How to Nurture New Leads Down the Sales Funnel
When it comes to business, everyone wants to see growth in revenue, sales, customers, etc. It’s a measure of success and illuminates a demand for your product or service.
The thing is, you grow because customers spend more on your products or you get more customers. If this doesn’t happen, the well eventually dries up, and you’re looking at losses instead of profits. Either way, customer acquisition is a cycle that needs to be sustained.
Now, the question is how do you get more customers? This is where marketers and sales professionals, rely on lead generation techniques. Initially, you might just have an inquiry, but this important initial step can easily turn into a lead with the right plan in place.
So how do you get that inquiry to turn into a lead? To accomplish this, you need to know who your ideal client is and rank prospects according to how they fit into those criteria. This emphasizes the need for you as a marketing or sales professional to set lead generation goals for your teams.
Let’s say you have your goals set, and inquiries are coming in, but you realize that none of them are qualified leads. What can you do? If you don’t have leads, there’s nothing to send along the sales funnel, and you’re left with unmet goals and no possibility for growth.
This is where you have to double down on your lead generation efforts, because without leads, you won’t have people interested in your products. And this interest is what turns into not just a sale, but also someone who can potentially become a brand advocate.
For effective lead generation, you have to establish a strong inbound strategy that will capture customers’ interest and help them make informed decisions. Why? Because over 70% of buyers go online to gather research before making a purchase.
Keep in mind, though that this need for content is not an invitation for you to pitch a sale. Rather, this is a way for you to provide informative content that your prospects can then use to narrow down their choices and to make a final decision. People who read your material might buy from your company, or they might not. Don’t fret if they don’t immediately turn into a customer for you. If they found your efforts helpful to their goals and signed up for your newsletter or downloaded one of your ebooks, you might just have a new qualified lead.
So, you’ve got a new lead. Now what?
All right. You’re ready to go from leads to customers, but maybe you’re not sure how. This is completely understandable because the sales process can be quite long and just because you have a sales funnel doesn’t mean whatever converted lead goes in will come out as a loyal and dedicated customer.
Forget marketing, sales, and business for a moment. Pretend it’s your first day at work, or maybe you’re back in school. You want to make friends, so you go to class, join organizations, or attend parties. You might hang out around the water cooler to chat, you get talking, and they seem to show interest in becoming your friend. They might give you their number or add you on social media. You exchange more messages, and they invite you to an event or ask you to hang out. And you go. You’ve got a potential new friend.
The process is essentially the same for generating leads and converting them into customers.
What do you do next? You have some options. Here are ten things you can do with your new lead:
1. Say Thank You
It’s a simple statement that tells the customer that you appreciate their interest and a sign of confirmation as well. They might have filled out a form on your site to download an eBook, and then?
If you don’t have a thank you page, where do you bring them next and what does that say about how you treat your customers? A simple “thank you” acknowledges the lead as someone you value.
2. Act Fast
Want to take that “thank you” to another level? If you received a query from a lead, respond with something like “Thanks for reaching out to us. To answer your question…” as soon as possible.
What if it’s too soon? There’s really no such thing. In fact, the faster you respond, the better your chances are to qualify that lead. But, if you can’t have someone available to respond at a moment’s notice all the time, at least make sure that you try your best to get back to them within 24 hours. Don’t let the lead go cold.
3. Offer Something Else
On YouTube, there are always links to related videos or a similar video coming up on auto play. It’s a great feature that allows viewers to discover new videos and to keep users engaged on the site. You can apply this strategy with new leads, too.
Depending on how they converted, you can offer content, products, or services similar to what they were just looking at. Like what you just read? Check out the next tip.
4. Gather Intelligence
Hopefully, when you capture a lead, you’re able to get some information about them through a form they filled out: name, contact info, etc. However, if you want to develop a strong relationship with your lead, you need to get the right data about them.
The simplest way to do this is through your contact form. Then again, not all contact forms are created equal. You have to know the right fields to use for your business. A safe bet is to ask your sales and marketing teams what types of customer information they need to qualify a lead.
5. Classify Information
When you have a new lead, look back at the buyer persona you’ve established. There’s no need to worry if this lead doesn’t fit it perfectly. What you need to do, though, is to further parse your leads depending on factors that you think will help you identify their needs better.
