Did you know that 57% of B2B organizations identify 'converting qualified leads into paying customers' as a top priority? We’re surprised the number isn’t bigger. Neglected leads may be one of your company’s largest untapped resources. After all, these individuals have already identified themselves as being interested in your industry and the products or services you offer. These contacts have already engaged with your brand. They may just need a little nurturing to convert. Want to establish a lead nurturing strategy that delivers real results? You’ve come to the right place.
Why Is Lead Nurturing Important?
Before you can craft an effective lead nurturing strategy, you first need to understand its potential value. Lead nurturing is one of the most important parts of the sales funnel. Unfortunately, it’s often also the most neglected. Why? Part of the problem may be that sales and marketing professionals don’t fully understand why it’s so critical. If you’ve questioned the necessity of a solid lead nurturing strategy, these statistics might change your mind:
Surprising Lead Nurturing Statistics
- 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first.
- Companies which excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost.
- Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.
- When companies excel at lead nurturing, 9% more sales reps make their quotas.
- Nurtured leads produce 20% more sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads.
When it comes to positive lead nurturing statistics, these are just the tip of the iceberg—but the story they tell is a clear one. Lead nurturing has real, lasting impact on sales and success. If you’re ready to elevate your own lead nurturing strategy, try these tips:
1. Create Automated Lead Nurturing Campaigns
How much time does it take your brand to create and deliver a marketing campaign? Top-level campaigns can be a major investment, not just of money, but of time. Campaign creation takes time, and since 35-50% of sales go to the fastest responder, time is money. Automated marketing campaigns can help.
Automated, or “trigger” marketing campaigns send highly-personalized communication like emails, digital ads, or direct mail to leads who complete a specific action. Leads who do things like abandon a shopping cart, view a specific landing page, or request a price quote can each receive a message that will inspire them to take the next step.
Gartner Research found that companies that automate lead management see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in six to nine months. Delivering emails or direct mail pieces only when leads complete a certain action can also cut down on costs.
2. Get Social to Bridge the Gap
One of the most basic goals of lead nurturing is staying at the top of the buyer’s mind. 50% of leads are qualified but not yet ready to buy. For these leads, even the most targeted, relevant email or direct mail piece won’t inspire immediate conversion. Many leads won’t cross the buying threshold until they’ll ready. When they are, your brand should be at the top of their list.
One of the most effective ways to create a memorable connection is through social media. Want to create a social media presence that nurtures leads and inspires conversion? Try some of these ideas:
- Turn a testimonial from your most well-known client into an eye-catching graphic.
- Don’t just post your own content: share posts from industry experts. Do you find a post relevant and interesting? Chances are your leads will too!
- Stay connected with the prospects’ social media accounts and comment or share their content when applicable. This will help you stay top of mind with them and let you learn about their priorities to better understand their needs.
- Only “push” sales in 10-20% of posts. For more effective lead nurturing, focus on providing information, value, and the kinds of posts that beg for engagement.
- Remember to check messages at least once a day. Your average response rate should never exceed the 24 hour mark.
- Host a contest or giveaway. B2B and SaaS providers can try offering free entry to webinars, a free month of service, or similar great prizes.
- For brick-and-mortar retailers or businesses hosting events, consider offering a special offer or discount for those who “check in” online.
- Update cover photos to showcase new products, special offers, and events.
- Showcase a fan/client/customer of the month to show potential leads how popular your brand is and how much you value consumers.
Above all, make sure to check your accounts from the user’s point of view. It’s easy to miss broken images, strange formatting, or duplicate posts if you rely on social media schedulers like HubSpot and HootSuite alone.
3. Build Loyalty With a Personalized Thank You
Potential customers aren’t the only contacts worth nurturing. Did you know that past customers have a 60-70% chance of converting again? What’s more, those who’ve purchased your products or services twice are nine times more likely to buy again. Putting in a little extra effort to make these customers and clients feel valued is definitely worth it.
Want to nurture past customers into returning to make another purchase? Send them a personalized thank you note. Based on your number of sales, it may not be possible for your CEO to pencil in some time every day to write thank you notes by hand. Luckily, they don’t need to. Digital handwriting technology from Simply Written allows brands to create personalized thank you notes and other direct mail pieces without ever picking up a pen.
Thank you notes can be sent automatically each time a customer makes a purchase. You can even limit the type of purchase to only send thank yous for purchases of specific products or, for overcoming specific nonprofit challenges, for donors of major gifts. Of course, personalized notes and messages don’t need to be limited to thank you notes. Personalized, digitally handwritten messages can be sent for birthdays, major brand announcements, special offers and more.
4. Hit Your Marketing Automation “Sweet Spot”
How often does your sales team reach out to potential leads? What about your marketing team? If your digital and direct marketing messages are being created from scratch and mass-mailed at irregular intervals, your leads aren’t being nurtured as they should.
Marketing automation plays a major role in resolving this issue. But how often should brands send things like newsletters? If you touch base too sporadically, consumers may forget about your brand when you’re absent from their mailbox. Overwhelm them with messages and you’ll just end up in the spam folder (or garbage can!) Luckily there is data that suggests marketers have discovered a sort of “sweet spot” when it comes to automated marketing frequencies.
According to MarketingSherpa, the smallest percentage of B2B organizations touch leads with lead nurturing on a daily basis (9%). The largest percentage (34%) opt instead to reach out on a monthly basis. Try altering your timeline to touch base and nurture leads once a month. Remember to alternate the way you connect, whether it's through a silo-specific newsletter, direct mail piece, personal email, or when appropriate, even a phone call. Different forms of communication will resonate with different leads. Plus, mixing things up will prevent leads from feeling like they’re being spammed with duplicate content.
5. Keep Playing Your Highlight Reel
Above all, lead nurturing communications should always be relevant to the lead. But how can you be sure the email, brochure, or social media message you’re sending will be delivered to an interested recipient?
The simplest way to ensure communication is relevant to your leads is to base it on their own experiences. Use those experiences to generate content that provides additional value. Did your lead download a whitepaper or e-book on a specific topic? Send them a personalized message the next time you cover that same topic on your brand’s blog. Did they attend a webinar? Email them with a recap of important takeaways and offer them video and audio recordings they can listen to at their convenience? Did your company host an in-person training event, conference, or fundraiser? Create a short video of its best moments.
Continue to leverage the information and content you have now, and brainstorm new ways to deliver it in other formats. Leads who’ve already expressed interest will be nurtured and engaged when you touch base in a relevant way.
As you try these effective lead nurturing strategies, don’t keep your efforts to yourself. Create and share an internal document highlighting your brand’s best practices for lead generation, nurturing, and conversion. Remember, your sales and marketing teams work best when they work in harmony. So make sure everyone is on the same page to create a buyer’s journey free of detours.
Which one of these lead nurturing strategies will you adopt this quarter? Comment below to let us know!