5 winning steps to a lead generation and nurturing strategy
When I started delivering outsourced marketing support I took it for granted that lead generation and a great nurturing campaign were part of most companies’ everyday tactics and business development strategies. I soon discovered this was not the case and I found myself developing from an inbound marketeer to executing growth marketing.
By the time someone calls me they are experiencing the effects of not having a planned lead generation pipeline in place. Tell tale signs are:
- Dusty outdated prospect (and even customer) databases or none in place at all.
- Slow sales often reliant on a few key clients with too few new customers coming into the business.
- No planned nurturing in place for any enquiries.
- They are often in a hurry and looking for that silver bullet or knight in shining armour.
- No proactive targetted lead generation and no nurture of leads that did appear.
My work helps businesses embrace the concept of marketing to build lead generation pipelines and nurturing processes to take prospects on a journey from curiosity to closing. When you consider the statistic that 65% of B2B marketers have not established lead nurturing programs. (Source: MarketingSherpa) if you do embrace this strategy you can rest assured that your company will definitely be ahead of the competition!
A well thought out, interactive lead nurturing strategy that includes proactive outreach is really important for B2B businesses. In B2B the sales process is longer and customers appreciate having the opportunity to build strong bonds with the company. Add to this the fact that Inbound marketers have flooded the internet with so much nearly identical content that your prospects are often overwhelmed and don’t have time to sift through it all to find a solution. So the opportunity is they want you to solve that overwhelm. They’re much more willing to talk to a sales person early on, if you can show them that you have the best solution to their problem quickly.
So what are the key 5 steps to get in place
Who is your target market for this lead generation pipeline?
The important thing is to speak to someone and not try to communicate with everyone. Look to create a pipeline/journey for each of your markets, much of your content will cross over and serve different markets but its important that you are aware of the journey and decision making each target market takes.
Where is your market online and offline. Who is the target position in the business that you need to approach? Who is the decision maker? Is it a person/position or is it a committee/board. Where you are looking at committee or board level decisions you need to think of the questions different positions will ask of your solution. For example, make sure you can address the financial and technical aspects.
Can you find them on line, are they on Linked In, reach out and connect so they can consume their content, you in turn can consume theirs. Even if they don’t appear to be active LinkedIn is definitely a platform with a lot of lurkers so there are lots of people watching even if they are not engaging. The more positive touchpoints a prospect has with your business over time, the more likely he or she will be to trust your brand and eventually purchase from you.
What is your proposition?
It is really important that get clear on who you serve and results you get for people.
The solution you deliver is your proposition and it is vital that you and your team have clarity on what the key benefits for the prospect are. When you are clear on the solutions you deliver and the benefits your market gets you can talk about the gap between where they are at now and where they could be with your solution in their lives.
If you define yourself by the tasks you undertake or the industry you are in then you remain totally comparable with all your competitors and so you are in a price driven circus. Unless you want to be the cheapest then avoid being comparable. I have written more on getting to the why they need your solution in their life here – https://yourleadgeneration.co.uk/the-why-gets-the-buy/
One of the things I work on with my clients is their “unique approach” as it takes them down the journey of establishing their difference, USPs, remarkableness. The purpose is to get them as far away from their competitors as possible. You can read more about it here. https://yourleadgeneration.co.uk/crafting-your-unique-approach/
Plan your cold outreach
I have a fuller blog on the importance of creating an elevator pitch here which is so much more than just creating a headline – the journey you go through to get to your “pitch” gets you really clear on what you stand for, who you serve and the value you bring. https://yourleadgeneration.co.uk/the-importance-of-an-elevator-pitch/
When you are doing cold outreach of any kind you are interrupting your prospect from whatever they were doing. You have seconds to get them to take the next small step (read the next paragraph, consume the next email, read the blog, take the phone call). What are the steps from zero to get to your goal, break them down to the smallest possible. To get an appointment you first have to find the position, then the name etc and that can take a couple of calls from different stances if you keep getting stone walled, you might need to find them on social media and get in their world.
Be realistic and be patient, this is the long game. Narrow down individual strategies and deliver a more personalized approach. Once you’ve done that, you can offer your customer something of relevant value instead of immediately jumping into a sales pitch. They’ll pay more attention if you can give before you take from them and have done your research.
After this, you can start sending emails and making phone calls, direct them to content, invite them to a webinar. Set up goals you want to accomplish with each touch you take.
Make sure you have realistic expectations and check if it feels human, ask yourself if you were this prospect with a need for your solution would you take this step if presented with x offer? Yur lead is not an email or a phone number they are a person – just like you so be human and it will repay you! Read more about a great direct marketing approach here https://yourleadgeneration.co.uk/what-is-direct-marketing/
Have your world in order.
93% of business purchases begin on the web. Is your website optimized for this purpose? Do you have offers that would make someone want to respond? In the B2B arena, do you have case histories that make customers want to contact you? Do you have an ongoing email marketing effort with educational information and calls to action that are relevant to your audience?
You need to be prepared to test and measure and tweak, have a beginners mind don’t assume too much. You don’t know what you don’t know. Your pipeline will include how you use off line and on ine assets and content to take prospects on that journey and furnish the content and information they need at the different stages.
Once it is built your pipeline is an asset that will mature with you so the work you do on building your pipeline is an investment.
I want to talk about event marketing even though we are still on the lockdown side of a global pandemic. Webinars and zoom events have established themselves as a good online lead generator/nurture tool and with clever thought you can turn them into a great lead generator but give value, be specific and be alive on them.
If you have a reasonable customer base in a geographic location, having a relevant customer event is a good strategy. For instance, do your customers like a particular sport that you could book corporate hospitality at. Would they be interested in gathering for a networking event at a trendy restaurant or listening to a speaker about an important topic? All of these strategies can work, depending on what appeals to your audience.
One word of caution, if you are new to a market, accept that you may have to establish your brand first before moving to an event strategy that attracts qualified leads
Tell ‘em, tell ‘em you’re going to tell ‘em and then tell ‘em what you told them! Nurturing cold leads means follow up and lots of planned touch points with a purpose.
It is so important because these are people that have never had any contact with your business, nor are they actively seeking to get in touch.
- A few carefully-crafted value giving/educational emails could pique their interest and make sure they remember you.
- Regular posting on LinkedIn (or whatever platform they hang out), sharing blogs so when they do end up needing your services, they’ll know exactly where to look.
- But leaving it to chance is not enough, you need to cultivate their interest by staying in touch and offering help when they ask for it.
- Break the journey down into steps and plan the goal for each of those steps or touches as we call them.
- Remember, Approximately 96% of website visitors aren’t ready to purchase your lead generation nurturing strategy becomes very important (Marketo).
- Make sure when they visit your world you capture their interest (and email) , take an interest in them and let them build that all important know, like and trust.