You see a gorgeous girl (or guy) at a party. You go up to them and say, “I’m a fantastic catch, you should go on a date with me.”
That’s Direct Marketing.
You’re at a party with a bunch of friends and see a beautiful guy/girl. One of your friends goes up to her and pointing at you says, “He’s a fantastic person, kind and interesting. You two should go on a date.”
You see someone you’re interested in dating at a party. You go up to them and get their telephone number. The next day you call and say, “Hi, I’m a real catch, we should date.”
You’re at a party and see a gorgeous girl/guy. You run to the bathroom and make sure your hair is neat and your clothes are smart. You go up to them and pour them a drink and offer them a cocktail snack. You praise them for their clothes and style, take interest in what they like to talk about. At the end of the evening you offer them a ride home, and then say, “By the way, I’m quite the catch, let’s go on a date.”
That’s Public Relations.
You’re at a party and see someone worth dating. They walk up to you and say, I hear you’re quite the catch, let’s go on a date.”
That’s Brand Recognition.
You’re on your way to a party when you realise that there are thousands of potential partners in all the houses you’re passing. So you climb onto the roof of one situated in the middle and shout at the top of your voice, “I’m a real catch and fantastic in bed!”
That’s Mass Marketing.
You’re at the same party and one of the people you’re interested in falls for your technique. They say they’re interested in you and agree to go on a date. On that first date you ask them to marry you.
That’s why you need Lead Nurturing in business marketing.
Most people don’t ask someone to marry them on the first date. We all know that making a decision like that isn’t taken lightly. So why should your dealings with customers be any different? In business marketing, you don’t expect to close a customer the first time you meet them at a networking event. So why do you think someone will stumble across your website and buy what you’re selling?
People operate on their own schedule. They’re not ready to buy when you want them to buy. According to the Aberdeen Group, it takes 10 marketing-driven “touches” on average to progress a lead from the top of the funnel to a customer.
As someone focusing on business marketing, how do you create those touch points in a scalable and affordable way? The answer is lead nurturing.
What is Lead Nurturing?
Lead nurturing is the process of building relationships with potential clients (people who are likely to have a need for your product, service or solution) and moving them down your sales funnel from:
until they are ready to buy.
Effective lead nurturing focuses regular communication on listening to the needs of prospects, the drivers and objections and providing the information and they need to move through to the next stage of your sales funnel. Through regular email marketing, whitepapers, blog posts, through to additional sales calls, a lead nurturing program provides multiple opportunities for a business to communicate with its customers and prospects.
Lead nurturing allows you to capture the attention of someone who’s interested in what you do, regardless of their timing to buy, so that you earn their business when they are ready to buy.
The Benefits of Lead Nurturing
With an effective lead nurturing program for your business marketing, more of your prospects are converted into sales. At the same time, your marketing Return On Investment is also better as you don’t lose as many prospects.
Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at a 33% lower cost (Marketo).
There are three key benefits of lead nurturing:
- Generate more sales leads with no more investment — You have already allocated your marketing budget to build a sales funnel of new prospects. Lead nurturing makes it easier to continue to reach out to those prospects without spending any more marketing dollars. A DemandGen Report found nurtured leads yield a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads on average.
- Be seen as a trusted advisor with your prospects — Lead nurturing builds relationships through credibility and trust by providing relevant and useful information. B2B purchase decisions are often complicated, whether it is about switching from one supplier to another or trying a new service. If buyers believe that you understand their problems and you provide information and answers to the questions they have, you will be seen favourably and have a greater chance of being selected.
- Smarketing: enhancing your sales/marketing alignment — Lead nurturing reduces the number of leads from marketing activities that are ignored by sales by as much as 80%. Only 25% of leads developed by marketing are legitimate and should advance to sales. (Source: Gleanster). But with a lead nurturing program in place, leads become better qualified and interested so that your sales team can work with them to close.