In the previous posts we covered the basics of marketing automation, learned the best tools to use and looked into lead generation and lead scoring. In this post we will cover lead nurturing and website analytics which are the final two key elements of marketing automation.
I urge you to read the previous posts before proceeding with this read.
Lead nurturing is the process of developing healthy relationships with leads at every stage of their buyer’s journey and sales funnel. The lead nurturing efforts focus on listening and identifying the needs of the leads and providing answers and actionable solutions to them. Lead nurturing is done mainly via email marketing campaigns, and aims to provide valuable content that will help leads move further down the sales funnel .
Let’s see why lead nurturing is important for B2B businesses in numbers:
- 73% of all B2B leads are not ready to buy
- Only 25% leads are sales ready and should be moved to sales, rest need to be nurtured
- 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of efficient nurturing strategy is the common issue.
- It takes around 10 sales touches to convert leads into buying customers
- 80% of sales are made on the 5th-12th contact with a lead
- Companies that utilize lead nurturing generate 50% more sales at 33% lower costs
- Lead nurturing get around 4-10 times more engagement than standalone emails
- 82% prospects say that targeted lead nurturing content is more valuable to them
- Personalized lead nurturing emails help improve open rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10%
These statistics should clearly answer the question why you should bother with lead nurturing.
Lead nurturing is tied closely together with lead scoring and defining the criteria of MQLs and SQLs. Since almost 80% of leads aren’t ready to buy due to various reasons, it makes no sense to try and persuade them via sales calls. Remember that we live in the age of technology and information is available to anybody with an active internet connection. Any person can jump on his laptop and Google whatever he wants to know about, and most likely, he will find that information.
The purpose of lead nurturing is to basically show potential customers why they should choose your product or service to satisfy their need by helping them solve their business related issues that they are interested in.
With the help of MA, automated lead nurturing can become a real breeze for your company with the help of workflows. The principle to set up those workflows is very similar to what we described above.
In the example in the previous post (the Canva one, remember?), we assumed that the person who became a customer took all his actions on his own.
This is not always the case.
Most of those actions (like downloading another eBook, opening emails, etc.) are results of successful lead nurturing campaigns, which give prospects the answers to their questions, pain points and issues.
Just like before, you will need to choose criteria (buying cycle stage, number of downloads, email open rates, click rates, etc.) on how a certain lead will progress through the sales pipeline and what kind of marketing message will he receive next. The key is to always offer high quality, valuable content to prospects if you want to build trust and help them progress all the way to the bottom of the sales funnel.
Lastly, nurturing can be used for customer retention purposes as well. As you know, the journey doesn’t end with closing leads into customers - you also need to retain your existing customers to maximize profits and nurturing emails are one of the best options available. In fact, in 2014, emails were cited as the most effective digital marketing channel for customer retention in the U.S. and that still remains true to this day.
When MA tools are integrated with your CRM, your receive the single, ultimate reporting and analytics tool that helps combine all marketing and sales data in one single, centralized space, which can be shared among both teams and utilized for improving all sales and marketing related processes.
The best part about all this is the alignment of sales and marketing teams and their activities, since each team will be able to see the actions of the other and use the data to their advantage.
For example, marketers can look at sales reports to determine which marketing campaign brought the most leads and results, and focus their efforts in that direction, while sales teams can make use of personal contact information to tailor their conversations to the specific needs of potential leads they are going to talk to, and dramatically improve conversion rates.
Website analytics make an essential part of any digital marketing strategy and help marketers craft more effective and efficient campaigns, messages and content that will best answer the needs of their potential buyers.
Though marketing campaigns may vary depending on your strategy, there are a number of key metrics that you need to keep track off and monitor all the time:
- Number of website visits (from each channel individually)
- Visitor to lead, lead to MQL, MQL to SQL, etc. conversions
- Number of offers downloaded
- Number of blog comments/shares
- Social media engagement
These metrics will help understand whether your lead scoring and nurturing efforts are making any significant impact, and help apply any changes that are necessary.
We've reached the end of this 3 part series. Hopefully by now you have a fair idea of what MA is and how it can be applied.
MA tools have been proven to help businesses streamline their sales and marketing processes and increase revenue by up to 40%. Keep in mind that the MA adoption and effective utilization will take some time, getting used to and require certain (maybe even significant) changes in your digital marketing strategy and general approach to marketing. The investment starts to pay off after six month of usage and keeps on growing, reaching its full potential after two years of utilization on average.
If you'd like to learn more about how to grow your business using marketing automation, I invite you to download our free "Key beneficial aspects of marketing automation and how to use them" eBook.