Nurturing Sales Leads 101

Sales leads are often expensive to generate, so when you have a lead ready for outreach, you need to nail down the nurture strategy. It’s often not as simple as sending a single generic email asking for time on someone’s calendar. This impersonal, one-touch method is outdated and will result in leads going cold and looking elsewhere.

These six tips below will help you give sales leads personalized attention with automation and content marketing — and close more, and bigger, sales.

1. Send content resources

 

84.3% of leads check business websites before purchasing from a vendor, according to the Acquity Group.

 

Even though you’ve generated a sales lead, you should still expect the person to do research on their own. Make it easy by providing helpful literature about your company, your services, your culture and mission, and your features, if relevant.

Work between your sales and marketing teams to create a library of sales content that includes some of the following:

  • Case studies
  • White papers
  • Position statements and thought leadership in eBook format
  • Culture codes
  • Educational video
  • Blog articles
  • Sales one-pagers

Send various content offers to your leads and ask open-ended questions to see if they understand and relate to the material. Furthermore, every in-person touchbase should have an email follow up with more information to consume and consider.

Most effective content types in demand generation during various stages of buyer's journey according to B2B marketers in North America as of July 2018 Effectiveness of B2B content types in customer journey stages in North America 2018

2. Gather insights and data points

 

34.1% of businesses don’t use a lead attribution model to measure marketing performance, according to Bizible.

 

When sending outreach emails and the literature mentioned above, you should be gathering insights to measure your impact.

With a sales CRM like HubSpot Sales Pro, you can upload your content documents and automatically gather data points, such as:

  • Which pages are leads reading, and for how long?
  • Which emails are they ignoring, and which are they engaging with?
  • How much time are you waiting between sending emails, and is your outreach cadence successful?

These insights bring PDFs to life, and help you tailor your message and strategy accordingly.

Also, make sure that you have a clear definition of your deal pipelines stages. Some common sales funnel stages might include: marketing qualified leads, sales qualified leads, opportunities, demo requests, proposals, deals won, and deals lost.

You should have some sense of how many leads convert between each stage. This will give you a quantifiable close rate — and then you can work backwards to plan how many leads you need at the top of the funnel in order to hit your sales quota.

You can also troubleshoot pipeline stages that leak leads. And most importantly, you can assign a value to your deals closed, and compare lifetime value against your cost per lead acquisition from various campaigns to establish ROI.

3. Plan automated follow-ups

Even with a dedicated and organized salesforce, you’ll still have situations in which lead follow-ups can slip through the cracks. That’s why you should establish some automation around your sales outreach. Platforms like HubSpot allow you to create triggered emails based on lead engagements — such as filling out a form, submitting a demo request, or beginning a chat dialogue.

Automated emails can be used to make an initial outreach, say hello and establish rapport. Ideally, you will also include some literature such as a company overview or case study to keep the momentum going. However, these automated outreaches should not replace one-to-one emails — so make sure to also follow up with a personalized greeting.

4. Remarket

As mentioned before, your leads will be doing some research on their own. Make sure to capture their attention even when they aren’t talking to your sales rep or visiting your website. There are many great remarketing channels with which you can upload a list of target leads’ email addresses and run tailored advertisements.

Explore a variety of platforms such as Google AdWords search and display ads, YouTube (if you have video content), LinkedIn sponsored content and sponsored InMail, Twitter and Facebook. Keep in mind that each platform has its own unique rules about retargeting — many have a minimum number of email addresses you can target at once, or require you to verify that your email list was legally acquired.

Publishing on social media organically can also be a remarketing strategy. Just make sure to “follow” your leads so they may follow you back, post helpful resources, and include industry hashtags that have sizeable exposure.

5. Make it easy to get in touch

Don’t make your leads do the work to get in touch with you. If you send an email and ask your leads which time slots on Monday through Wednesday are available, you put the onus on them to reach out when convenient for you. This is not efficient or effective, but there are several other tactics to simplify outreach when a lead is ready.

First, make sure your website is optimized for conversion. Include forms on your website pages, ideally somewhere visible, like the top half of each page. We’ve also seen many companies find success with chat integrations like HubSpot’s chat tool or others like Olark. By setting up a chatbox on your website, you give your leads the ability to reach out as soon as they are ready.

Additionally, include a calendar integration in your emails so you can easily link leads to set up an appointment with you. Make sure to sync with your work calendar so that you can avoid being double booked, and set preset increments that make sense for you — 15 minutes, 30, or 60 — so you don’t spend too much time on a lead that doesn’t meet qualifications.

6. Set up a re-nurturing plan

Not every sales lead will turn into an opportunity and a closed deal. But you invest heavily in B2B lead generation, so it makes sense to keep your contacts around and engage them if they happen to be qualified in the future — and there are numerous benefits to lead nurture automation.

Marketing and sales should align on which leads are not ready for the sales process, and automatically put such leads back into the marketing cycle. Continue engaging your “re-nurture” list on a regular basis. This is a great list to send your latest blog posts, major company or product updates, positive press, and new content offers and research.

Conclusion

Your sales leads are valuable and you want to practice strategies in your outreach so you can close as many deals as possible. Invest in an arsenal of helpful literature to help nurture sales leads, and make it easy for leads to contact you with forms, chat boxes, and remarketing campaigns to keep you top of mind.

Sources

Bizible, State of Pipeline Marketing Report 2018

Acquity Group, State of B2B Procurement Study 2014

 



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Ironpaper is a B2B marketing agency and lead generation 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.