When it’s time to implement a marketing automation system, one of the features that people are most excited about is lead nurturing — and we can’t blame them! The idea of taking leads who aren’t sales-ready and nurturing them through the sales cycle is pretty neat, especially when it can make the marketing team even more indispensable to sales.
There are plenty of scenarios that are great for lead nurturing, from cold lead nurturing to internal use cases (we’ve covered a number of these on our blog recently, including the proper timing and tone for different types of nurturing emails), but what about scenarios in which lead nurturing isn’t as appropriate? What are some of the mistakes that marketers make when setting up their nurturing campaigns?
As Nolin LeChasseur of Brainrider says, “lead nurturing isn’t always the best solution when you need something more immediate to improve engagement.” Not everyone is going to go on a nurturing track, especially if they’re looking for prompt attention from a sales rep. Let’s take a look at some of the “dont’s” of lead nurturing so that you can make sure you’re using it to its full potential.
1. Don’t continue to drip prospects who are already sales-ready.
If your prospects are ready to speak with a sales rep, don’t waste their time and yours by continuing to nurture them. Pass them along to sales so they can get more immediate attention, but be ready to re-nurture them if the prospect doesn’t turn into an opportunity or closed deal.
2. Don’t wait for prospects to reach out to you.
With prospects waiting so long to reach out to companies during the sales cycle (often, they’ve already done a majority of their research!), it’s important that marketers take a proactive approach to lead nurturing in order to reach top-of-funnel prospects.
3. Don’t put prospects on a bunch of different lists.
There’s a fine line between sending just the right amount of email communications and sending too much. To avoid losing subscribers (or worse, getting marked as “spam” and damaging your sending reputation), don’t place prospects on multiple nurturing tracks. Find the program that best meets their needs, and focus on sending targeted communications.
4. Don’t use a one-size-fits-all approach.
While you want to avoid placing prospects on too many lists, you also don’t want to place them all on one list. Your prospects aren’t all going to have the same needs. They’re not all in the same buying situation, and they don’t even always have the same product interests. A one-size-fits-all approach to nurturing is dangerous because it can make your prospects feel like you’re unconcerned with their individual situations — and if you’re not providing the personal attention they crave, it’s highly likely that your competitors are.
5. Don’t over-drip your prospects.
Let’s go back to point number three. One way to over-drip your prospects would be to place them on multiple nurturing tracks — but you can still over-drip even if a prospect is only on one list. Think strategically about the timing of your drip emails. If you have a longer sales cycle like most B2B companies, it probably doesn’t make sense to send a drip email twice a week. Check out this article by Mathew Sweezey to learn more about the optimal timing for your nurturing emails.
6. Don’t forget to personalize.
If you’re segmenting your nurturing lists, you’re creating the perfect opportunity to reach out to prospects with personalized, targeted content. Tailor your emails based on product interest, job title, geographic location, and more. We recommend using plain text emails with a signature from an assigned sales rep to create the most personalized experience possible.
7. Don’t overlook drip email testing.
Just like with any other email program, your drip emails need testing. Use a more formal process like A/B testing to experiment with different elements of your email, or optimize your communications based on the reports available after sending. Is there a huge drop off in your nurturing program where a large percentage of your prospects are stalling? Maybe it’s time to revisit that particular email to see if something more engaging could be substituted.
8. Don’t forget to add supplemental content.
Say you get your prospects to open your drip emails. What next? Make sure there’s a call to action or additional content to keep them engaged and interested. Otherwise, you might as well be sending them an email that just says “hi.”
What other lead nurturing mistakes are worth avoiding? Feel free to keep the conversation going in the comments!