Lead Nurturing is Coming of Age Part 4: Moving from “Good” to “Best”

Written by Rockannand on December 13, 2010 – 5:28 pm -

In part 1 of this series, we noted from Sirius Decisions recent research that the market leading companies, using the same number of leads are able to

  • Close over 4 times the number of deals as “average” firms
  • Close twice as many deals as “good” firms.

These are eye-popping numbers to consider, especially with economic times that demand that businesses make every opportunity count.

What does “Market Leading” Mean?
The market leading firms are adept at aligning their people around marketing-to-sales processes enabled with CRM and Marketing Automation tools that optimize their efforts and maximize target audience reach. The best B2B marketing organizations are almost exclusively focused on lead quality. They emphasize buyer behavior and compare to well defined buyer personas in order to build targeted campaigns that move prospects through the buyer stages. They have metrics in place that clearly show management and sales the impact of demand generation programs on the pipeline, closed deals and corporate revenue.  Marketing and sales are tightly aligned in terms of people interaction, lead flow process and the use of technology to support every aspect of client acquisition and retention. They practice Lean process improvement principles to eliminate waste in marketing and sales resources and optimize every dollar of sales and marketing spend.

What Should “Good” Firms Focus on to Become “Market Leading”?
In part 3 of the series, we detailed the steps required to move from “average” to “good” performance. With those practices in place, we can now turn our attention to the following programs to implement in order to achieve marketing leading lead management status

  • Establish lead quality teams consisting of marketing, inside sales, sales admin and possibly the sales team and conduct weekly lead hand-off reviews.
  • Develop comprehensive buyer personas that profile key buyer types such as end-user, influencer, buyer/decision-maker and executive (CXOs).
  • Develop progressive profiling programs that deepen the intelligence for each buyer type in your CRM/Marketing Automation database. Utilize prospecting tools such as Cardbrowser, Hoovers, Netprospex, Zoominfo, etc to automate the process of keeping contact information fresh and complete.
  • Create comprehensive content maps for the key buyer types and for each buyer stage:

Awareness > Inquiry > Consideration > Purchase.

After mapping existing content, create and/or re-purpose content to fill any gaps. Ensure that content consists of whitepapers, webinars, short articles, case studies, videos (2-3 minutes) and podcasts (5-7 minutes).

  • Develop lead nurturing campaigns that segment by buyer type and buyer stage. Deliver personalized value propositions by these segments to deepen engagement and optimize buyer stage conversions.
  • Develop metrics based on corporate objectives such as revenue growth and customer retention. Use marketing dashboards and reports to present marketing’s contribution to revenue and pipeline to senior management on a monthly/quarterly basis.

Comments from others on the earlier installment in this lead nurturing series have highlighted other resources and approaches to consider. I will wrap things up with a final post that links to these resources.

Related Posts:

Lead Nurturing is Coming of Age Part 3: Moving from Average to Good

Lead Nurturing is Coming of Age Part 1: Making the Case for 2011 Marketing Plans

Lead Nurturing is Coming of Age Part 2: Where do I Start?

Case Study: Lead Nurturing Through Thought Leadership Content


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Posted in B2B Marketing, Lead Generation, Lead Management, Lead Nurturing, Lead Quality, Thought Leadership, Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Lead Nurturing: Tips from Marketing Automation Monday in NYC

Written by Rockannand on December 8, 2010 – 1:13 pm -

Marketing Automation Monday came to NYC on December 6th (a date that will live in Patriots infamy in the demolition of the Jets !!). We had a great turnout with 15 opting in to share their ideas and best practices on the topic of lead nurturing and drip campaigns. Below is a quick review of what was discussed.

Attendee Company Profile
First off, I was struck by how many of the meetup attendees come from start-up companies. Two companies in fact have yet to launch while all are new to the use of marketing automation and lead nurturing.

With that in mind, I started the discussion by focusing on some questions that marketers need to ask themselves as they begin to develop their lead nurturing programs:

  • What tactics are the best for getting our messages to your target audience, both decision-makers and influencers?
  • How do we stay engaged with our audience as they move through their stages of the buy cycle?
  • How do we conduct the “conversation” to stay relevant to the buyer’s and build credibility and trust so they see our company as a thought leader?
  • What content and offers will result in a positive conversion when our target audience is ready to buy?

The Need for Content
These questions had the group talking about the challenge of having engaging content to serve up to prospects. Several companies use research papers from analysts firms such as Gartner to send out on issues that prospects have shown prior interest, while webinars is a frequent tactic for others. In the case of webinars, one company found their registrations had dropped significantly. In response they experimented with creating 4-5 part series, sometimes with a fee for registration. Registrations did in fact improve.

In most cases, companies are actually sitting on significant quantities of relevant content, usually in paper-form or buried in web sites. In many cases, the content is not readily consumable by your target audience. It is either too long (45 minute webinar, 5-10 page white paper) or only available in one format (lengthy PDFs). Re-purposing the content into shorter briefs (350-400 words) or using 2-3 minute video casts focused on one key idea at a time can be more effective in getting busy decision-makers to opt-in. One company send out individual email and phone follow ups to prospects using that technique.

Buyer Profiles and Personas
Several companies reported success in developing buyer profiles that they had mapped out for each of the buyer types that they target. None of the companies had actually mapped these buyer profiles to content for purposes of automated drip campaigns as of yet, but most are working towards that goal. The active development of profiles is an important part of successful nurturing programs.

One indicates that their inside business development group nurtures the old fashion way by calling (65% of the time) and emailing (35% of the time) to provide collected articles and research reports that they want their prospects to be aware of. Their approach is more of a service, then a promotional appeal, but very labor intensive. They had found that their group email practices were being received as SPAM and blocked, hence the use of individual email and calling.

Campaign Approaches: How to Get Started
Given the newness of the group to the actual practice of lead nurturing, especially with Marketing Automation tools, we reviewed an approach that helps B2B marketers get started and gain traction early on. The approach focuses on demonstrating thought leadership to your target audience; the key point being that, initially it does not require much more than 1 or 2 well written white papers, ideally from a known industry thought leader. The idea is that over a 90 day period, the nurture campaign takes the theme of the white paper and promotes the issue in month 1 as an available download, then in month 2 delivered as a webcast (ideally with the thought leader) and finally in month 3 promotes both in one outbound email.

What’s Next for MA Monday in NYC?
We discussed how often to meet and what topics for future sessions. For now we will look to have NYC meetups on a quarterly schedule – late February/early March.

Requested topics are (in no particular order):

You can see what was discussed at the two meetups in November (SF and Palo Alto) on the topic of lead nurturing in this blog post by Jep Castelein.

Other Resources:
For those who attended in NYC on 12/6 and others who are interested for future meetups, all are advised to join the Marketing Automation Association Group on LinkedIn. Here you will be able to keep up on happenings of the various meetups taking place across the country.

Please let us know what you liked about our 1st session and what can be done to make future meetings more valuable. Comments below are welcomed. I encourage all to spread the word about Marketing Automation Monday. Stay tuned for more.


Posted in B2B Marketing, Lead Management, Lead Nurturing, Marketing Automation, Marketing Automation Monday, Thought Leadership | No Comments »

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