What’s the quickest, cheapest way to implement lead nurturing?
I get that question frequently when I talk to marketers about lead nurturing. Lead nurturing is pretty easy to understand, but hard to execute when you have little time or budget.
I thought I’d share my barest-bones lead nurturing strategy. I’ll do my best to resist the urge to elaborate. Volumes could be written about each bullet point. In fact, they have been.
Step #1. Set up your nurturing database
Include all of the people you could potentially sell to, such as people you’ve met at trade shows, who have spoken with your sales team and who have responded to your website.
Step #2. Review your database
What do you know about the people in it? What industry are they in? What are their titles? Where did you get their names?
Step #3. Segment your database into personas
Not everyone is the same. Make sure you understand what each persona looks like, their needs and goals, what information they’re looking for and how they prefer to receive their information.
Step #4. Decide what information would be most relevant to them
Begin by asking your sales team, “What questions do our customers ask most often? What do they care about? What issues are they facing?”
Find content – articles, blogs, white papers and the like – that addresses these issues. Pass this content by your sales team. Ask them whether their customers would value it. As much as you can, repurpose content. For instance, white papers can be transformed to articles and articles to blog posts.
Step #5. Email prospects this relevant content, but whatever you do, don’t pitch
These should be simple emails that are written as if you are speaking to them directly. Be genuinely helpful.
Provide your sales team with email templates so that they can follow up and engage in their own conversations.
Step #6. Follow up with a human touch
Make a personal connection and follow up emails with phone calls to directly gauge prospects’ interest. Never rely on email alone.
Lead nurturing can be executed without expensive marketing automation tools; there are plenty of simple, low-cost platforms to start off with.
You can create databases in Excel and run mail merges from Microsoft Outlook.
Here’s some extra lead nurturing material for a deeper dive into the topic
I hope this is helpful as you implement lead nurturing for your organization. I’d love to hear your tips on what you found helpful to get started with lead nurturing? What else have you learned to implement lead nurturing programs in your company?
If you want to dig deeper here’s some lead nurturing bonus material:
Checklist of lead nurturing questions
When you’re designing a lead nurturing program, ask yourself the following:
- Exactly who do I want to nurture?
- What problems does the prospect need to overcome each day?
- What is the prospect’s top priority right now?
- Do I know what the prospect worries about?
- What messaging do I want to communicate?
- What is the best way to deliver the message?
- What action do I want the prospect to take?
- Will I need to demonstrate my product or service?
- How often should I strive to be in contact?
- Which tools require direct sales involvement?
Thoughts on lead nurturing channels and timing
Lead nurturing is not a single marketing campaign. Instead, it’s better to think of it as a conversation.
Lead nurturing takes on the form of a series of steps and communication tactics with defined objectives and strategies that are tailored to developing and building a relationship with the potential customer – out of which will come conversations that convert to sales.
The channels you’ll use and the frequency of touches will depend on the product or service being sold and the buying cycle of the prospect. A general rule is to bring sales people into the process about six months before the targeted purchase time.
A simple lead nurturing path might look like this for your personas:
The mix and selection of lead nurturing channels and content should be based on what is being sold and how the specific market and prospect have been shown to prefer acquiring information.
I just covered using the phone and email, but you can use several channels, as evidenced by this mindmap of lead nurturing channels and content:
You might also like
Stop Cold Calling and Start Lead Nurturing [More from the blogs]
Email Marketing: The importance of lead nurturing in the complex B2B sale [More from the blogs]
B2B How-To: 5 lead nurturing tactics to get from lead gen to sales-qualified [MarketingSherpa how-to]
Marketing Research Chart: The ROI of lead nurturing [MarketingSherpa chart]