Lead nurturing is a key piece to sell with an inbound strategy. In this process, we accompany the user from the moment they leave us their data for the first time until they become a client.
Improving our lead nurturing strategy can help us sell more, faster and use fewer company resources. For this reason, in this article, I want to explore the relationship between lead nurturing and sales and see what are the best strategies to sell more with lead nurturing.
What is lead nurturing?
Lead nurturing or lead maturation is a technique used to get leads to move faster through the sales funnel. It is based on creating a valuable relationship with the customer through continuous communications, with the aim of helping him go through the different phases of the purchase process.
If we think that, according to a Marketing Sherpa study, 73% of users who leave their contact information to a brand are not yet ready to buy, we soon realize the importance of this technique. And it is that without proper lead nurturing, we will be missing out on many conversion opportunities.
Lead nurturing is used to close sales more quickly, reduce the resources used to achieve each conversion and achieve sales in an automated way. But to achieve all these goals, we need to have a well-thought-out and optimized lead nurturing strategy.
Lead scoring, the other side of lead nurturing:
Before seeing which lead nurturing strategies that work best to sell, we have to stop for a moment to review a complementary tactic to lead nurturing: lead scoring.
Lead scoring consists of designing an objective system to award a score to each lead based on their interest in the brand. With this we manage to correctly segment the different user profiles and the different moments of the purchase process in which they find themselves… and the fact is that not all leads are the same, nor should they be treated in the same way.
In general, two main types of leads are usually distinguished:
- Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL): These contacts are interested in our brand, but are not yet ready to buy. Therefore, they become the responsibility of the marketing team, which will send them a series of messages with the aim of preparing them to buy.
- Sales qualified leads (SQL): These users are already prepared to listen to a commercial offer, so they become the responsibility of the sales team.
It is important to know that there is no single lead scoring process that works for all cases, but there are different types. For example, lead scoring can be one-dimensional (based on a single variable) or multi-dimensional (based on several different axes). A company’s lead scoring algorithm can be developed manually or by using artificial intelligence tools.
As for the factors that must be evaluated to decide the score of a lead, logically there is no single answer. But some of the most common are:
- demographic data. For example, if our product is only sold in a series of specific locations, we will have to discard the leads that fall outside that range of action. It is also possible that we only want to target users from a certain demographic group, for example, “parents with children from 0 to 3 years”.
- Professional information. If we are in the B2B sector, it will be very important to identify what type of company our lead works for and what position they hold.
- Interactions with our brand. For example, pages that the contact has visited on our website, reactions to emails we have sent, comments and “likes” on our social networks, etc.
12 lead nurturing strategies to sell more
- Coordinate the marketing and sales departments
In large companies, it seems that the marketing and sales departments never agree. And yet, the collaboration between them is essential to come to fruition.
As we have seen before, leads should first go to the marketing department, which sends them the content they need to feel comfortable with before deciding to buy. And when they’re ready, they should move on to the sales department to close that purchase.
For this to work, therefore, it is necessary for the two departments to sit down together and define what type of leads are most interesting for the company and at what point they should go from one team to another. It is also necessary to have a shared tool between both teams that stores all the information about the leads. Only then is it possible for the lead nurturing strategy to work?
- Know your buyer person
The success of a lead nurturing strategy largely depends on us sending the right messages that really resonate with each person and convince them that they can trust us to solve their problem. And for that, we have to know him thoroughly.
Therefore, any lead nurturing strategy has to start with sitting down with your team to think about what the ideal client of your company is like. I always recommend creating one or more buyer personas, that is, a semi-fictional representation (with name and photo included!) of the person you are targeting. You will see how much easier it is to make the right decisions when you have a character to empathize with.
- Define the customer journey
Lead nurturing consists of accompanying a person throughout the journey from when they leave us their data for the first time until they become a customer. So it is logical to think that one of the first things we have to be clear about is what that route is like.
In general, marketers use the conversion funnel as a model, in which users go through different phases as their interest and affinity for the brand increase. From there, and always thinking about the buyer persona that you have previously defined, you can see what are the specific steps to go through to accompany the lead with your lead nurturing strategy.
- Create and send segmented content
To sell more with your digital marketing, there is a keyword: personalization. People are tired of advertising treating them like sheep and trusting brands that understand them. And to show your leads that you are one of them, you have to send them messages that make them feel unique.
Therefore, the lead nurturing strategy has to start from a series of segmented content based on the different buyer persona and the moment of the customer journey in which they find themselves.
- Automate communication flows
If you’ve followed the strategies above, you already know what group or groups of people you’re targeting, what path they need to take to become customers, and what messages they need to receive every step of the way. And now you can get all these messages sent automatically.
Today, there are many marketing automation solutions that allow you to create sequences of messages based on a series of parameters. For example, you can program a different sequence based on the pages of your site that a lead has visited or their responses to a form. From there, a series of messages spaced over time will be automatically sent according to the parameters you have configured. In other words, let your marketing automation tool do the work for you!
- Track interactions in real time
Getting the timing right is just as important as getting the message right. In particular, there are some user interactions that should prompt a quick response, such as sending a welcome email when signing up for the database for the first time. With other emails, such as an abandoned cart reminder, you’ll have to experiment to see which time interval generates the best responses.
- Use smart forms
One of the problems that we often find in lead nurturing strategies is getting enough information from the user without overwhelming them with a form that is too long. Smart Forms solve this problem by remembering user responses from previous visits.
When a user visits your website again, the form will automatically recognize him after entering his name and email. From there, it will delete the questions you have already answered and ask you for new data to continue completing your lead nurturing profile.
- Optimize the welcome email
First impressions are essential. And in the case of lead nurturing, that first impression usually takes place in the welcome email. According to Experian, welcome emails have a 57.8% open rate, compared to 14.6% for other types of emails. When emails are sent in real-time, this figure rises to 83%.
What elements should a good welcome email have? Take note:
- A thank you to the recipient for joining your database.
- A brief presentation that explains who you are and what your value proposition is.
- A series of content or even offers that provide added value to the user. This part should be personalized based on the information that you have left when registering.
- A call to action: what would you like the recipient to do after reading your email?
- A farewell (education above all!).
- Organize a multi-channel lead nurturing
When we think of lead nurturing, we usually associate it with email marketing. But today, we no longer have to limit ourselves to this channel. A very simple way to start doing multi-channel lead nurturing is through remarketing lists on social networks and Google Ads
- Measure interactions throughout the process
As you send messages, leads will interact with them and with other channels of your brand, for example, by revisiting your website. Ideally, these interactions should influence how the rest of the communication unfolds.
Therefore, your lead nurturing strategy should include some system to record and measure lead interactions throughout the process, incorporate them into the lead scoring algorithm and act accordingly.
- Create personalized offers
As we have seen on several occasions, the key to a lead nurturing strategy that sells is personalization.
As the moment of conversion approaches, you will most likely have a lot of information about the user, obtained from the data that they have voluntarily left you and from their own interactions with the brand. Therefore, you will be in a good position to send him an offer that is irresistible and that comes just at the right time to encourage him to buy.
- Follow up after the sale
In essence, lead nurturing consists of nurturing the relationship with the lead… and that relationship does not end when the lead becomes a customer. Quite the contrary: if he has shown you that he is willing to buy, it is more important than ever to keep in touch.
Therefore, your lead nurturing strategy should include a plan for after the purchase, which includes both post-sale and customer service emails as well as loyalty. Remember that you already have a ton of information about your new client, so use it to continue showing them that they can trust you in the long run.