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Posts Tagged ‘lead nurturing’

Lead Nurturing: 5 tips for creating relevant content

September 13th, 2012
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Attempting lead nurturing without strong content is like hosting a Monsters of Rock show during a power outage.

The results will be disappointing.

That’s because effective content is the power behind lead nurturing success, insist Toby Murdock, CEO and Co-founder, Kapost, and Chris Baggott, Chairman and Co-founder, Compendium.

Both companies are content software providers, and both leaders recently spoke about the value of content marketing: Murdock at Marketo’s Social Marketing Rockstar Tour, and Baggott at the MarketingSherpa B2B Summit 2012.

“The Internet has put buyers in control,” says Murdock. “Seventy percent of the buying is completed before Sales is contacted.”

What that means, he went on to explain, is that Marketing now has the greatest responsibility for guiding those opportunities through the sales cycle. However, traditional advertising methods no longer help leads move forward.

“The average clickthrough rate on paid Internet advertising is .01%,” he points out.

Baggott contrasts this with clickthrough rates on content that is meaningful to prospects. He provides an example: creating content that speaks directly to prospects’ needs and has strong calls-to-action.

“When we do this, we see clickthrough rates that exceed 20%,” he points out; it’s an observation they’ve made working with hundreds of clients.

“I click through because I am very motivated. I see something that will help me; I look at the content and say, ‘Yeah, these people get me.’ When you have a need and the content meets it, you’re very eager to move forward,” he explains.

Instead of pushing products or services, pull the right prospects through by providing information, ideas and solutions that will help them, advise Baggott and Murdock. (It will also help you rank high in search engines.) This is the essence of relevance, and without it, everything you consider content is just more advertising, they insist.

They offer these tips to create content with the power to move beyond advertising into relevancy:

  Read more…

Marketing Research in Action: Marketers using lead nurturing average 107% lead gen ROI

May 17th, 2012
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In our most recent episode of Marketing Research in Action, I discussed how lead nurturing could help your B2B marketing efforts with Jen Doyle, Senior Research Manager, MECLABS, based on data from her 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report (free excerpt here).

 

 

Here is a look at some of the research Jen and I discussed with direct links to that part of the video.

0:38 – Organizations that are engaged in lead nurturing realize higher ROIs on their lead generation efforts.

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2:01 – Top tactics for creating engaging lead nurturing content

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5:40 – Frequency of lead nurturing touches

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Related Resources

Email Marketing: The importance of lead nurturing in the complex B2B sale

Lead Nurturing: Pilot campaign increases conversion 32.6% with automated emails

Lead Nurturing: You could be losing as much as 80% of your sales; here’s how you keep them

MarketingSherpa Webinar Replay — 5 Key Components for Establishing and Optimizing Lead Nurturing Campaigns

Marketing Research in Action: 65% of B2B marketers are not nurturing

April 27th, 2012
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So I’ve got this old friend from college. At first, we had fun. Now I only hear from when he needs something. Then after I help him out … he disappears again.

Sound uncomfortably like your B2B marketing and sales efforts? Listen in as I speak with Brian Carroll, Executive Director, Revenue Optimization, MECLABS, about lead nurturing and post-sales nurturing, based on research from MarketingSherpa’s 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report and MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Email Marketing Benchmark Report.

 

 

“The goal with nurturing is not just always be closing or always be selling,” Brian said. “It’s really, always be helping.” Watch the above video to see what other insights Brian shared. Here are a few key pieces of information that may help you: Read more…

Lead Nurturing: 12 questions answered on content, tactics and strategy

March 20th, 2012
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B2B and other lead nurturing marketers are beset with challenges. Many are struggling to improve nurturing, scoring and alignment with the sales team, but they have a laundry list of questions.

I received 21 questions from the audience in recent a webcast for the American Marketing Association,The One-Two Punch of Effective Lead Engagement: Accurate Lists and Powerful Content” (a replay of the webcast is posted below). Yesterday, I answered nine of the questions in a post on the B2B Lead Roundtable Blog. Today, I am answering 12 more below.


Questions on content

Q: When your sales team consists of medical reps who sell to doctors and show up at their offices twice a month, how do you nurture? Especially considering doctors aren’t Internet savvy?

A: I disagree doctors aren’t Internet savvy; there are social networks for the medical community that engage a quarter of a million physicians. That said, equip your sales team to ask for each doctor’s preferred means of communication: email, video, executive summaries, reports, etc. It could be a simple questionnaire.

