Let’s be clear from the start: lead nurturing is NOT Fight Club.
There most definitely are rules for lead nurturing and the first rule is that these must be applied to succeed.
So, gather round because we’re about to outline all five of them one by one.
Hang on, what exactly is lead nurturing?
For those that slept and are looking for an overview of exactly what lead nurturing is, we provided a succinct overview of the way that you can develop prospects from funnel-entry to sales-ready in an earlier post.
Right now we’re going to lay out the ground rules that will, paradoxically, blast those sales figures sky high.
Rule #1: Align your sales and marketing departments
A common misunderstanding is to view lead nurturing as the preserve of the marketing department.
How very, very wrong!
Leads must be nurtured throughout the entire sales journey.
This means that sales must have an active stake in how the process is managed before the handover. And that, after the handover, marketing can still greatly influence the nurturing that takes place.
Rule #2: Identify and address every stage of the sales cycle
Now you are neatly aligned across sales and marketing it’s time to start gaining benefits from all your hard work. Together you can piece together a complete view of your customer journey.
At its simplest, customer journeys move from a need for generalised information toward tailored and more specific content.
To put some flesh on these bones, buyer personas can be used to determine exactly what type of information would be most useful to each of your audiences at different touchpoints.
And, voila, you have effectively created a lead nurturing strategy.
Rule #3: Automate to personalise and segment
Automation is theoretically not essential for lead nurturing, but theory alone has never brought in a sale.
In practice, successful lead nurturing is delivered by marketing automation solutions and CRMs.
These not only make things easier – they also make things smarter and more effective and, by linking your CRM and automation tools, you also create greater transparency and alignment between marketing and sales.
Automated distribution brings productivity gains and ensures prospects and touchpoints do not fall between the cracks of your busy daily schedule.
Automation also enables greater personalisation and increased contextual relevance of communication.
As the data you build up gets more comprehensive your campaigns can use smarter ways to segment prospects and thus increase the relevancy of the content you share further.
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Rule #4: Keep on track with tracking
Data helps you understand your customers – it’s nice like that.
But data should also be helping you understand yourself – in particular, the success of your marketing campaigns, including your lead nurturing strategy.
Hint: without a bedrock of metrics and KPIs your data will never ground your understanding. Get these in place or risk floating through a sea of unfathomable figures.
Rule #5: Opt to optimise
Let’s keep the maths simple as we sum up optimisation.
Customer journey mapping + Content marketing = More and more useful data
More and more useful data + Understanding = Effective action
That customer journey is just the start of the road to optimisation: use the data you gain from addressing it to loop back and improve your understanding of it and response to it.
Here’s some examples of that virtuous loop in practice::
Profiling leads progressively Smart forms can collect a bare minimum of information first of all as an easy entry point for prospects. But, as your prospect interacts more with your content, you automatically collect more information about them to further nurture and qualify them.
Landing page optimisation and segmentation Test CTAs, button design, length, imagery, headlines, forms and don’t just go with a winner but review to see if there is a ‘type’ of prospect who prefers A over B. And then segment (and test again).