Lead management is arguably the top sales and marketing priority for B2B businesses. Often, lead generation receives the most attention, yet lead nurturing is equally essential. Why? It is wasteful to acquire leads and not do any work nurturing and converting them.
B2B lead nurturing is the process where your business actively engages and creates relationships with prospects. It is often through content and other marketing communication. Why is this necessary? To convert leads to purchasing customers!
This guide will show you all you need to know about lead nurturing for your B2B firm and how to make the best of it.
The Lead Nurturing Process
Lead nurturing processes represent the marketing activities you perform using different channels to engage your B2B prospects and prepare them for sales. It's a mix of marketing actions your business undertakes to share information or educate business-type leads to turn them into active purchasers.
Lead nurturing naturally follows lead generation.
Due to the complex nature of B2B business transactions, businesses utilize digital and offline channels in their B2B lead nurturing strategy.
B2B lead nurturing has a longer sales cycle than B2C. Value addition through information sharing is the primary goal, not hard selling.
B2B lead nurturing entails an in-depth understanding of different prospects that may sometimes be very different from each other.
It is an ongoing process with every new lead that enters the pipeline.
You can automate the process since it is mostly repetitive.
Benefits of Lead Nurturing
There are several benefits of an effective lead nurturing strategy to B2B businesses that include:
Increases conversion rates
Lead nurturing involves content sharing with your prospects. With more information available, it is easier to convince them of your product's value, pushing them to make purchases.
Leads who find the content useful will likely share it with their peers or refer them to it. When they share your content, it boosts brand awareness and credibility, thus easing your lead generation efforts.
Longer Customer Life Value
Well-nurtured leads are likely to be more satisfied, happier, and have a longer Customer Life Value (CLV). Data shows that well-nurtured customers would drive higher sales and revenues over time than cold leads. In other words, you get optimal conversions when lead nurturing is spot on.
Metrics don't lie. You can gain valuable insights from the data you collect through lead nurturing. It helps you understand what your prospects respond to. In turn, this guides your marketing activities like content creation.
The Most Effective Lead Nurturing Channels
There is no one-size-fits-all with B2B lead nurturing channels. You must actively test and select suitable channels depending on your offering, the lead’s characteristics, and insights gained from the metrics.
Some B2B channels you can pick from include LinkedIn, email marketing, webinars or podcasts, follow-up, or cold phone calls.
Each firm must analyze and select channels relevant to its product or solution. The effectiveness of a B2B channel depends on;
The nature of product, solution, or service.
Complex or technical solutions, for example, will warrant a different approach from simple offerings. It would call for more product details in communications, visuals, personalized emails, etc. Such would mean avenues like social media are not the best option.
The decision-making hierarchy
Pricing- expensive and capital-intensive products involve multiple decision makers, teams, or budget controllers with different personas. In a team, each member needs different info that addresses their pain points or objectives. Figuring out the channel that works for each buyer persona determines how effective your lead nurturing efforts will be.
The buyer persona
Where do they hang out, source their information, and seek product knowledge and insights? Knowing where each segment gets their info helps decide the most appropriate channels to share the data.
The nature of the message or information you want to share partly dictates the most appropriate channel. You can share links to downloadable lead magnets, reports, and product fact sheets via email. Complex explainer content, for instance, would work better with videos on YouTube, webinars, etc.
Understanding these factors would also help you determine the most appropriate way to promote/distribute the content on these channels.
Some effective B2B Lead channels include:
These channels are growing increasingly effective for B2B lead nurturing, especially LinkedIn. Many professionals now use these platforms, making it easy to communicate with them. It also has powerful features and alerts for activities such as webinars, training, etc.
Emails are still arguably the most effective tool for personalized communication in the B2B space. Email automation tools also enable integration with your other enterprise tools. So, it makes it easy to use data from different sources and also generate metrics.
Lead nurturing using these channels tends to be quite effective. They are excellent for sharing complex features, launching new capabilities, showing thought leadership and making strategic announcements that can trigger faster lead action.
