If you’ve invested time into learning about B2B lead generation and how it can benefit your business, you’ve probably heard about lead nurturing. Lead nurturing is the process of developing relationships with prospects throughout every stage of the sales funnel and throughout every step of the buying journey. Nurturing involves listening to the needs and concerns of prospects and consistently following up with them to stay top of mind.
Even if you’re familiar with the concept of lead nurturing, that doesn’t mean you’ve mastered how to do it. While it may sound simple, nurturing a B2B lead requires a well-thought-out process as well as patience and persistence. It may take time to perfect your strategy, but when you do, it’ll be so worth it. Because when you nurture leads the right way, you close more deals.
Here are some tips for how to properly nurture a B2B lead so that you can close more deals and grow your business.
While lead nurturing is important for any B2B business, no two businesses are alike. For this reason and many others, creating a lead nurturing campaign specifically for your B2B business is extremely important. A lead nurturing campaign helps you meet customers where they are at in every stage of the sales funnel. The different components of a lead nurturing campaign are what help you guide, educate, and delight buyers and ultimately close more deals.
A lead nurture campaign is also important because it’s not very likely that any prospect will make a purchase the first time you contact them. An opportunity is born when the right target, the right message, and the right timing intersect. Often, you reach the right person with the right message, but the timing is off. This is when lead nurturing begins.
It is absolutely essential in B2B sales that you add value throughout the nurture process. This means sending meaningful messages and useful content like case studies. This does not mean annoying the prospect constantly, it means catering the right message at specific time intervals. Here are the key components of a successful lead nurturing campaign:
You don’t know how a particular point of contact is going to respond (or if they will respond at all), so you have to mix it up. One prospect may be more apt to respond via email, while another may be more likely to answer their phone. For inbound leads browsing the web, one person may be more active and reachable on social media, while another is probably searching Google for the products or services they need. You need to cover all of your bases.
To generate opportunities, you need to make sure you’re using the following forms of communication when nurturing leads:
Phone—call leads at appropriate time intervals and record great notes in your CRM.
Email—have a process for when you send certain types of emails; send personalized messages to produce better results and provide valuable content when possible (links to landing pages, case studies, etc.)
Social Media—optimize your pages, use direct messaging features, and run paid ads.
Website—optimize your website for search engines so that you are the first company a buyer sees when they search for your products or services.
Even with a lead who prefers a certain type of communication, you have to mix it up. Any good lead nurturing campaign varies the forms of communication used with a prospect throughout the nurture process. If you’re actively pursuing a lead, they should be receiving emails, calls, and any other form of communication that will provide value.
Nurture content is an extremely important component of a successful lead nurture campaign. Without the right content, you’re missing a key component of timing, target, message, and therefore, you won’t be successful in generating as many opportunities.
Here are some tips for developing the best possible content for your lead nurture campaigns:
- Send personalized emails. While triggered emails can help you immensely in a lead nurturing campaign, personalized emails with valuable content are very important. Show your prospects how you’ve helped a company similar to theirs with a case study. Or, just keep it simple and send a brochure. Any form of content you can send that will provide value helps you build a stronger relationship.
- Work on website content. Not only can blogs be great resources to send to prospects in your sales funnel, but great content also helps you drive more traffic to your website. When users find your website on their own terms (inbound lead generation), you can close a deal a lot more quickly, because they’re likely already in the market for the products or services you offer. Even if you don’t close a deal right away, if you capture their information through a contact form, you can then start nurturing that prospect.
- Create content for all stages of the buyer’s journey. There are three main stages to the buyer’s journey:
- The Awareness Stage
- The Consideration Stage
- The Decision Stage
The messaging at each stage should change. You’re not going to send the same message to a prospect who just knows your company name as you are to a prospect who is close to making a decision. Change your message based on where prospects are at in their buying journey. For example, you might send a blog to a prospect in the awareness stage to show them you’re a trusted resource in the industry. But, for a prospect in the decision stage, you might send a quote or offer a free consultation.
We’ve already talked about the importance of reaching the right target with the right message. But what about timing? This is probably the most important of the three intersection points, but it’s the most difficult to get right. It’s very hard to reach a prospect at the right time; but, if you are persistent and follow up at the right time(s), you’ll eventually reach them when it’s the right time for them to buy.
Here are a few ways to ensure you’re following up with leads in a timely manner:
- Utilize your CRM. Your CRM is your best friend when nurturing leads. In your CRM, you can keep track of all the leads currently in your pipeline and take notes on each conversation you have. This way, you never forget about important conversations you had with a potential customer. You can also set reminders for yourself to follow up on a certain date. This is extremely important, especially if a prospect tells you they’ll be re-evaluating providers in X months.
- Create messages for every stage of the funnel. Any great lead nurturing campaign has content that guides buyers from one stage of the sales funnel to the next. For example, you should have an intro email that you send to a prospect after the first time you speak with them on the phone. You should also have an email for a prospect who says they’re not interested right now, who expresses interest, and who says they might be interested in the future. You need to have some sort of automated email campaign going, it will help you to close more deals and manage your pipeline better. At the same time, it’s also important to send personalized emails when appropriate.
Multiple touchpoints will help you to stay top of mind with a prospect. Plus, when done right, you’re not so much bothering the prospect as you are developing a relationship with them. This is how you create long-term customers.
Lead nurturing never stops, and if you can outlast your competitors, you’ll win by default every time. Salespeople are not paid to nurture, they’re paid to close deals. What many good B2B sales reps don’t know, however, is that you close more deals if you’re nurturing leads. This is true for any industry. For example, it’s not likely that a lot of companies (or any for that matter) will be looking for new HVAC services the first time you contact them. It takes a LONG time of nurturing multiple contacts to get an opportunity. Many sales reps don’t have the patience or don’t see that it’s worth their time to pursue a lead for years when they could just move on to someone who is interested right now, but nurturing will result in more deals.
There is something powerful about delivering the right marketing messages to the right prospects at exactly the right times, and lead nurturing will help you achieve this. If you’re not sure where, to begin with building a lead nurturing campaign, leave it to the experts. At Abstrakt Marketing Group, B2B lead nurturing services are our bread and butter. It’s how we’ve been able to successfully close so many huge deals for our client partners. To get started with your own B2B lead generation program and nurture the right leads, contact us today.