You can do this by grouping them according to their position, the products they’ve shown interest in, or based on the type of company they work for. This is another reason why it’s important to know what information you want to get from your initial contact forms.
6. Provide Personalized Content
To make the most out of the data you’ve gathered and increase the chances of CTAs succeeding, try providing targeted content. Just like the YouTube videos mentioned earlier, you need to point leads towards offerings that fall within their interests.
Someone looking at blogs posts on lead generation would probably be more interested in a post on lead nurturing than something about productivity. Another way to personalize content is to look at the type of content leads are consuming. A few might spend more time watching videos than they do reading long blog posts, so be mindful of the media you connect them to.
7. Use Diverse Mediums
Even if you’re not from a very design-focused company or don’t have access to a full video production house, find ways to be engaging when you communicate. Include images in your emails, post a video once every few months, and use humor.
Take note that your leads are people. You won’t get any meaningful interactions through impersonal and generic emails. Your content isn’t the only thing that has to be captivating. Conduct business in a way that makes people want to invest their time, and later, their money into what you have to offer. If Siri can answer questions with wit, so can you.
8. Stay In Touch
Remember when we talked about treating your relationship with leads as a relationship with friends? You don’t stop interacting just because you’ve achieved friend-status. You keep the conversation going.
The same principle can be applied to nurturing your leads. You might not send each lead a gift when the holidays come rolling around, but it’s important to stay in touch and show them that you have something to offer them. It’s also how they’ll think of you when the time comes for them to turn into a customer. If you drop off of their radar, they might just go to a competitor instead.
9. Keep Track
For all the time, effort, and money you’re putting into generating and nurturing your leads, you need to evaluate the success of your strategy. As you pursue various campaigns to further your lead’s progress along the sales funnel, you have to track a number of metrics to spot areas of your strategy that you excel in or can improve upon.
You don’t necessarily need to track all of these metrics. But, as you create your lead generation strategy and figure out your goals, you have to decide which numbers to watch.
10. End Well
You get a new lead who signs up for your newsletter and downloads your white papers and has shown interest. But suddenly, they decide to unsubscribe. How do you react?
You might feel bad to lose a lead—especially a quality one—but don’t just accept their choice passively. You can take this opportunity to ask what you can improve upon or guide them to follow you on social media instead.
Maybe you’re sending too many emails, or maybe the content you’re providing now isn’t what it used to be when they first signed up. You can include a small survey to get feedback. Just as first impressions are important, you should make a lasting impression when they decide to leave, too. Type up a witty goodbye message or use a catchy graphic so that you can stand out from the crowd.
Lead the Way
Remember these are just a few things you can do with your new lead. If your company has the budget and resources, you might even consider using account-based marketing to add a personal touch to every lead.
Don’t worry if you can’t fit this in your budget, though. It might not even be an approach that fits your strategy. What matters is that you keep track of the leads you generate and how they move through your funnel. The point stands: do something to start nurturing the relationship and keep nurturing it.
Eventually, you’ll reach a point when your leads reach a point that indicates they’re ready for conversion. You can easily identify this through lead scoring, which can also help you readjust your strategy so you can focus on the leads, whether new or not, that are close to the end of the sales funnel.
This form of tracking leads will also allow you to develop better ways of communicating between marketing and sales, as it creates criteria for both teams. It’s also a great way to spot high-quality leads that are the right fit for your company. And gaining high-quality leads is becoming a major goal for most B2B companies.
Getting new leads is just half of the journey down the sales funnel. Sometimes, they proceed without much guidance. Sometimes, they might need more from you as a business to drive them further. And there’s certainly more than one way to develop the relationship between you and your lead that will, hopefully, turn them into a loyal advocate of your brand.
Here’s a recap of suggestions for your lead nurturing strategy:
- Say Thank You
- Act Fast
- Offer Something Else
- Gather Intelligence
- Classify Information
- Provide Personalized Content
- Use Diverse Mediums
- Stay In Touch
- Keep Track
- End Well
Do what works for you and your business. Have goals set and monitor metrics to gauge how well you’re meeting those goals. Also, be sure to know just what kind of lead you’re looking for and set standards that both marketing and sales can observe.
Most importantly, cultivate the relationship with your leads by giving them content and connections that help them reach their goals and keep them coming back for more.
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