How to Improve Lead Nurturing Results (The Basics)

Some 42% of marketers told DemandGen they’d been practicing lead nurturing for more than two years. Nevertheless, there’s a lot of room for improvement. Savvy marketers are always on the lookout for best practices. Here are some tips on how to improve lead nurturing results.

improve lead nurture

Benefits of lead nurturing

Lead nurturing helps the marketer cultivate stronger customer relationships and improve buyer readiness by targeting communications to relevant audience segments. Specific benefits include:

  • better response to campaigns/offers due to targeting/relevancy
  • generating warmer, sales-ready leads
  • higher acceptance of leads from sales
  • lower cost for qualified leads
  • ability to capture leads earlier in their decision process and build a strong rapport earlier

Related reading: The Importance of Lead Nurturing and Scoring 

How to increase lead nurturing results

As marketers better understand the benefits, the sophistication of lead nurturing practices grows. Wondering how to improve lead nurturing results? Try these strategies.

89% of marketers use lead nurturing programs in demand generation strategy — DemandGen

1. Segment data

Understanding the customer continues to be key. Gartner predicts excelling in personalization will help organizations outsell their competitors by 20%. Some 40% of marketers are already segmenting data by area of interest while segmenting by title, role. interest or industry remain the standard, according to DemandGen.

Segmenting can improve marketing effectiveness by helping personalize customer experience with more targeted content. Intelligent segmentation can also drive better user experience design and optimization. Further, personalization success may drive better product or service pricing.

Segments are behind-the-scenes groupings of customers derived from available data. In leveraging segmentation the statistical analysis should be based on:

  • understanding the buyer’s needs
  • buyer questions and interests during the evaluation process
  • brand goals
  • existing and successful customer attributes
  • specific measurable behaviors (device, location, IP address, landing pages, browsing activity, etc)
  • explicit attitudes and values that can be quantified
  • ability to collect data collection and identify trends (yes, a segment can prove too large or too small)

improve lead nurture

Related reading: Value of Audience Segmentation Marketing

2. Create personas

If segments offer a quantitative understanding of the target audience, personas are the qualitative view. Using analysis of primary and secondary sources to observe customer needs, behaviors, challenges, and values, marketers craft a fictional story about different customer types. Personas (or ideal buyer profiles) are vital to efficiency and accuracy with inbound marketing, lead generation, and account-based marketing.

Personas for marketing

Personas for marketing

Personas are typically derived from:

  • buyer role, position, influence over deal (title, function, etc)
  • company details
  • buyer need: incentives, pain points, goals, values
  • transactional insights
  • behavioral data
  • Sometimes: demographics and psychographics

Develop several distinct profiles, and don’t forget to evolve the personas as more information is gained. Make sure that buyer personas are simple, actionable, and serve as a useful framework for authoring content, building targeted ad campaigns, and creating the nurturing infrastructure. As an added bonus, track your leads acquired based on these same persona definitions, including conversion rates, marketing activities, and deal closed or influenced.

Conversion assist timeline - HubSpot - engagement activities

HubSpot’s contacts panel for tracking lead data

Related reading: Six Steps to Better Buyer Personas

3. Employ progressive profiling

Progressive profiling uses the segments and personas to map key touchpoints and engage customers at the right moment. Marketing automation software offering dynamic or smart form fields helps the marketer progressively profile leads. With iterative forms, the marketer can designate which questions appear on a form, based on what is already known about that lead.

improve lead nurture

Progressive profiling identifies the paths personas travel, both pre- and post-purchase, then provides the relevant content along the way. Most importantly, profiling recognizes the buyer’s journey as a process and doesn’t aim to nurture leads immediately from prospect to closed sale. Profiling appreciates the nuanced differences among a lead who has just become aware of a brand and a known customer who could become a brand advocate.

Progressive profiling

28% of DemandGen respondents had an average sales cycle of three to six months.

Related reading: What is Progressive Profiling? 

4. Target content to buyer stage

Buyer behavior is increasingly difficult to predict with customers typically researching anonymously, having higher expectations and demanding more control of the process. Yet with a better understanding of buyer stage and interests, the marketer can more effectively nurture leads with targeted content.

technology content marketing through the funnel

Content offers can help you throughout the entire sales funnel, especially when targeting specific stakeholders in the sales process.

White papers (83%), on-demand webinars (63%), and thought leadership (41%) content are the most successful gated content, per DemandGen’s study.

44% marketers cite white papers as working best within nurture programs — DemandGen

Related reading: B2B Marketing Builds Brand Authority with Quality Content 

Lead nurturing involves building a relationship and sharing relevant content with warm leads who aren’t yet ready to make a purchasing decision. This ensures that when they are ready, your company wins their business. These tips can help improve lead nurturing results while developing more meaningful interactions with buyers that lead to higher close and response rates.

SOURCES:

How to Improve Lead Nurturing Results Sources
Kihn, M. and Sorofman, J. (2016). The Big Flip: How to Graduate from Selling What You Have on the Truck to Serving Your Customers. www.gartner.com/digitalmarketing
Krol, C. (2016). 2016 Lead Nurturing Benchmark Study. http://www.demandgenreport.com/resources/reports/2016-lead-nurturing-benchmark-study




Ironpaper is a results-driven digital marketing agency. Ironpaper integrates design, technology and marketing for the web to drive meaningful results for clients. We are based in New York City and Charlotte, NC.