 

Q: Should we consider paying outside subject matter experts to develop educational content?

A: Leverage internal experts first to build authority. But be sure the content you’re sharing will be valuable even if the prospect never buys. If your content doesn’t meet that standard, then you’ll want to think about using third-party experts to fill the gap.

 

Q: If you keep sending your contacts repurposed content (although the same information), won’t they be annoyed?  Wouldn’t they prefer fresher info?

A: Research suggests it takes at least seven to nine interactions for a message to be remembered.  If you have a complex offering, your audience will appreciate you breaking it down and presenting it in a variety of ways so they can better understand it. We have to look at our content from our customers’ point of view, not our own. Don’t be afraid of repetition — embrace it.

 

Q: What’s the right amount of emails with video versus straight emails?

A: You need to know your audience and how they prefer to consume content. Test and measure.


Questions on tactics

Q: My team has auto-communications that go to prospects once a week for eight weeks, and we have a team of callers that supplement this. Do you believe this will help nurture/re-engage older leads?

A: It could. Here are some thoughts and ideas:

  • Nurturing is about building a relationship based on trust to continue a conversation. It’s not just about sending irrelevant information that could cause prospects to emotionally unsubscribe.
  • Examine the cadence of your emails to determine if once a week is too frequent. Nurturing is a marathon, not a sprint. Nurture them at least the length of your sales cycle.
  • Look at your results. How many opt-outs do you have? What are the call-to-lead conversion rates? How many opens and clickthroughs are your emails getting? The key is measurement.
  • These resources will help:

Five nurturing tips to create relevant and engaging emails

How ECI Telecom Developed a Content-Marketing Program from Concept to Completion and the Surprising Results

 

Q: How do you know which marketing tactic attracted your customer? Email? Direct Mail? Print? TV?

A:  That’s a challenge every marketer faces in the complex sale. The answer depends on whether you’re measuring first touch or last, and if you’re focused on gathering names or closing the deal immediately.  Leverage your CRM to capture every touch point: Have they attended a webinar, downloaded a whitepaper, or registered for a newsletter? All of these actions contribute, so measure all of them. Make sure your CRM allows you to track multiple campaigns.

 

Q: What is the best way to treat leads from a purchased list versus inbound leads?

A:  Your answer can’t be quickly summarized, in fact, a book could be written on the topic. However, these blog posts will help:

How to Build a Quality List and Make Data Drive Leads

Lead Generation Check list – Part 5: Treat your marketing database as a valued asset

Do you expect your inside sales team to practice alchemy?


Questions related to strategy

Q: Any thoughts on lead engagement for B2C versus B2B?

A: In B2B, more people are involved in the buying decision, but, ultimately, people buy from people and the lines between these groups have blurred. MarketingSherpa will soon release its first-ever lead generation benchmark report that includes feedback from more than 1,900 B2B and B2C organizations on their lead generation challenges. In the meantime, here are some resources:

Lead-Gen: Top tactics for a crisis-proof strategy

B2B vs. B2C: What does it really mean?


Q: How does lead-nurturing ROI compare for B2C (rather than B2B)?

A:  As I mentioned above, MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Report will be published soon and will have a very detailed answer. Again, reference this post: Lead-Gen: Top tactics for a crisis-proof strategy


Q: Can you set up a simple lead nurturing strategy without lead scoring, and then add scoring later, when you have data to evaluate?

A: Absolutely. In the beginning, simplicity is best.

 

Q: What’s a good lead score for a technology company?

A: You’re in charge of developing your score based on your requirements. There’s no industry-wide scoring system. Here are some lead scoring resources that will help:

Lead Scoring: CMOs realize a 138% lead gen ROI … and so can you

The Lament of the Inside Sales Team: Data, Data Everywhere, but Who’s Ready to Buy?

How to Use Lead Scoring to Drive the Highest Return on Your Trade-Show Investment

Funnel Optimization: Why marketers must embrace change

 

Q: Do you have a buying process model and a list of stages of the sales cycle?

A: Please refer to Pages 7 and 17 in my free e-book: Start With A Lead: Eight critical success factors for lead generation

 

A link to a replay of the webcast is included below. Do you have additional questions? Feel free to ask them in the comments.

