Generating new leads is a constant challenge for companies of all sizes, and all sectors. But however successful your lead generation tactics are, attracting those leads is only half the battle. Left unattended, a huge of proportion of leads will never result in sales.
So what can you do to look after the valuable leads you have generated, guide them to become customers and maybe even turn them into ambassadors who will continue to spread your company’s message?
This article explains what lead nurturing means and why it needs to be a key element of any successful lead generation strategy.
What is lead nurturing?
Lead nurturing is all about developing relationships with your (potential) customers and delivering the information or solution they need at whatever stage of the sales funnel they’re at.
For example, a visitor who has just discovered your website and services may not be ready to become a customer just yet, whereas someone who has already filled out a contact form asking for more information is obviously at a different stage.
To gently but effectively move each of these prospects further down the funnel, they need regular and relevant communication that will hopefully result in them purchasing your product or service. Lead nurturing is especially valuable for B2B companies, who traditionally have longer sales cycles, more complex decision-making processes, and where relationships and trust are even more crucial than for B2C companies.
Three key elements of lead nurturing
While building a comprehensive lead nurturing strategy can involve many elements, here are some of the key ones to take into account:
1. Keep the conversation going
After determining interesting leads (thanks to the personas you have developed) and connecting with them (thanks to your lead generation strategy), you need to be in regular contact with them.A one-off contact is unlikely to have a lasting impact, and will definitely not be enough to nurture a lead.
You can interact with prospects by regularly sending them emails, sharing content, inviting them to events and by always being ready to answer their questions.Don’t forget to make your communications with leads and prospects as relevant and personal as possible, keeping your personas in mind.
2. Make use of analytics
There is no shortage of tools and techniques to follow up on your digital marketing campaigns and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Make sure to analyse your leads’ online behaviour on a regular basis to see which ones interact with your brand and how, and which do not show much interest.
Based on these numbers, you can ‘score’ your leads, and rank them according to their perceived value, from ‘interested’ to ‘ready for a sale’. How you determine your scoring is completely up to you, but make sure to align it across your marketing and sales team so everyone is working to the same scale.
Lastly, when working with analytics and lead scoring, it is important to stay agile and dare to change directions, so your focus is always set on the most valuable leads.
3. Focus on customer satisfaction
Your lead nurturing efforts pay off when prospects become customers. But it’s important to keep nurturing leads even after selling them your products or services.If you keep the right focus on delivering a top-quality service, set up loyalty programs and keep your customers close with regular communication, they will become even more loyal.
Get this right, and those loyal customers might even become brand ambassadors and recommend your services and products to others. And these kind of word-of-mouth recommendations are priceless!
As well as a strong lead generation campaign, make sure to devote time and effort to lead nurturing. Some companies overlook this, and in a culture where relationships are everything, this approach is sure to pay off and give you a competitive edge.
Take your time to set up campaigns, make sure your marketing and sales teams are on same page and remind yourself that the lead campaign is a constantly evolving process.
For more about B2B lead generation, take a look at our B2B lead generation guide.