There’s a lot of talk these days about the vague concept of ‘catering your marketing to your customer.’ But how do you actually do this? How do you give the buyer what they want, when they want it? And, most importantly, how do you achieve this 1:1 personalization on a scaleable level?
The answer, as many marketing automation users have come to recognize, is simple: lead nurturing.
Lead nurturing, also called drip marketing, is one of the most powerful and sought-after features of a marketing automation system — and one that you should take advantage of as early on as possible. With the ability to drive revenue from a database of leads that you’ve already acquired, lead nurturing has the potential to transform the way you do business.
So whether you’re just starting to research a marketing automation solution or you’ve signed a contract and are unsure what to do next, let’s take a quick look at getting started with marketing automation.
Understand Your Goals
Knowing what you want to accomplish with lead nurturing can help you approach it more strategically. Check out some of the most basic benefits of lead nurturing — ones that you can enjoy even if you’re just starting out with one or two simple nurturing tracks.
Do more with less. Whether you’re a one-man marketing department or a sizeable sales team, one thing’s true across the board: today’s marketing and sales teams are strapped for time and resources. Think of lead nurturing as a simple way to put time back into your day — automating many of the time-consuming, manual tasks that go into educating leads to a sales-ready state, and allowing your marketing and sales teams to focus their resources on more strategic initiatives.
Personalize your messaging. Today’s buyers have come to expect a buyer’s journey that’s highly interactive and caters to their specific needs. Not only do nurturing emails deliver the right content at the right time, they also come across as personalized communication. By using plain-text emails instead of HTML, including a personalized signature from a sales rep, taking advantage of variable tags, and sending content based on a prospects’ actions or interests, your sales emails can reach that 1:1 marketing ideal.
77% of business buyers want different content at each stage of the product research process. (Pardot)
Allow each team to play to their respective strengths. Lead nurturing makes for a more efficient business process — not only by automating simple and tedious tasks, but by allowing each team to focus on their respective areas of strength. For marketing, this means messaging, email creation and targeting, content distribution, and the development of campaigns that can successfully nurture leads to sales-readiness. And with these more marketing-related tasks off of their plates, your sales reps are free to concentrate on doing what they do best: closing deals.
Build trust. Today’s buyers have all the tools they need to research products on their own before talking with a sales rep — and they often prefer to do so. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t kickstart the relationship-building process before a prospect is ready to talk. Lead nurturing not only serves as an unobtrusive way to introduce a prospect to the sales rep they’ll be working with, it also begins to establish your company as a credible source of information — so when a prospect is ready to talk, a foundation of trust has already been built.
If you’re just getting ramped up with automation, start with something basic and expand over time based on the results you see. This process should also start with input from your sales team. Have a sales rep walk you through your typical buying cycle and common roadblocks they see:
- What questions are prospects asking as they learn about your product?
- What are the pain points prospects wish to see addressed?
- Are there certain pages on our site, or certain actions a prospect could take, that would indicate to you that a prospect is ready to talk? What are these actions?
Find a few resources that could be helpful for someone in the beginning stages of researching your product, write up a few short emails, and build out a simple nurturing track with minimal branching (be sure to include calls to action and links that can indicate that a prospect is ready to take the next step, so that you can get prospects in front of a rep the moment they’re ready to talk). By placing colder leads on this nurturing track, you ensure that leads are more educated by the time they speak with a sales rep — and that your hard-earned marketing-sourced leads don’t go to waste just because they aren’t yet sales-ready.
Ready to get started? Use the checklist below from our Marketing Automation Success Kit to make sure you’re optimizing your approach as you lay the groundwork for your lead nurturing strategy, and be sure to download the full kit for a big-picture look at setting yourself up for optimal success!