No it's not an ancient mystical riddle or Rubik's Cube. Lead nurturing should actually start at the very beginning of your sales and marketing campaign, not after lead conversion. Instead of thinking about lead nurturing as a series of post-conversion events, why not plan for the sale and work backwards? Why not envision your customer as a done deal, then figure out how you got there and plan for the next sale? Here are a few things you can do up-front to make sure that your lead nurturing campaigns deliver the goods.
Study the habits of your customers with lead intelligence tools. Who are they and how did they find you? What were the conversion assists that got your sales leads from the top of the funnel to the bottom? How many touches did it take and what content did they download or view prior to reaching out for a sales call? You should see some patterns developing, for example:
Armed with this information you can develop more effective lead nurturing campaigns that match perfectly with each demand generation campaign or channel.
By planning and developing demand generation and lead nurturing campaigns at the same time, you can take a more wholistic view of the sales cycle from a marketing perspective. Now that you know who your likely customers are and how they behave, you can reverse engineer the process and map content for each stage in the buyer cycle and each touch point along the path. For example, you know from lead intelligence that your likely buyers are marketing VPs and that they are interested in your TOFU whitepaper on buyer personas. You also know that they don't attend webinars, but they do want to know more about content mapping to buyer personas. You also know that they tend to make a decision within 3-5 steps. So your VP targeted campaign might look like this:
This is vital information, as well. Go back and see where the interest level appeared to drop off. Too many emails? Wrong subject matter? Content too salesy? Moved down the funnel too soon? You may need to revise your reverse-engineered customer conversion model, but don't be too quick on the trigger. Give statistics a chance to find the real trends.
The bottom line is that you shouldn't look at marketing as anything but a continuum with a coherent, dynamic strategy. Persona development, content mapping, lead generation and lead nurturing should all be planned at once from the perspective of a buyer, not as a fishing expedition trying a bunch of different baits. By doing so, you have the best chance to attract real buyers into the top of the funnel and move them down towards a sale more efficiently. This in turn can shorten the sales cycle and improve revenue generation.
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Are you a medium- or large-sized business marketer? Discover the 4 critical steps to lead nurturing campaigns with this helpful guide.
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