School Your Leads [INFOGRAPHIC]

As content marketing becomes more and more popular, it can be hard to differentiate which content is appropriate for which audience. Prospects who have just heard of your business have different needs than prospects who have been engaging with your brand for several months.

Think of your prospects as students. If they’ve just arrived for their first day of school, they’re probably not ready to be tested on advanced material, right? So what are they ready for?

Introducing the guide to “Schooling Your Leads,” an infographic designed by Pardot’s Matt Wesson to help B2B marketers learn how to nurture their leads to a sales-ready state. Prospects are categorized by where they fall in the “education system,” from freshman year to senior year. Each year is accompanied by the content that would be most relevant to that category, like introductory emails for freshmen prospects and video content or infographics for those hard-to-reach sophomores. If you’ve been in a content slump, this guide can help you find relevant content for every stage of the lead nurturing cycle. Check it out below!

School your leads infographic. Full text version at bottom of page.

Even though thinking about school can bring back memories of bad cafeteria lunches and unfortunate hairstyles, using this analogy can be helpful when it comes to nurturing leads with different needs. And providing leads with the right content at the right time can help to shorten your sales cycle and close more deals!

What content have you found works best for your freshman prospects? What about your sophomores, juniors, and seniors? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

School Your Leads Infographic (Text Version)

How Educating Your Leads Can Turn Them Into Sales

The process of nurturing leads to a sales-ready state is all about educating them with relevant and timely content and information to prepare them for purchase. There are distinct stages in the nurturing process with optimal content for each.

First Day of School

If lead nurturing is an education process, then incoming leads are your new students. Each lead comes into the sales cycle with varying degrees of understanding about your product — and all are eager to learn more. In order to get them to a sales-ready state (or graduation), they need to be nurtured through the different stages of the buying cycle.

Just like a traditional educational system, your leads should only advance to the next stage or level once they have reached an appropriate level of understanding. It’s important that leads progress though the education process at their own pace, but there are some basic guidelines for educational materials that will be helpful at each stage of the buying cycle.

Freshman Year

The Freshman is brand new to your industry and product line. He or she may have found you through one of the your marketing or lead generation campaigns, but isn’t quite sure what your product offers. Softer introductory emails, industry white papers, helpful blog posts, and articles are great content ideas for this level of interest.

Sophomore Year

The Sophomores have experienced some of your content, but may have forgotten about you or lost interest. Let’s call this the sophomore slump. To re-engage sophomores, utilize interesting content like infograhics or videos to draw their attention.

Junior Year

The Junior is familiar with your company and industry, but isn’t quite warm enough to get passed over to your sales team. He or she is experienced enough to know the right questions to ask, and is ready to be nudged in your product’s direction. This is a great time to separate yourself from your competitors and remind your prospect why you are the industry leader with powerful information about your product’s strengths.

Senior Year

The Senior is ready to actually buy and should be passed to sales. Seniors have done their homework, are finished with exams and ready to graduate into a full-fledged customer. The best content for this segment is pricing information, free trials, demos, and comparisons of your product with what competitors offer. Seniors are the leads that your sales team really want, and are most likely to close.

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