Market One Blog

The Keys to Lead Nurturing for Long Buying Cycles

Posted by Paul Patrizi on Tue, Jun 21, 2016 @ 07:54

Sales cycles for complex products can last for months or even years.  To keep the deal alive, your best approach will likely be a combination of several communication channels.

With the right team of hybrid professionals in place, they can deploy a multi-channel process for building relationships, nurturing leads and keeping you top-of-mind with your future customers.   

Over the years, we have seen this proven process in corporate phone calls, email, direct mail social media and content marketing.  The content could include emails, white papers, how-to guides, thought papers, videos, infographics or even direct mail.

It is important that you develop the most effective sequence and cadence for touching your prospective iStock_000048712416_Medium-Pie_chart_down_road.jpgcustomers, building relationships and delivering the right information at the right time.  Marketing Automation plays an important role in ensuring that each prospect receives the most relevant messages at the most opportune times. 

As for the call center channel, trained and experienced Business Development Specialists help build rapport with friendly, two-way conversations providing valuable information while learning about your prospect’s needs, decision making process and more.  Using this intel, BDS teams keep the prospect engaged and help move the sales process forward.

Your messaging needs to resonate with each and every persona so it is critical that you identify your buyer personas and establish a content map for each persona.  This allows you to develop and deliver relevant content and offers for each stage of the buying cycle. 

There is always room for improvement.  That is why you should always test, analyze and optimize tactics to ensure best results.  Here are some key components to lead nurturing campaigns that will help you win the day in a long buying cycle deal.

1.     Determine Your Goal

What is it that you are specifically trying to accomplish with lead nurturing.  Are you trying to revive cold or old leads? Increase your lead quality? Generate new leads?  Regardless of the goal, the fundamental principles and strategies remain constant. 

KEY: Make your goals measureable

However, before you set the goal of your lead generation campaign, you need to understand what actions make a lead sales-ready.  For example, if a visitor converts on a whitepaper, they could simply be entering the initial phase of their research journey and may not be ready to speak with a sales rep.  Therefore, you should enter them into a lead nurturing work flow that further qualifies them.  If that visitor returns and requests a demo, that’s a much better indication that they are ready to buy.

 2.     Establish Your Personas

Understanding buyer personas helps you solve the problems they are having.  Remember, personas are not titles, rather, they are a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.

Key:  Personas are not titles

When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better.

Buyer personas provide tremendous structure and insight for your company. A detailed buyer persona will help you determine where to focus your time, guide product development, and allow for alignment across the organization. As a result, you will be able to attract the most valuable visitors, leads, and customers to your business.

3.     Re-purpose Existing Content

Now that you’ve decided what makes a person sales-ready, you can choose which content

you should send to your fresh leads. As you might have figured out by now, content is a key piece to any lead nurturing campaign.  Just because someone converts on your website, doesn’t mean you should jump straight into sending them an email about requesting a quote or a demo. You need to nurture them through the sales funnel first to make them readier to buy.

KEY: Instead of pitching your product as the greatest thing ever, you should first offer value.

Examples of valuable offers include videos, webinars, ebooks, blog posts, and whitepapers.  You don’t have to create new content for your lead nurturing emails.  If you have a backlog of content, utilize those assets. If they’ve been successful at converting leads in the past, there’s a high chance the leads you’re nurturing now will find value in them, too.

4.     Set Up a Sequence and Cadence

Your business has a typical sales cycle, and so should your lead nurturing campaigns. Typically, it’s a good idea to send two to three emails to your prospects in a lead nurturing campaign combined with outbound telephone calls to accelerate top-of-mind awareness for your product or service.

Key: 75% of leads buy within 18-24 months.

This means you might want to space out your emails and phone calls on a monthly basis.  With lead nurturing, patience is a virtue. It’s important to remember not to rush into the sale.  Instead, let it take its natural course.  Don’t be afraid to experiment with different times and see what resonates with your audience best.  For example, if your typical cycle runs 30 days, you may want to set up a campaign for emails to be sent out on the 1st, 10th, and 20th days after a conversion.

5.     Measure and Improve

The last step in setting up a lead nurturing campaign is to ensure the accurate tracking of your emails.  You need to make sure you know what’s working and what’s not so you can continue to improve.

KEY:  Have metrics in place that tie to your goals set in step one.

Looking to drive branding and awareness? Measure branded search or direct traffic to your website. Looking to increase lead quality? Measure quality conversions or lead ratings over time. Interested in generating new leads or email opt-ins? Measure how you’re growing your database from your lead nurturing efforts.

As your campaigns run, make sure to experiment with the offers you send, the subject lines, and the calls-to-action found within the email.  There’s always room to improve your campaign. .    

For a more detailed roadmap on lead nurturing best practices, click on the link below and give us a holler.

 Contact Us

Happy Nurturing!

Your Market One Digital Team

Topics: sales leads, lead management, lead nurturing