comes to lead nurturing, there are some easy tips to stand out from the crowd as a B2B marketer.
1. Leverage targeted content
Your potential buyers don’t want to be bombarded with offers and nothing else. To build that relationship and form trust, you need to give them relevant content that offers value and answers to problems.
Your buyers will be at different stages in the buying process, so targeting the type of content at different segments of your audience will help personalize your nurturing campaign and make each buyer feel spoken to.
2. Use multi-channel lead nurturing
Email marketing is one of the best platforms for lead nurturing, but that doesn’t mean you’re restricted to this platform alone.
Multi-channel nurturing involves reaching your audience through social media, retargeted PPC ads, dynamic website content, and direct sales outreach to give multiple touchpoints throughout the sales journey.
When you have a structured multi-channel approach, you become available to customers as soon as they are ready to make a buying decision, and will stay front of mind as the go-to brand in your niche.
3. Ten touchpoints
Marketers believe that most buyers need an average of ten interactions with a brand before they will make a purchase. This means you need to be consistently communicating with potential buyers over time.
If you’re new to lead engagement, set up ten touch points within your campaign, each giving your potential buyers something different such as:
- Answers to common questions
- A valuable blog post
- White papers
- Video tutorials or webinars
- Smaller offers
- Gated content
4. Follow up with leads quickly
Most businesses are slow to follow up with leads, even though buyers now expect an almost immediate response to inquiries.
Lead nurturing will help you get significantly more warm leads, but the best way to convert these to paying customers is to follow up in a timely manner.
5. Send personalized emails.
Around 80 percent of consumers will switch to a different brand if they aren’t pleased with their customer experience. So personalizing your nurturing process is crucial.
A simple way to do this is by adding a user’s name to your email list campaigns.
However, a more robust approach is personalizing the piece of content you send to potential buyers, letting them know you have done your research and know exactly what they need.
Bant allows you to personalize your outreach campaigns, getting a much better conversion rate.
As you can see, lead nurturing is a must in any marketing strategy. Not only will it improve your conversion rates, but it will also establish your business as a leader in your industry.
And the best part is lead nurturing doesn’t have to be a complicated process. With an intuitive email automation tool like bant, it’s easy to set up and once it is, you’ll get a consistent pipeline of sales-qualified leads.
See how you can increase the effectiveness of your B2b lead generation efforts with our all-in-one dashboard. Start by scheduling a personalized demo today!