Research firm MarketingSherpa says12.5 percent of leads are genuine, ready or willing to buy and get moved into the sales cycle, while 17.5 percent get discarded right away because they clearly didn't qualify or couldn't be verified. BtoB marketers are then tasked with what to do with the other 70 percent of leads that remain in limbo. This is your prime opportunity to "touch" those prospects through your lead nurturing campaigns.
Use lead nurturing to enhance your drip campaign (a campaign using a series of messages distributed based on prospect data, timing and/or user actions) by sending your prospects automated responses. According to Silverpop's "Benchmark Study of Lead Management Practices," drip campaign response rates consistently outperformed single-message campaigns, often 2-to-1 and even 3-to-1. In fact, the lowest-performing drip campaigns outperformed almost all of even the best-performing single-message campaigns. Also, the drip campaigns generated click-through rates that were three times those of single-message campaigns.
When creating a successful lead nurturing program, you have to capture the prospects that leak from the sales pipeline and allow them to flow into a special marketing program. It also includes incorporating the following:
- Communication – Use a single or multi-channel communication, such as email, telesales or direct mail to maintain contact with leads in need of warming. Also, it's okay to diversify the communications. For instance, you can send a newsletter, follow that up with a phone call from inside sales and then send a thank you card.
- Relevance – Because people buy for different reasons, it's important to increase the relevance of your messaging whenever possible. Since time only permits so much, ask prospects to select their greatest need, challenge or top priority related to the products or services you offer. Then, base subsequent messaging on each person's response.
- Lead Scoring – Once you've got a solid lead nurturing program in place, it'll be easy to propel the nearly sales ready leads forward in the sales funnel. Communications campaigns based on the leads location in the buying cycle can be automated to deliver the right information to the right prospect at the right time.
Your program may very well be profitable enough to leave money on the table, but if not, there's real value in lead nurturing.