By: John Seroka
Are you challenged with converting your leads into new business? Do you feel like you try to nurture them along, but they disappear and land at the front door of your competitor?
Many B2B companies in the mortgage and fintech industries lack an effective lead nurturing program that can lead to more conversions.
How many communications are you subjected to through your inbox, in your social feed or online advertising are totally irrelevant to you? Or, don’t consider that you already saw a product demo?
Poor lead nurturing is why your target audience gets distracted by a competitor that reaches out with the right information at the right time and lands up closing the deal.
Lead nurturing is like dating. You can’t get married based on a good first impression. You have to know how to stoke the fire and build trust and rapport before you have a shot at closing the deal!
What Are Best Practices for Lead Nurturing?
Here are 7 top lead nurturing best practices you need to master to succeed in today’s new business environment.
1. Sales and marketing alignment: Your marketing team must understand your sales process and the decision path prospects take before closing. What content do they find most important to them? What questions do they ask? At what points does the sales team incur challenges that could help identify gaps in content?
Ideally, marketing should attend sales calls to acquire this knowledge first hand. Also, marketing needs to understand from sales what defines a “qualified” lead and at what point a lead is transferred from marketing to the sales team.
2. Segment your leads: Companies of different types and people with different titles within those companies all have different needs that need to be met. Some are decision-makers and others are influencers. Segment your leads according to company type (ex. bank, credit union, independent mortgage banker, broker, etc.), geography, target personas and more.
Also, drill down even further by integrating survey questions into your emails and landing pages. Ask questions like “What (LOS, PPE, BPM software, etc.) do you currently use?”, “What’s your annual origination volume?”, “How many LO’s do you have?”, “How many branches do you have?” or any other relevant questions to help you determine their needs or qualifications to do business with you.
This information is helpful for campaign targeting and tracking as well as content development.
3. Have a paid media plan: LinkedIn Matched Audiences, Facebook Ads and other platforms provide great opportunities to target your audience segments with precision. Be sure to target each segment with relevant messages to them in order to move them along the buyer journey and consider your company.
4. Develop content that fits each stage of the buyer’s journey: The 3 basic stages are awareness, consideration and decision. Break down these stages for each segment and develop content for each stage that can be used in your emails and other promotions.
Be sure to use a good variety of content (blog posts, infographics, videos, white papers, etc.) as different people respond to different stimuli.
5. Get personal: Use personalization tokens wherever possible. Make your leads feel like you properly identified their interests, know their company, name, industry, geography and anything else that makes sense. This isn’t creepy, it’s expected now if you want to stand out from the masses.
6. Use limited gated content: Gated content is a great way to capture information on the most ambitious sector of your audience – those who are willing to trade personal information for high-value content. But you should give away as much as you can for free so that when they come across the gated content, they assign a high value to it and are more willing to make that information trade-off.
7. Lead classification: Understanding the different types of leads and how to approach them is critical to the nurturing process.
Here are 3 basic lead classifications you should be using:
General: This is a lead that has visited your website and has shared limited personal information, like their email address, to subscribe to a newsletter. You still have no idea if this lead fits your criteria for doing business.
Marketing Qualified Lead: This is a lead that has taken further action. Maybe they traded more information to download a white paper. They are a true MQL if they are within your industry and meet other basic criteria to do business with you.
Sales Qualified Lead: This is a lead that has come back to your site, visited pages, downloaded information, requested a product demo, etc. An SQL will require personal one-on-one interaction.
Taking a precise, planned approach to nurturing your leads through their individual buyer journeys is critical today. It will help you stand out from the competing noise they encounter daily.
Adding an automated marketing system (AMS) to your tech stack can help you nurture a large volume of leads. However, only about 1 out of 5 AMS users rate themselves as “above average in their abilities, a clear indication they lack proficiency with the lead nurturing functionality.
Simply taking the time to learn how to use it beyond the basic email and social publishing functionality will put you ahead of nearly 80% of your competitors!
If you would like help developing a strong lead nurturing program and implementing an automated marketing system, contact us now for a free consultation.