Lead nurturing, which occurs in the middle of the funnel (MoFu) between lead generation and the sales hand off, is like that often ignored middle child. But at Campaign Creators like to say that we “dominate the MoFu.” We have spent the past 6 years embracing that middle child, perfecting the craft for turning leads into customers, and have made it our mission to spread our knowledge to others.
So here's a few of those insights to help you optimize your lead nurturing strategy.
This blog is part of our Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing series.
What is lead nurturing?
Lead nurturing is the process of developing relationships with buyers at every stage of the sales funnel and the buyer’s journey. After the leads are generated, it focuses on listening to their needs and providing all of the resources and support necessary to guide them towards a sale decision. Lead segmentation, content-based education, and multi-channel communication with prospects are all components of a good lead nurturing strategy.
Strategies for B2B customer acquisition vs B2C
B2B customer acquisition relies on multi-faceted, long term lead nurturing strategies. They may incorporate less ultra-personalized content as offers. A goal of B2B marketers is to educate leads while keeping content broadly applicable to its range of recipients. However, note to include personalization, still, in B2B nurturing and customer acquisition.
On the other hand, while there is a good deal of overlap between B2B and B2C lead nurturing strategies, it is important to note the distinctions between them. For instance, B2C lead nurturing and customer acquisition is rooted in email campaigns and social channels that target highly specified categories of leads with email content and offers. In part, this is made easier by the shorter sales cycles that B2C campaigns tend to be created for.
Now, let’s explore some best practices for lead nurturing specific to B2B marketing.
B2B Lead Nurturing Best Practices
Lead scoring is a rule-based methodology for ranking leads on a scale in order to distinguish which ones hold the highest potential for your company, giving your marketing and sales teams a better idea of where to focus their efforts. A lead’s score is determined by numerous criteria, including the actions taken by your prospects in the context of desired or undesirable behavior and their demographic characteristics.
Demographic scoring focuses on criteria like country, budget, industry etc. For B2B scoring in particular, these can include company size, the lead’s job level and department, company size, and revenue. Behavioral scoring, meanwhile, is scoring based on actions the lead takes that reflect interest in and engagement with your company; for example, filling out contact info forms, downloading guides, viewing site pages, registering for events, etc.
Successful lead scoring requires a thoughtfully created algorithm. Check out this article for more on the essential components of a good lead scoring model.
IF YOU ARE READY TO GET STARTED WITH A B2B LEAD NURTURING CAMPAIGN FOR YOUR COMPANY GET OUR FREE GUIDE, HOW TO CREATE LEAD NURTURING CAMPAIGN FOR STEP-BY-STEP GUIDANCE.
Let the Work Flow
After segmenting and/or scoring your leads, it’s time to implement a workflow for your lead nurturing campaign. Workflows, simply put, are a set of automated actions triggered by certain events, tailored to your lead demographics and helpful in organizing a nurturing strategy as well as bridging the gap between the efforts of the sales and marketing teams.
The workflow structure will vary depending on the length of the campaign and the leads it is intended for. However, there are several basic goals which all your workflows should aim to accomplish, including:
- Creating brand awareness
- Addressing one of your leads' pain points, possibly through relevant content offers
- Offering a longer, gated piece of content, like an ebook or a guide, which enoucrages leads to add themselves to your database
- Encouraging the lead to contact the company to become more informed about your services or, eventually, make a purchase
B2B workflows can be optimized with a thorough understanding of your sales cycle and buyer personas, as well as by “mapping” content. Content mapping refers to the process of determining which content pieces will move leads through the buyer's journey, taking inventory of existing content, and planning out new content to fit leads' needs.
A Multi-Channel Strategy
While drip email campaigns and email marketing as a whole remain relevant and effective components of the lead nurturing process, the modern B2B marketing realm calls for a diversification in outreach to leads through a variety of platforms and channels.
Multi-channel nurturing requires a combination of marketing elements including:
- email marketing
- social media
- paid retargeting
- Website content
The underlying tool behind all of these is, it may come as no surprise - marketing automation. A solid lead nurturing automation software can make or break a smoothly running drip email campaign, social calendar posting schedule, and lead analytics report. It’s crucial to do your research when selecting the software that’s a good fit for both your company and your clients.
There is nothing wrong with a little strategic recycling of existing content for your lead nurturing campaign. Lead nurturing can require heavy content production in everything from educational pieces to drip emails, so it’s only natural to repurpose material-- when and where appropriate, of course. This may actually even help to ensure the new content’s relevance to the leads and to your existing library of materials.
This can include using recordings of live webinars as video assets in the future, breaking longer whitepapers into multiple subtopics for a series of articles, or even creating a backlinking network in your blog posts. The first step to effective content recycling is creating a database or catalogue of your major content assets; from there, it will be easier to trace the possible connections between past and future pieces.
Consistent and Timely Outreach
Even with all of the advantages of technological innovation in the modern marketing world, a human touch and an outstretched hand-- both metaphorically and literally--remain effective means of building a relationship with your leads. The rate of conversion has proven be much higher among leads who are contacted immediately following a website conversion.
Utilizing data on the lead gathered through their browsing behavior and engagement with your site, as well as research on their company, it is possible to turn a phone call into a sale making opportunity. Keep in mind, however, that B2B sales tend to require longer term planning, so tailor your contact strategy accordingly and be ready to invest in repeated outreach efforts. Making the lead feel that they are top-of-mind for your company is essential to cultivating a strong relationship.
If you are ready to get started with a B2B lead nurturing campaign for your company get our free guide, How to Create Lead Nurturing Campaign for step-by-step guidance.