Part II: 7 Effective Approaches to Lead Nurturing
In our previous blog – Optimize your Sales Funnel with CRM – we learnt how to avoid clogging of the Sales Funnel with the help of a CRM software. However, the essence of a well-oiled and smooth functioning Sales Funnel is Leads. For many companies, even the large one, maintaining fully defined sales funnel functionality is critical to envisage the sales funnel processing, how the new prospects are converted into sales lead and finally land up becoming a promising customers at the bottom of the funnel.
The most important part of a sales funnel is right at the start – Categorizing and moving leads. For a smooth lead flow, there is a lot of effort that needs to be put behind the leads so that they do not clog up the whole funnel. For the uninitiated, leads are classified into two categories – Marketing leads and Sales leads. Marketing leads exist at the top of the funnel and Sales leads exist at the bottom of the funnel. Once the marketing team nurtures the leads, they are passed onto sales team. Lead nurturing is a marketing function that helps the leads to move from cold to warm to hot stage.
What is Lead Nurturing?
Lead nurturing is the process of improving relationships with such prospects who are not currently ready to buy but could be a promising customer in future. Marketing statistics gives a clear picture of how valuable lead nurturing is for businesses. The goal of this process is to build trust and awareness among prospects and educate them about your product and organization in a way that the client will more likely choose you when it is time to buy.
Here are the effective approaches to Lead Nurturing:
- Authenticate the source –
There may be various sources from where the company gets its leads – organic, Paid Ads, Referrals, online, offline, etc. The first step even before qualifying the lead should be authenticate and qualify the sources. For e.g. the company may have experienced that paid leads do not qualify and mostly are junk enquiries or that referrals are very strong and their leads can convert faster. The team can categorize and mark the sources so that the leads with more opportunities to convert faster can be pushed ahead and leads with slower cycle can be kept for nurturing.
- Analyze the effectiveness of the source –
Only identifying and moving leads from favoured sources is not enough. One needs to analyse the effectiveness of the source and see to it that the source, over time, generates better leads. Like mentioned above, if the marketing team realises that they are getting better leads from organic medium and not from paid, they can take efforts to strengthen the organic medium and analyse and better the paid medium. The team can also decide whether to continue with the present strategy or to shut down any medium to gain efficient ROI.
- Use lead scoring –
Marketing and sales need to toil together to develop an effective lead scoring strategy. Lead scoring is an important part of lead nurturing process. It gives a brief idea about where a particular lead stands in a brand’s buying model. Lead scoring helps in determining which leads the sales team should concentrate more on and which shall take time. This helps in efficient lead management and movement.
- Personalized Content –
With all data that we collect by the aforementioned mediums, we should use that to create tailored content according to one’s interest and behaviour. Think out of the box content. Your marketing content should appear more personal. Categorizing leads and setting up different email campaigns with A/B testing should make the clients open the mail and click on your links. Emails should never appear automated. Always provide a contact person’s name with their details and customize the mails so that it does not look automated. Avoid using tags like “Dear Client”, “Dear User”.
- Finding customer touchpoints –
Determine your customer touchpoints by shortlisting all the possible ways through which your customers might come into contact with your brand. Some of the touchpoints can be social media, ratings and review, marketing, advertising, testimonials, sales team, word of mouth etc. However, it can vary from time to time depending on your business. In today’s era, it is important to be present everywhere but the same amount of efforts need not be used for every medium. E.g., The Company can be very active on LinkedIn but be passive on Facebook. B2B and B2C companies vary in their touchpoints and need to leverage the right medium to reach the consumer.
- Define frequency of communication –
Nurturing a consumer does not mean that the consumer be bombarded with emails or SMSs. The team along with their sales counterpart can sit and decide what communication needs to go to the consumer and at what intervals. The content is an important part of the communication itself. It can be about a new update or a new client acquisition or even of the company has won a new award or launched another office in a new place. Different mix of content keeps the consumer informed and looking for more. They can look up to you as a company that undertakes a lot of initiative and is growing.
- Sales and Marketing Alignment –
Sales and marketing efforts should be aligned to keep the lead flow smooth. Passing of information is critical to any function and the same applies to leads. Information that is passed on to the leads should be in accordance with the development happening in the sales team and company policies. It is essential that the sales and marketing team need to be on the same page so that none of the department and prospect is confused in case any development takes place.