In one corner you’ve got Sales and in the other you’ve got Marketing.
That’s the simplest way to describe the disconnect between sales and marketing. But, alignment between sales and marketing is one of the largest customer and revenue growth opportunities out there for companies. Why aren’t we capitalizing on that opportunity?
One way to solve for this crucial problem is for both teams to collaborate and determine just when a lead is a sales-ready lead. Not all customer’s are ready to purchase, and it’s the job of both sales and marketing to nurture those customers into a sales-ready lead.
What is Lead Nurturing?
According to The Ultimate Revenue Engine Maximizing Results Through Inside Sales & Marketing Automation Jon Miller states, “there is a big gap between when a lead first engages with your company and when they are sales ready. Lead nurturing is the process of closing that gap; it’s the process of building relationships with qualified prospects that aren’t ready to buy with the goal of earning their business.”
Until you see buying signals (such as a view on your Pricing Page), you have to nurture and develop a relationship with your lead and continually be top-of-mind in their Inbox.
These early stage buyers don’t want content about your product. Doing this will only overwhelm them and leave a sour taste in their mouth. Instead, warm up to them. Early stage buyers are more interested in general thought leadership and tangible industry specific information.
Let’s take Bob, for example, he’s a VP of Sales at a mid-size B2B Software company. He’s not necessarily on the market for any new tools, but is interested in what’s out there. Don’t send him an email about your product.
Instead, introduce yourself and attach and industry specific article such as “B2B Sales Crystal Ball: Thought Leaders Weigh on the Biggest Trends of 2015” which he’ll find useful in his role. You’ve provided instant value and should continue in the nurturing process.
How Can Marketing Help in Lead Nurturing?
For salespeople, leaning on marketing to source and resurface the most appropriate information, articles, eBooks, whitepapers and webinars is an incredible advantage.
Kyle Poretto, SDR Manager at NewsCred, has his Sales Development team create a calendar for keeping top-of-the-mind touch with prospects that is shared between his team and marketing. Creating a lead nurturing calendar between sales and marketing helps to remind everyone involved on the flow of the campaign and each team’s responsibilities.
It’s the job of both sales and marketing to get onboard with this calendar and work together to create or curate content for every part of the lead nurturing cycle.
Why Do You Need to Get it Right?
Lead nurturing is not a non linear series of five, six or seven emails that pummels your customer with information about your product. Lead nurturing needs to be structured and accommodating to your dynamic customer base.
The lead nurturing cycle is a pre-sales cycle. And, it’s about the customer and solving their problems.
According to the Aberdeen Group, a provider of fact-based business intelligence research, “lead nurturing is, in its simplest sense, is a way to automate relevant communications with buyers in order to drive conversions through every stage of the buyer’s journey.”
Sales and marketing needs to get lead nurturing process right so everyone can work smarter, together. In a study conducted by the Aberdeen Group, it highlighted that of the companies that have adopted a lead nurturing program, many of them gained a competitive advantage within their industry:
What About Measurement?
Effective lead nurturing gives companies that utilize it a competitive advantage for both sales and marketing. But, as important it is to have relate content within a nurturing campaign, it’s equally important to measure the overall effectiveness of the campaign itself.
Measure for View Rates
This number indicates how many times a recipient opened and read an email within the lead nurturing campaign.
Measure for Conversion Rates
The percentage of recipients that, through the lead nurturing campaign connected with the received content and converted into a paying customer.
Measure for Time for Conversion
Ask yourself: does this length of the lead nurturing campaign sufficient and effective? This metric is defined as the time it takes for a lead to become a paying customer.
Measure for Cost
The moment of truth: was the work worth the cost. Here’s the ROI metric for both sales and marketing in acquiring a new customer.
Lead Nurturing is for Closers
When sales and marketing work together, as a unified team, during the lead nurturing cycle we can dramatically improve cross-team productivity, the entire sales process and company growth.