One-on-one meetings and presentations:
Depending on solution complexity and the lead's stage in the sales funnel, you can hasten their decision-making process with a one-on-one meeting. This channel is beneficial when dealing with teams or multiple decision-makers.
You can shorten decision periods drastically just by getting users, influencers, and budget controllers in one session. It's also perfect for product demo requests.
Workshops and trade conferences
Like webinars and podcasts, inviting leads to such events can accelerate movement along the sales funnels for faster purchases. Workshops also convert quicker due to experience-based reviews and testimonials.
Phone calls to support digital channels
For complex solutions, depending on insights garnered from the analytics, you can use phone calls to reinforce messages shared using this channel.
Best Practices For Effective Lead Nurturing
To get the best out of your lead nurturing process, you must pay attention to:
It helps to group your leads according to similarities, needs, demographics, etc. With that, it becomes easy to draft the right content and determine the proper channels. Your nurturing tactics will be more effective when directed to the right audience.
Timing of content sharing
It is more effective to share information when your prospects are more likely to engage with it. So with such details, you can automate your content creation and sharing so that your communications go out at the right time.
Often, your leads require a human touch. Research shows that people generally prefer to communicate with humans than robots. Often, they also have complex concerns that AI may not be able to address.
So, by remaining personal with your communications, you generate trust and, in turn, drive higher conversions.
Selecting the right platforms
After segmentation, select the most optimal channels for each group of leads for a successful engagement. Employing an omnichannel strategy is one way of achieving this on a larger scale. That way, you are nurturing all your leads appropriately and maximizing their chances for conversion.
Personalized Content Creation
As every lead is different, you want to create content that is customized to each one’s unique needs. It generates trust since they receive the answers they need, not generic messages. B2B research shows that leads are more likely to engage with personalized messages. So, this approach could increase your conversion rates in the long run.
The first step to doing this effectively is researching and creating buyer personas for your prospective leads. Understanding who they are would then help you develop appropriate content and strategies. Explore our solution on persona based nurturing for more information on how to leverage marketing automation for nurturing buyer personas.
How Marketing Automation Can Help Your Lead Nurturing Strategy
Marketing automation tools can help you conduct effective lead nurturing strategies across different solutions.
These range from high-end multipurpose CRMs to singular purpose tools such as email software, content sharing, marketing scheduling tools, or Apps.
Automation tools share information with the prospects based on specific triggers, customer actions, or behaviors. They enable easy scheduling and sharing of relevant information or knowledge for faster progress in the sales funnel.
Most automation tools also have an analytics capability for data visualization and analysis.
Benefits of Marketing Automation in the Lead Nurturing Process
Eliminates manual leads management
Manual, repetitive responses are tedious, time-consuming, and prone to personal biases and individual interpretation. Automation helps to streamline goals and actions, managing your daily marketing tasks for maximum engagement with the prospects.
Aids planning and scheduling
Marketing automation dictates that the players in the marketing and related departments should plan for an effective campaign. You must prepare all relevant activities, from content creation, scheduling, tools acquisition, analytics and maintenance.
Facilitates standardization and measurement
Standardization helps measure objectives. And automation helps set such common marketing goals to predict activities easily and measure expected outcomes. As such, it also aids in monitoring and managing leads while making it easier to adjust content even after sharing.
It helps you achieve omnichannel optimization.
With automation, you can roll out a multiple touch point strategy to communicate intended messages, clear mental barriers, answer questions to quicken conviction about offered benefits, and arouse brand association.
Effective lead nurturing makes all the difference in your marketing efforts. It focuses on your client's needs and addresses them. It involves understanding your leads and segmenting them by similarities, followed by creating and sharing content that addresses their needs and pain points.
Identifying the suitable channels to share info and insights with your leads affects the success and effectiveness of your lead management strategy.
Luckily, businesses can automate the process to achieve scalability and use the metrics to make data-driven lead nurturing decisions.
You can achieve automated lead nurturing with various tools. For a seamless omnichannel engagement with prospects, you can choose from single-purpose software to complex end-to-end CRMs that employ machine learning and AI capabilities.
Unsure of how to make your lead nurturing process more effective, reach out to our team today!