Lead NurturiNg: a MuLti-touch Lead Nurturing: A Multi-Touch Approach Professor Stevens defines lead

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  • EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

    Lead NurturiNg: a MuLti-touch JourNey

    speakers Ruth P. Stevens, Adjunct Professor, Columbia Business School; Author, Maximizing Lead Generation: The Complete Guide for B2B Marketers

    Erik Matlick, CEO Madison Logic

    moderator Lana McGilvray, Principal, Blast PR

    WEbInAR – APRIL 4, 2013

    © Madison Logic | (646) 937-5800 | www.madisonlogic.com Created for Madison Logic by BullsEye Resources, www.bullseyeresources.com.

    http://www.madisonlogic.com http://www.bullseyeresources.com

  • Lead NurturiNg: a MuLti-touch JourNey Ruth P. Stevens, Adjunct Professor, Columbia Business School; Author, Maximizing Lead Generation: The Complete Guide for B2B Marketers Erik Matlick, CEO Madison Logic Lana McGilvray (Moderator), Principal, Blast PR

    Overview With the right execution, an effective B2B lead nurturing program begins as soon as a prospect becomes a lead and continues until a relationship has been built, the lead is qualified and forwarded to a sales person for follow up, which can take months. However, nurturing has proven to be extremely worthwhile, as half of all buyers’ inquiries eventually result in a purchase.

    The keys to an effective, efficient lead nurturing program are: • Begin nurturing immediately after interest is expressed

    • Offer content appropriate for every stage of a prospect’s buying journey

    • Use marketing automation technology to personalize interactions and track responses

    • Leverage multiple communication channels for a multi-touch program

    In the world of B2B marketing, the purpose of lead nurturing is to convert prospects into qualified leads and ultimately into customers—in an efficient, cost-effective, scalable way.

    Context: Webinar Professor Ruth P. Stevens defined lead nurturing in todays world, described its importance and shared best practices for maximizing lead-nurturing effectiveness. Erik Matlick outlined the B2B customer journey and described the role lead nurturing and marketing automation can play in improving marketing effectiveness by providing Madison Logic research helping to clarify the timing of the discovery phase.

    Key Takeaways ThE B2B cuSToMER jouRnEy can BE long and coMPlicaTEd. In the consumer world, there is just one decision maker and the sales cycle is often very short and simple. The B2B sales journey is very different—and much more complex. It typically begins with a discovery and research process, where information is gathered and reviewed. It then proceeds to a decision process, which can be lengthy and complicated, and can involve bids, RFPs, and multiple influencers. This journey can last six, twelve or even eighteen months or more.

    oncE lEadS aRE gEnERaTEd, iT iS ESSEnTial To “nuRTuRE” ThEM unTil ThEy aRE REady foR a SalES. Marketers engage in various lead-generating activities to identify prospective customers. However, all marketers (and sales people) know that merely generating a lead is just the first step in having a qualified lead. The job of a marketer is not just to generate a large quantity of leads, but to furnish sales people with high-quality, qualified leads to ensure the most productive use of sales’ time.

    As a result of the long-tail nature of the B2B buying process, many of the leads that are generated are early in their discovery and research process, and are neither qualified nor ready to be passed off to a sales person. While many of these prospects may not yet be ready to buy today, many will buy eventually. This is where lead nurturing comes in.

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

    © Madison Logic | (646) 937-5800 | www.madisonlogic.com Created for Madison Logic by BullsEye Resources, www.bullseyeresources.com.

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    http://www.madisonlogic.com http://www.bullseyeresources.com

  • © Madison Logic | (646) 937-5800 | www.madisonlogic.com Created for Madison Logic by BullsEye Resources, www.bullseyeresources.com.

