Lead Nurturing Best Practices [#B2BChat]

Not all prospects are ready to buy immediately, especially in B2B. Lead-nurturing campaigns therefore become imperative for transforming prospects into sales-ready opportunities. Success hinges on planning, creativity and technology working in tandem.

B2BChat

Lead nurturing was the topic of discussion for last week’s #B2BChat, and it was yet another fast-paced exchange of insightful input as our participants tackled the ins and outs of lead nurturing. The chat zoned in on hot questions that dealt with the various lead nurturing strategies that would work, the kinds of content that would have the most impact and success, the significance of lead scoring, the tools that can be used, etc.

This is a summary adapted from the complete transcript and if you want to read the full version then you can just drop by here.

What strategies work for lead nurturing, what doesn’t, and what could be improved upon?

@asuthosh: Nurturing implies constant and strategic engagement and that’s the fundamental basis of nurturing

@fearlesscomp: Story telling process – problem to solution works. Random messaging does not work. To improve, develop deep buyer personas.

@paige_oneill: thought leadership and best practices work well in my experience

@utollwi: Understand the buyers cycle and stage – test the message and call to action – optimize and repeat.

@shelleyryan: Most marketers think of webinars as lead GENERATION events, but they work for lead NURTURING, too.

@andrewspoeth: also, build your lead nurturing strategy around customer trust. High trust = low risk.

@kseniacoffman: Research & understanding the customer – always better than throwing darts in the dark 🙂

What content works well for lead nurturing? How can it be effectively marketed?

@NathanRKing: Content needs to be new and relevant to your target audience.

@fearlesscomp: Tough question. Good content appeals to the recipient and is in the media they like. That’s why insights so critical.

@robbtrost: Provide solutions for the participants. Intriguing content w/ brevity will keep ‘em coming back

@paige_oneill: our best performing pieces by far are all “top 10 steps” “best practices” Everyone hungry for how-tos.

@asuthosh: Content that customers can use, not blatant marketing collateral. Content that helps solve their problems. Trust follows

@andrewspoeth: Use different content for different stages of the purchase cycle in lead nurturing

@utollwi: Good educational content pertinent to the buyer persona and the stage they are in. ROI examples, 3rd party expert info etc.

@chadhorenfeldt: we’ve found from benchmark data that not only content is important but the timing. If it’s timed well, response increases

@ExoPoirier: educating with content on marketing operations basics, helping prospects build their marketing dept, works well for my targets

@kimgeralds: Monitor the conversations to determine what customers are discussing. LinkedIn groups r great. Use content to respond.

What and how significant a role can lead scoring play when nurturing leads?

@fearlesscomp: IMHO Scoring is critical. Cannot know status of nurturing unless we can watch for the “hand raise”

@AGB2BPro: Lead scoring helps determine how far they go along the nurturing path/how much content they receive

@joezuc: Scoring is critical – after all, the nurturing is all about “grooming” the lead for submission to Sales.

@fearlesscomp: Lead nurturing and lead scoring need to be married. Work best used together.

@b2bento: Lead Scoring is the bridge between Marketing and Sales silos too. It’ V.V. Important!

@utollwi: It can be important if honest lead scoring is done recorded Helps set budget for each segment of leads

@joezuc: Lead nurturing w/o scoring serves the firm no purpose. It must always be about moving the ball to the goal (conversion/sales)

@joezuc: and scoring tells the marketer whether to keep nurturing the lead ( to get to sales eventually) or to dump it.

What lead nurturing tools are you using/considering to use? What have the results been to date?

@mcbru: We use intelligent dialogs that survey customers about whether *they* think they’re a hot lead.

@ExoPoirier: hubspot and Sugar CRM tightly integrated

@andrewspoeth: I’ve mostly used Marketo. Very easy to build lead nurturing campaigns and track results. Q4

@fearlesscomp: Marketo is great, but pricey, which is why we use Genoo.

@paige_oneill: That’s what we do (@aprimo) (www.aprimo.com) so I’m lucky to use it. Challenge is adapting people to processes. myself included.

@sharonmostyn: I attended @Eloqua (www.eloqua.com) conference in ’08 & was impressed w/them-I’m sure they’ve made even bigger strides but new emplyr can’t afford

How do you want to see lead nurturing evolve? What’s your wish list?

@joezuc: I want to see lead nurtuing truly become personalized w/content that is individually tailored to a buyer rather than impersonal

@cuferg: More integration of tools, combine offline and online analytics.

@fearlesscomp: My hope is that B2B companies will finally go beyond the bare minimum and craft highly personalized campaigns.

@utollwi: better reports in the tools and always better training for all teams sales & marketing…make them believers

@joezuc: I hope that mktrs consider variable data publishing to include personalized direct mail also during a drip marketing effort.

@sharonmostyn: Lead nurturing wish list: inexpensive automation that easily delivers personalized msgs to the right person at the optimal time.

@ExoPoirier: Lead nurturing OUTSOURCED to specialists like us! Client B2B sales team concentrating on hottest leads. Tried it and it works

@jeremyvictor: Let’s make it “customer nurturing”. We are starting the relationship wrong by calling human beings “leads”

B2BChat

@jeremyvictor: Let’s make it about them not us …

As expected, it was an insightful session indeed. Many thanks to all who participated. Join us for next week’s #B2Bchat, Thursday, August 19, at 8pm Eastern (5pm Pacific, 8am Aug 20 in Singapore). Follow @B2B_chat for updates.

Originally posted at B2BBloggers.com

Anol has over 18 years of experience in consulting hi-tech and telco clients in the field of B2B marketing strategy.

He is a regular columnist in various print and online newspapers, such as Business Times, Straits Times, Marketing Interactive, Asia One, MIS Asia, and CIO Asia

Anol has given keynote addresses, and been a panelist, at BMA (Chicago), Canalys, SES (Hong Kong and Singapore), Click Asia Summit (Mumbai), AdTech (Singapore), SiTF Workshops, etc.

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