Proven Do's and Don'ts in B2B Lead Nurturing
Lead nurturing is arguably the most critical stage of managing leads. This especially holds true in the B2B sector, where the sales cycles are longer and the processes are more complex. Yet, many businesses struggle at this all-important stage. According to MarketingSherpa, 65% of marketers don't even have a clearly defined lead nurturing strategy, leading to lead leakage and revenue loss.
This guide delves into the key aspects of lead nurturing, offering insights into the do's and don'ts that can make or break your efforts.
B2B Lead Nurturing: Definition and overview of benefits
Nothing teaches patience like marketing and selling in the B2B space. The buying businesses take their time making purchasing decisions due to the complexity of products, the high cost of transactions, and the number of stakeholders involved. Consequently, only 27% of B2B leads are sales-ready at the time of generation. This leaves a massive 73% of leads that could be lost if not carefully led down the sales funnel. This is where lead nurturing comes into play.
Lead nurturing is the process of building relationships with prospective customers.
It is the discipline of engaging prospects who have shown genuine interest in your business but are not ready to close the deal. Ultimately, nurturing aims to boost the conviction of interested buyers. This is done by offering information on products and services through carefully curated and personalized content such as case studies, blog posts, and whitepapers until the leads become sales-qualified.
Companies that have mastered B2B lead nurturing see remarkable results. Not only do nurtured leads move through the sales cycle faster by about 23%, but they also tend to make larger purchases—47% larger, on average. Plus, nurturing leads tends to be more cost-effective, yielding a better return on investment. And as a bonus, these nurtured relationships often lead to higher customer retention.
Evolution of B2B Lead Nurturing
B2B marketing has evolved in the last two decades, affecting how marketers nurture leads. By the early 2000s, email marketing was the mainstay. However, modern business practices soon became more customer-centric, so companies had to incorporate content marketing to offer value. By 2008, big data became popular, and the shift toward data-driven lead management commenced.
We are currently in the age of data-driven personalized marketing. With the wealth of options available for buyers, nurturing leads has moved beyond automated email sequences. Now, B2B is shifting focus to relationship building by combining automation technology with relevant data.
The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has empowered brands to analyze large datasets and personalize automated responses, enabling real-time, round-the-clock engagement of customers. Planning and executing masterful lead nurturing campaigns is now as easy as ever.
The Do’s of Lead Nurturing: Best practices for marketers
Marketers must follow the B2B lead nurturing best practices for a successful nurturing campaign. Below are the four top strategies to apply for successful B2B nurturing campaigns:
Email marketing remains a profitable method of engaging prospects, but neglecting other communication channels is not advisable. Leads interact with your business through SEO content, landing pages, social media, and emails.
Your nurturing campaign must employ a similarly diverse approach in targeting leads; the more touchpoints the leads are engaged on, the more likely they will convert.
By understanding where your customers are in their journey and presenting content that aligns with their current stage, you not only build credibility but also foster a relationship based on trust and value. This thoughtful approach ensures that your brand is perceived as helpful and informative rather than intrusive, guiding leads toward making a purchase decision with their best interest in mind.
Your leads have different characteristics, needs, interests, and purchasing power and are at different stages in their buying journey. Therefore, attempting to engage all leads similarly would lead to poor performance. This is why segmentation is key.
Businesses can guide diverse leads towards the same goal by breaking leads into smaller groups based on shared characteristics. The result is increased content relevance, engagement, and conversion.
For nurturing to work, marketing content must be specific to the leads' needs, interests, pain points, and preferences. It is not enough to drown prospects in emails and hope they convert. True personalization comes with taking time to understand the clientele and the peculiarities of their buying journey. What is their preferred sales channel? How do they research selling businesses? How many stakeholders are in their buying committees? Only after answering these questions will your business be able to connect with the leads and convert them.
Personalization requires personal data, but customers want to feel trust in a brand before volunteering their information. The solution to this tricky situation is progressive profiling. This method focuses on gradually gathering customer data.
For example, a lead fills out a form in exchange for an ebook. Subsequently, suggest an insightful whitepaper to go with another landing page form. With progressive profiling, more data for personalization becomes available without compromising the prospect's trust.
With hundreds and thousands of leads to engage simultaneously, the demands of B2B lead nurturing are high. Therefore, investing in the right automation technology helps. Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365 are two of the best marketing automation tools available today.
By employing solutions like those, marketers can consistently engage leads on multiple platforms while delivering personalization at scale. Marketing and sales teams will save time on manual tasks, allowing them to spend time on content creation and other strategic, bottom-of-the-funnel activities.
The best automation platforms also come with data tracking and analytics features, which help marketers evaluate nurturing campaigns and make data-driven improvements for better results.
The Don’ts of Lead Nurturing: Common pitfalls marketers must avoid
Despite employing the lead nurturing best practices mentioned above, some businesses fail to achieve their objectives due to strategy mistakes. Here are common errors to avoid to maximize your B2B lead nurturing campaigns:
Neglecting Lead Scoring and Qualification
Scoring leads is a great way to identify the best prospects while qualifying helps pinpoint the type of content suited to each lead. Skipping these steps may lead to lost leads by pushing them away through premature sales pitches or boring them with marketing content when they are ready to buy products.
Spamming and Inconsistent Messaging
Finding the balance in the messaging frequency is important to every nurturing campaign. Too frequent messages come across as spam and irritate the recipients, while inconsistent communication might cause them to lose interest. The balance varies from buyer to buyer, so analyze each prospect's response and adjust accordingly.
Poor Collaboration Between Sales and Marketing
When sales and marketing teams fail to work together towards a common goal, it weakens lead management. To improve collaborative efforts, both teams should share a CRM system for better data flow, share lead scoring and qualification criteria, and meet regularly to refine strategies.
To sum it up, B2B lead nurturing has evolved into a practice that focuses on building relationships through a personalized approach. Following the industry's best practices and knowing what mistakes to avoid will help businesses reap the benefits of nurturing leads. Therefore, marketers must strive to master this process for business growth.
To perfect your nurturing process, having a good CRM to automate activities, centralize data, and support decision-making is important. ACTUM Digital specializes in seeing up CRM and process automation for businesses like yours. Contact us today, and we will help you optimize the efficiency of your B2B lead nurturing campaigns.