    3

    Lead Nurturing: A Multi-Touch Approach

    Professor Stevens defines lead nurturing as “A series of communications to build awareness and trust and maintain contact until the prospect is ready to see a sales person,” and she outlined a strong business case for lead nurturing:

    • 45% of all business inquiries result in a sale—eventually. Building a relationship through lead nurturing reduces the odds of that sale going to competitors.1

    • 80% of sales teams do not call unqualified leads. So, through lead nurturing, sales is furnished only with qualified leads who are ready to see a sales person.2

    • Best-in-class marketers are twice as likely to have a nurturing program as their average peers. They experience better campaign response rates, lead qualification rates and average order sizes.3

    • Nurtured leads place 47% larger orders on average than non-nurtured leads.4

    EffEcTivE lEad nuRTuRing PRovidES ThE infoRMaTion ThaT PRoSPEcTS nEEd, whEn ThEy nEEd iT MoST. Today’s buyers conduct online research for solutions independently, only engaging with sales people towards the end of their information- gathering process. By providing relevant educational materials, marketers have an opportunity to help potential buyers in their research and begin building a relationship with prospects earlier than ever before. Ultimate success requires sustaining the relationship. To hold prolonged interest, communications need to be in sync with various points along the buyer’s journey.

    Some lead nurturing best practices include:

    • Personalize. Lead qualification forms need to ask the right questions to yield specific interest- and need-related data. Marketers can then leverage that data by providing links to customized landing pages that speak directly to the buyers’ precise needs and interests.

    • Deliver real value. Communications should be educational, relevant and unique, with a high perceived value. Delivering appropriate communications requires marketers to develop a content strategy that maps the type of content (white papers, infographics, webinars, etc.) to the stage where prospects are in their buying journey. Early in the information-gathering, buyers seek out general, educational information. Later in the process, marketing materials can (and should) be more persuasive and convey to prospects what is unique about your company and why they should buy from you.

    • Track responses. All user actions (e-mail opens, clicks, page visits and time spent, downloads, etc.) need to be tracked. This response data can be used to ensure that subsequent messages are relevant, targeted and refined over time.

    MaRkETing auToMaTion iS now ESSEnTial To lEad ManagEMEnT. Another key factor to successful lead nurturing is personalization: delivering the right content to a prospect at the right time and tracking responses. These practices cannot be implemented at scale without proper automation. Using marketing automation technology improves a marketer’s lead-nurturing effectiveness and boosts returns.

    Results of a survey among senior-level marketers indicate that the utilization of marketing automation correlates with a more robust sales pipeline, provides greater visibility into marketing activities and yields better customer insights while improving efficiency and accountability. (Figure 1)

    Based on these benefits, marketing automation is extremely beneficial to marketers from companies of all sizes. The industry is expected to reach $1 billion in sales in 2013. Marketing automation company Eloqua was acquired at the end of 2012 and Marketo has recently gone public.

    “Nurturing is not selling, or blasting, or chest-thumping. Keep the communications non-salesy.” –Ruth P. Stevens

    http://www.madisonlogic.com http://www.bullseyeresources.com

  • © Madison Logic | (646) 937-5800 | www.madisonlogic.com Created for Madison Logic by BullsEye Resources, www.bullseyeresources.com.

    4

    Lead Nurturing: A Multi-Touch Approach

    However, penetration rates for marketing automation remain low: only 6% of companies that conduct marketing activities have thus far automated their marketing. Among large companies with at least $500 million in annual revenue, about 36% have done so.5 This implies a compelling value proposition among those aware of marketing automation.

    figure 1 Marketing automation is now essential to lead management.

    auToMaTEd lEad-nuRTuRing PRacTicES aRE STill in ThEiR infancy. While marketing automation is garnering much attention, the lead-nurturing practices that use automation are still in their infancy. Common strategies being employed today do not fully leverage what is known about B2B buyers, or their position along the purchasing journey.

    Consider the typical marketing automation campaign timeline: A user’s action (e.g., filling out a form on a website or downloading a white paper) triggers a series of e-mails that typically start arriving about two weeks later. E-mails continue at a deliberate pace until the recipient either becomes a qualified lead or opts out (which occurs 20–25% of the time on a yearly basis). Multiple e-mail touches forge relationships and drive engagement, which is good. However, many problems exist in how automated lead nurturing is often executed.

    Common problems include:

    • Poorly timed messaging. Messages often go out slowly, particularly the initial e-mails which typically tend to arrive 14 days after a prospect’s indication of interest. By then, many buyers in the discovery and research stage have already gathered all of the information needed