Content Matters

Discussing best practices in marketing automation, content marketing, and demand generation
26
Mar
Less Hunting – More Gathering

What is Lead Nurturing and Why Does it Work So Well?

Lead nurturing is the art of building relationships and trust with prospects as they educate themselves, with the goal of earning their future business. It’s now one of the key strategies companies can employ to influence how their brand messages effectively get delivered to their target prospects. Research by the firms Marketo, Forrester, and CMO Insights reveal that well-executed lead nurturing offers four key benefits: (1) a greater percentage of leads become “sales-ready,” (2) the length of the sales cycle is shortened, (3) a lower cost per lead is achieved, and (4) deal values are substantially higher.

Toaccomplish this, lead nurturing life-cycle processes are developed that map prospects’ flow through the sales cycle, identifying stages that can be measured, analyzed, and positively impacted. More specifically, this strategy leverages drip email campaigns, social messaging, key influencer engagement, and other inbound marketing efforts, sharing content residing on cross-platform landing pages and personalized for each prospect type. Tag-based tracking technologies reveal actionable performance metrics, enabling the analysis, testing, and improvement of cross-channel marketing efforts, for each class of buyer, at each stage of the buying cycle.

These digital marketing “ecosystems” are comprised of documents, utilities, videos, and other lead-nurturing content, strategically designed to move individualized buyers more effectively through the sales cycle. This overarching approach must be developed to (1) meet the content consumption requirements of all targeted buyer personas, (2) be “buying-cycle-stage” aware, and (3) be present in all channels that the prospects may frequent.

Another key to success in any lead nurturing strategy is leveraging software that provides “Intelligent Content” modeling, alongside a delivery platform that distributes and shares this content, monitors performance, evaluates results, reveals successes and failures, and forecasts the most impactful marketing efforts moving forward. Once these initial models are structured and built, marketing efforts can then be focused on working the middle of the funnel, converting prospects to leads, leads to sales leads, and sales leads into opportunities (while recycling all others), with the goal of providing the sales team with sales-ready leads only.

A recent marketing study found that over 80% of new prospects were deemed not sales-ready, with the average “Prospect-to-Lead” time being 120 days. Lead nurturing resulted in revenue growth of 18% in the first year, increasing the time salespeople spent selling (not prospecting) by 32%, reducing lead conversion time by a whopping 35 days!