The first step for any lead nurturing cycle is the B2B customer life cycle. The B2B customer life cycle can vary, but overall it’s a term used to describe a lead’s journey to becoming a loyal customer. Most of the time, the life cycle looks something like this:
- Casual subscriber/visitor.
- Subscriber/visitor turns into a lead.
- That lead turns into a marketing qualified lead.
- The marketing qualified lead turns into a potential sales lead.
- The opportunity for a new customer is presented.
- The sale is finalized and lead becomes a customer.
For those of you that work in marketing, your job is to take visitors/subscribers and turn them into a lead which, ideally, will become sales leads. Sales leads are then passed off to the sales team. What people in marketing often struggle with, and get discouraged by, is the low sales conversion rates they see. How can this be changed? Through a structured B2B lead nurturing campaign. Let’s discuss how your B2B campaign should be structured as part of your B2B strategy to ensure an increase in sales conversion rates.
First things first, let’s make sure we all understand the important aspects of any B2B nurturing campaign. Before we start building the steps to a structured B2B nurturing campaign, we need to make sure we touch on the core elements of them.
The Core Elements of a B2B Nurturing Campaign
- Lead Magnets: Engages visitors/subscribers by identifying a challenge they have or by providing them with an answer to that challenge.
- Landing Pages: These are spaces where your lead magnets are hosted. These help visitors better understand what you can offer them.
- Personalization and Segmentation: This helps you better understand what the visitors wants and needs are so you can better assist them and see if they can turn into a lead.
- Email: Contact doesn’t stop at landing pages, it continues into emails. Emails help nurture the relationship because personal conversations can’t always happen. This nurtures the relationship and makes the subscriber feel valued.
- Workflows: One of the most important aspects of a B2B nurturing campaign is workflows. These provide a structure for the lead generation process. This helps marketing and sales teams with structure and a more stream-lined nurturing process.
- Premium Content: For those subscribers that you have developed a relationship with, you have to show them they’re valued and give something in return. Oftentimes, B2B campaigns give subscribers educational content that helps them figure out whether or not they’d like the business’s service in the future. This kind of content can even continue after a lead becomes a customer.
- Analytics: You need to see what’s working and what isn’t, that’s why analytics and reports are essential in B2B nurturing campaigns. This can also help you determine what needs to be better optimized or what is working for you.
- Automation/Tools: Since B2B nurturing can take some time to generate leads, it’s smart to use automation tools to help keep everything organized and streamlined. These can help you track, nurture, and analyze leads so as to turn them into customers. There are hundreds of automation tools out there that you can use to create an effective B2B lead nurturing process.
Now, let’s discuss how you can use these elements to your advantage and how they can help you create a structured B2B lead nurturing campaign.
How to Create a Lead Nurturing Campaign
The first thing you’ll want to do is define the goal of your campaign. As with any kind of campaign, you’re going to have to find out what you want to accomplish with your goal. What kind of customer are you trying to attract? What services are you trying to sell? Answering these questions will help you create goals. If you don’t have a goal and you’re just trying to get any lead you can, it’s going to be difficult to get the results you want. We suggest making your goals S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely).
Secondly, you’re going to define the kind of customer you want to attract, your target audience. When you’re able to determine the ideal customer profile you are looking to target, you can then personalize your campaign to fit their wants, needs, and desires. If you’re trying to target businesses in the sports industry, you’re going to want to change your campaign’s language to relate to their field of work. Buyer personas are essential to determine before moving forward in the B2B lead nurturing campaign process.
Next, you’ll want to implement the nurturing content for your potential leads. You’ll want to start off content such as free educational pieces, blog articles, or e-books/guides. Once you’ve established some interest in this content, you can start to introduce the potential customers to consideration content. This content helps them start to consider your services through things like webinars, white papers, or case studies. If the customer still invests some interest in this content, then it’s time to move them into the consideration stage. This is where you start to send them free demos of your product/service, free trials, or free consultations.
In the last stage of the B2B nurturing campaign, you’ll want to start to use automation software. Content management systems help automate the whole nurturing process so that you can be a bit more hands-off. These systems can help you nurture a relationship without you having to personally nurture each and every one. This is when you start building landing pages, uploading premium content, and creating email campaigns to help nurture the lead through the B2B customer life cycle. Automation systems help customers go through the lead life cycle without you having to be too hands-on. They’ll also help you eventually hand the promising sales lead off to your business’s sales team without you having to lift a finger. Sounds pretty great, right?
The nurturing process is essential when trying to gather promising sales leads and increase sales conversion rates. In order to have a successful B2B nurturing campaign, you need to follow these steps and carefully consider each element of a nurturing campaign.