March 10, 2022
By Chantel Hall, Marketing Content Specialist
As leads move through the marketing-to-sales funnel, your lead nurturing tactics have to evolve to meet them where they are. Relationship building is essential throughout the entire process, but the tone and context of your outreach to leads will change as their knowledge level and needs change.
If you’re not tailoring your nurturing strategy to each part of the sales process, you’ll struggle to build meaningful connections and keep them moving down the path to purchase. Jumping into product-focused messaging and pushing for sales calls too early in the process can be detrimental; on the other hand, only providing leads with high-level, basic information when they’re closer to purchase will damage your opportunity.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss B2B lead nurturing tactics for each stage in the funnel and provide a few examples.
In the aptly-named awareness stage, you’re just beginning to build brand awareness with your target audience. In this stage, you’re not getting into your solutions in-depth yet; you’re providing content that educates leads on the goals, pain points, or aspirations that led them to your website. You can also focus on keeping leads engaged through multiple channels in order to keep your brand front-of-mind and encourage them to revisit your website.
B2B buyers in the awareness stage are often not fully aware of their problems and the solutions available to them. It can take as many as seven to 13 touchpoints to generate a sales qualified lead, so these leads need to be nurtured with content that educates them on their pain points and begins guiding them toward a solution.
Educational blogs, webinars, how-to articles, and e-books are great formats for this stage. You can provide engaging content that isn’t too technical or product-focused.
Retargeting leads with ads on LinkedIn and search engines in this stage is highly effective. One study found that conversion rates for B2B leads are 236% higher for retargeted users, and their average order volume is 60% higher.1 Email campaigns are also an excellent nurture strategy for the top of the funnel. They can be built around different topics ahead of time and automatically triggered when leads take a specific action on your site
As you gather more firmographic and behavioral data about each lead, you should begin personalizing content even more. In the consideration stage, leads are more aware of the solutions available to them and your content can begin to delve more deeply into your products and services. At this point, you can start providing some more technical information about your solutions and how you can help leads with their specific pain points.
Your sales team is likely starting to develop a more personal relationship, and you can use that opportunity to provide information that’s relevant to decision makers and focuses on your value proposition.
Content in this stage will be more focused on solutions that are available to leads. It should still be buyer-focused and provide a value proposition targeted to their interests, but you can go into more depth about the specific solutions they’re interested in. Case studies demonstrate the outcomes you’ve created for other customers, so they are particularly useful here. Product data sheets and possibly even a trial run or free version of the product can also provide value to leads.
In this stage, email becomes a bigger focus. Emails are even more personalized and probably coming directly from salespeople, as opposed to larger email campaigns. Targeting links can be used to track clicks and interaction and give salespeople even more insight into what the customer is pursuing.
The decision phase encapsulated the most tailored and specific interactions with leads in the whole process. By this stage, most interactions are taking place between a salesperson and the buying group. In one study, Gartner found that buying groups include up to 11 people and seven occasional participants, so salespeople should use these one-on-one interactions to learn about the buying group’s concerns or questions and providing content that addresses them.
Salespeople will likely be focused on things like live demos, consultations, proposals, estimates, etc., but marketing content is still important at this stage, especially where multiple decision makers are concerned. Case studies, educational blogs, and more in-depth content about your products can give buyers the information they need to get all of the decision makers on board. Competitor comparisons can also be helpful at this stage for spelling out why your solution is a better investment than your competitors’.
Emails, video calls, and possibly even interactions with your product will dominate this stage. By 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will be through digital channels, so salespeople need to get comfortable with digital interactions and provide as much value as they would in-person.
One study found that 74.6% of B2B businesses take an average of four months to close a sale with a new lead, with almost half of them (46.4%) taking 7 months or more.3 To keep your leads engaged through a lengthy sales cycle, your lead nurturing efforts should be ongoing and tailored to each lead’s progression through the process.
Each stage of the funnel is somewhat unique, but your strategy in each one should be driven by personalization and providing value to your leads. Building your lead nurturing process on these goals will help you build relationships with leads and keep them moving down the funnel towards conversion.
1I-COM, Remarketing - What it’s All About and Does it Really Work?, November 13, 2020
2Gartner, Engage B2B Buyers in an Uncertain Environment, June 24, 2020
3Marketing Charts, So What’s the Typical B2B Sales Cycle Length?, January 28, 2019
Databox, The 6 Most Effective Lead Nurturing Strategies of 2021, May 8, 2021
Leadfeeder, 6 B2B Lead Nurturing Tactics that Turn Leads into Actual Customers, July 20, 2021
HubSpot, 7 Amazingly Effective Lead Nurturing Tactics, November 5, 2021
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