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(Nurturing leads that are not ready to buy)

Nurturing leads that are not ready to buy just makes good business sense. The term lead nurturing might be something you are not familiar with. Using different contact vehicles to stay in contact and provide useful information is nothing new. But as automation and CRM software makes it easier, some bad habits can cancel out your investment in time, software and infrastructure. We’re going to go through things to look out for and some solutions.

79% of marketing leads never convert into sales.

The above stat was taken from research conducted by Marketingsherpa. Shocking isn’t it! But for many of you reading this I am sure you have come to a similar conclusion. There are many reasons for this. Improving on some of the main causes bellow can have a huge impact on lead to close ratios.

Unqualified Leads.

Not  all leads are made equal.  61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to Sales; however, only 27% of those leads will be qualified. (Marketingsherpa). Unqualified leads is a conversion rate and time killer, but a robust lead scoring process will counteract leads that are not ready to be contacted by sales. This will drop the number of leads sent to sales but increase the conversion rate focusing sales time in the right place. It will also give control over how to continue to market to different leads of varying scores.

Lack of technological Support.

Businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads. (The Annuitas Group). There are numerous studies that show the benefits. Having a good customised CRM with a solid strategy around your lead generation system is a given. Isn’t it???  If you as a company have not implemented a CRM, or if you know you and your staff are not getting the full benefits from your CRM you are costing your business money. You can give all the excuses you wish, it does not change this fact, that your competition is probably using a CRM and other technologies to improve results. DON’T GET LEFT BEHIND.

So you have the tech in play, but without the proper training and support adoption rates will be low and poor results follow. But on this, I am sure you already know. Good training produces good habits that produce great results.

Marketing and sales nurturing processes are not aligned.

Good lead nurturing depends on getting the frequency and type of communication right. If sales and marketing work together to build multiple nurturing and sales processes for different types of leads. That allows for a more suitable form of communication for different types of leads. A simplified example of this concept is Hot, Warm and cold. Would you use the same nurturing process for a cold and a warm one, or the same for a warm lead on a hot one???  Now hot, warm and cold is not a very strong lead scoring system but I think it illustrates my point well.

If you couple this with sales and marketing having their own agendas and own scoring systems (if they have one), things could get a bit messy. Having a companywide lead scoring system will allow sales and marketing to work from the same process that both parties understand. Having both parties sitting down and producing a written sales and marketing plan together will have every one working on the same path.

Not enough engaging content that fits.

Just because you have content does not mean it’s the right content. This comes down to having different relevant content for separate nurturing process you build. Below is just one nurturing process, it’s a pretty standard 3 month lead nurturing process after a contact has downloaded content.

  • Day 1 Introductory email.
  • Day 7 Email offering content related to first download.
  • Day 15 Email from business development.
  • Day 30 Email relevant whitepaper.
  • Day 44 Call from business development.
  • Day 58 Email promoting webinar series.
  • Day 60 Call from business development offering invite to webinar.
  • Day 75 Email from business development giving benefits of a face to face chat with sales rep.
  • Day 85 Call from business development to schedule in-person meeting with sales rep.
  • Day 90 Meeting with sales rep and a new process begins with new and engaging content for the sales rep’s and marketing to follow down to a close or back to a relevant nurture funnel.

The above nurturing process is a short three month one and is just one. Companies should have multiple nurturing processes running with all content prebuilt for each one. This small process would need at least eight pieces of content built from emails to white papers and webinars. Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost. (Forrester Research).

Just one thing before we go forward, not documenting your content strategy is a recipe for disaster. I don’t think it needs much explaining whether it be a sales plan or marketing plan you would document them, content should be no different. If you have not documented theses it makes it very difficult for pe to follow and even more difficult for improvements to be slotted in. Most B2B marketers have a content marketing strategy — but only 35 percent have documented it (Content Marketing Institute).

Having the same prospect or lead in multiple funnels.

This mostly happened because of four reasons.

  1. Poor communication, each department does not or cannot communicate who they are targeting and were they are in the sales and marketing process.  A good CRM with a good data management strategy will fix this issue.
  2. Each department is holding on to its own data working on their own systems. A similar issue to the above but normally more political in nature. Each seeing the other as a competitor rather than the one company with the same goal. Regular departmental data audits will highlight this trend.
  3. Poor data management. If your data is not up-to-date, with duplicates and irrelevant contacts removed your marketing can never be truly tracked and managed effectively.
  4. No proper process in place. It’s a free for all every one contacting everything. If you don’t have nurturing staging with rules of who can contact what, you have chaos with leads and prospects getting contacted by the wrong person at the wrong time.

The simple fact is if you are contacting leads in multiple funnels the lead will start to ignore your content and it can cost you sales. More worrying if that lead has become a prospect that’s in your sales funnel all the work to get them there could be undone.

With the right technology and nurturing processes the converting of leads to sales can hit the roof.