 

 

 

Related Resources:

The One-Two Punch of Effective Lead Engagement: Accurate Lists and Powerful Content

How to Get the CEO to Support Your Next Marketing Plan

B2B Marketing Research: 68% of B2B marketers haven’t identified their Marketing-Sales funnel … and it shows

Lead Scoring: CMOs realize a 138% lead gen ROI … and so can you

Lead Nurturing: You could be losing as much as 80% of your sales; here’s how you keep them

March 1st, 2012
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Multiply your company’s revenue by five.

That’s the sum of what lead nurturing could produce considering that long-term leads — the ones often ignored by salespeople — represent as much as 80% of your sales. (In Chapter 18 of his book, “Lead Generation for the Complex Sale,” Brian Carroll outlines the startling research.)

I know this is an extreme oversimplification, but it does represent the potential that is leaking out of your pipeline.

So now that I have your attention, let’s talk about what you can do about it.

If you want to ensure these future customers remain in your funnel, you must have a relevant,

consistent conversation with them. I am not implying you pick up the phone this minute and start calling them (although that’s a good idea further down the marketing funnel — when you want to be certain Sales won’t toss out that lead you thoughtfully nurtured).

What I mean by “conversation” is engaging them with information — content like articles, newsletters, whitepapers and videos — that they’re eager to read, share and act on.

 

Make sure they can benefit from what you give them regardless of whether they choose to buy from you.

But, of course, if you utilize lead nurturing correctly, potential customers will choose to move forward with your organization when they’re ready to purchase.

You’ll be the one they know and trust.

You’ll have made their lives easier by helping them make their purchasing decision. You’ll also have avoided the mistake of pushing them too hard, too fast.

I wish I could say that lead nurturing is as easy as simply collecting a few articles that promote your latest products and blasting it out across your email lists. But, like anything else, results begin with smart planning. If you want lead nurturing to work, you have to set the groundwork by completing the following:

  Read more…

Lead Scoring: CMOs realize a 138% lead gen ROI … and so can you

January 26th, 2012
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In last week’s blog post, I looked at the importance of lead nurturing. Some readers wanted more, so this week, I’ll dive even deeper into the complex B2B sale with a few data points and some very actionable tips on lead scoring.

First, let’s look a few data points from the 2012 MarketingSherpa B2B Benchmark Report, featuring Jen Doyle, Senior Research Manager, MarketingSherpa, as the lead author.

This chart shows the value of scoring leads based on a survey of CMOs:

 

Click to enlarge

 

Here is commentary on this chart from the report (italic emphasis is mine in the quote):

 

Once organizations establish lead qualification practices and define the criteria for a qualified, sales-ready lead, they need lead scoring methodologies to accurately and precisely identify qualified leads. Lead scoring is the process of adding and subtracting points to a lead’s value over time based on various lead attributes or demographics, and behaviors.

Lead scoring is one essential component of an overall funnel optimization strategy; however, the above chart analyzes one of the key benefits of only implementing this one feature. On average, organizations that currently use lead scoring experience a 77% lift in lead generation ROI, over organizations that do not currently use lead scoring.

 

Okay, so lead scoring is clearly a good B2B marketing practice, but the next data point isn’t so positive. Our research, through a survey of 1,745 marketers, found that 79% of B2B marketers are not engaging in lead scoring.

This week’s B2B newsletter article – “The Complex Sale: Lead scoring effort increases conversion 79%” – is a look at how Bersin & Associates, a human resources and learning professionals research and consulting firm, implemented an entirely new lead scoring program over 2011.

I interviewed Paula Reinman, Senior Vice President Marketing, Bersin, to learn the process Marketing and Sales at the company went through to create and implement a lead scoring program that fit in with the existing marketing automation software and CRM environment.

I think if you take the time to read the case study, you will take away a solid sense of implementing lead scoring, but as they say in New Orleans, this week I’m offering some lagniappe, a little something extra from Paula in the form of six lead scoring tips.

Hopefully these will help either improve your lead scoring activities, or even spur you to set up a program of your own if you aren’t currently engaging in lead scoring.

Here are Paula’s lead scoring tips:

  Read more…

Email Marketing: The importance of lead nurturing in the complex B2B sale

January 19th, 2012
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While gathering presentation material for the upcoming MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2012 (February 7-10 at Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas), I had the chance to reach out to Jen Doyle, Senior Research Manager, MarketingSherpa, to get some additional background on lead re-engagement and nurturing.

Jen was the lead author of the 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report, and was very helpful in finding a couple of relevant charts for me, providing some additional comments on what this research means for B2B marketers.

 

73% of all B2B leads are not sales-ready

The first lesson Jen offers is almost three quarters of all B2B leads are not sales-ready. This means Marketing needs to engage with those leads in some fashion to move them down the buying funnel. This also means it’s possible for leads to “go cold” somewhere between entering the funnel and becoming sales-ready. Those are the leads Marketing needs to reengage with.

Here is the first chart of MarketingSherpa research Jen provided:

 

Chart: Average percentage of total lead volume that is sales-ready

 

Click to enlarge

 

And here is Jen’s commentary:

The above chart is the demonstration of why all leads cannot go directly to Sales.

At the time of original lead conversion, an average of 27% of those leads will be qualified to the point where they are ready and willing to engage with Sales.

The remaining 73% are not there yet. When these leads are prematurely sent over to Sales, they are not receiving the experience they desire and will look elsewhere for it.

Besides, do you really want your Sales team spinning their wheels making dial after dial where nearly three-quarters of those leads are not ready?

 

So, a large majority of B2B leads are not ready for Sales. This is where lead nurturing campaigns come into play.

The usual touch point for lead nurturing is email. These campaigns are greatly enhanced by utilizing marketing automation software to track and score those leads, and send triggered email based on demographic, firmographic, and probably most importantly as the lead moves closer to be becoming sales-ready, behavioral information. Behavioral information would include website visits, whitepaper downloads, webinar participation, and similar activities that indicate the lead is getting ready to buy the product or service.

With that in mind, this second chart is not good news for many B2B marketers:

Read more…

Lead Nurturing: How much content is enough?

November 17th, 2011
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Optimizing the entire funnel is a B2B marketing goal and challenge – lead capture starts the process, and handing (hopefully) qualified leads off to Sales completes it.

When the sale is very complex, the middle portion of nurturing and scoring leads can be lengthy, and a big part of those efforts is having a sound content marketing strategy.

We’ve written about content marketing quite a bit in our case studies and articles, offering tactical advice. And just a few weeks ago on the MarketingSherpa Blog, MarketingSherpa Director of Editorial Content Daniel Burstein published a post explaining why the value of your content is more important than the length of any one content piece.

Is one whitepaper and a few articles enough?

Daniel provided a great set of guidelines for creating solid content, but how about total volume? How much content do you need for a sound lead nurturing marketing strategy?

I spoke with Brandon Stamschror, Senior Director of Operations for the Leads Group at MECLABS (the parent company of MarketingSherpa), to get his reaction to some follow-up questions from a webinar he hosted on lead nurturing.

One question covered content marketing: “How do you know when you have enough educational content? Is one whitepaper and a few articles sufficient in most cases?”

Brandon’s response was immediate, “I would say no. One whitepaper and a few articles is not enough.”

He says you ideally want to create enough content to fill a “content calendar” aligned with your buyer’s persona and walks that individual through the stages of the buying process.

Read more…

Funnel Optimization: Why marketers must embrace change

September 29th, 2011
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We just wrapped the production of our 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report. The overwhelming theme in this study of 1,745 B2B marketers is that the B2B marketing environment is becoming increasingly more challenging over time.  In year-over-year (YoY) comparisons of the research, the perceived effectiveness of tactics has seen severe declines. MarketingSherpa wanted to get to the bottom of what’s really happening.

Marketers are all aware of the changes that have taken place in the market. Buyers research their purchasing decisions online, not by calling Sales. Marketers get that. But what are they really doing about it? Read more…

B2B Tactics: Maximizing marketing efforts in a tough economy

August 11th, 2011
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The current global economy has been a tough place for quite some time, and this week’s events on Wall Street aren’t providing any reassurance that things will pick up any time soon. Throw in a bleak forecast from the federal government, and it’s enough to make a marketer wonder which way to turn.

Jen Doyle, Senior Research Manager, MarketingSherpa, and I had a recent chat on this very subject. She offered some advice to help focus marketing efforts, even when resources are tight.

It all begins with the lead …

Tight resources include time, staffing and budgets, and Jen says, “Because of this, the quick fix is sought after. The truth is, in order to get results and convert modern buyers in a struggling economy, we have to address the full spectrum of the funnel.”

She offered six big picture tactics to help uncover and convert new prospects: Read more…