• Wirya Hassan

Lead nurturing: More power for Your B2B Lead Generation

Updated: Jan 2, 2018

You know this: There are likely to be a lot of contact data in your CRM system. But have you really exploited their potential?


No question, the daily business with existing business customers already costs a lot of energy and time. Hence the good news: even in the B2B environment, newly acquired leads do not necessarily have to be covered by a sales employee. A well thought-out lead management concept picks up B2B users at an early stage and thereby improves new customer business. Especially in the B2B area, automated lead management and lead nurturing can significantly increase efficiency. Because the salesman only deals with a potential prospective buyer, this is qualified as "ready for sale".


The basic idea is to keep your prospects or leads warm at first, so that they do not forget that they have shown interest in your company or offer. Furthermore, this interest

should be further consolidated. At the same time you present yourself as a competent contact person in your area of expertise. But how exactly can this be done? First, there

are two basic choices to make:


Decision 1: Green vs. yellow bananas ...

A basic premise of lead management is that a newly created lead often does not initially want to talk to sales or engage in a concrete offer. Lead management coaches speak of the "green banana effect": If you bite into a green banana, this does not taste nearly as good as a ripe, ie yellow banana. Important: It is not the banana, but the one

who bites too early.


... is by no means a matter of taste

Similar to unripe bananas,this deals with leads that are confronted too soon with a sales offer. Above all, B2B users are looking for trade or industry information.

Accordingly, the specific purchase intent of this target group develops later. In the B2B environment, users often do not even know what their needs are and what they are

looking for. This can cause them to feel annoyed by an early call from sales. In the worst case, he jumps off and looks at the competition for a solution. On the other hand,

because of his low current willingness to buy, the sales employee may consider him unusable with regard to the sales target. So anyone looking for immediate contact with

newfound leads may give away a lot of potential.


Decision 2: Mailing vs. Nurtures ...

Do you also prefer the yellow bananas to the green ones? Then in the next step, you should consider how exactly you want to proceed. Unlike bananas, which you can simply

leave lying until they are ripe, it is important to always provide the leads with useful and attractive information. There are two options: email marketing or lead nurturing.


... means email marketing ...

Email marketing lets you send the same e-mail messages to all the contacts in your data pool, regardless of whether your recipients open them, read their content, or click on

the links they contain. For example, so-called Automailer campaigns are suitable for this: Their email marketing software sends automatically prepared, successive emails with

informative content on a specific topic. An example: Anyone who has downloaded an e-book on a particular topic receives regular tips about this particular topic over a

certain period of time.


... or lead nurturing ...

The lead nurturing, on the other hand, is a silent dialogue: Any email you send to your prospective customers will return information. On the basis of which you can customize

the respective lead profile. This will determine the ideal time for direct contact. On the other, it makes your acquisition process increasingly efficient. Because you only

contact qualified leads – i.e. only prospective buyers willing to invest. In particular, if you have generated a lot of leads, it helps to filter out the contacts that are

interesting in terms of your sales target. Here, lead-nurturing is much better than email marketing. However, this also requires a little extra effort....


depending on the objective

Define in advance what exactly you want to achieve: filter and develop your prospects, or just keep them on the hook, keeping the name of your business in mind. Keep in mind

that blending both approaches not only complicates your entire communication, but also complicates your new customer business and subsequent sales efforts. However, you can

test both variants in separate campaigns with different themes and triggers to find the way that suits you best. If you choose a true lead nurturing campaign, the following

four tips will tell you how best to plan it and what to look for:


Tip 1: Design purposefully ...

You have chosen lead nurturing as a concrete strategy for B2B lead generation? Then you will accompany your prospects step by step until the investment decision. Campaign

planning is therefore a bit trickier. From a conceptual point of view, such a campaign is thought through relatively quickly. A practical example: You are offering the

download of a white paper on the topic "Industrial leak testing methods". You offer your prospective customers useful information. You help them with their selection process

and in exchange they leave you their data.


After completing the download form, they receives a double-opt-in-mail, which they confirm. Then they get the download link. When they download the whitepaper, they receive a

mailing invitation to a webinar a week later. In this you explain which test methods are suitable for which application scenarios in which industries. If they haven’t

downloaded the whitepaper, they will first receive a reminder. If they do not react, it is advisable to offer them alternative content. For example, a checklist of the most

common sources of error in industrial leak testing.


... but also technically easy to implement.

From a technical point of view, setting up a lead nurturing campaign is a bit more complicated. As beautiful and personalized as a campaign on paper may be, the more complex

the need for programming, the more error prone the automated campaign will be. Although you can record in your lead data who downloaded the white paper. In the second nurture

stage, however, it may make sense not to address this in the speech. This means that they are not taking the first offer, the whitepaper, but the checklist in the mailing as

the second Nurture content.

From a sales perspective, of course, the individual reference and linking of the Nurture levels is an advantage. Here it is recommended to set the benefit in relation to the

effort. Note that in a multi-level campaign, each email must match each lead. An assignment error and the wrong address - "You downloaded the XY whitepaper" - are

embarrassing. But they can also cause the lead to exit the process.


Tip 2: Think holistically.

When designing a nurturing campaign to further qualify the lead, holistic thinking is crucial to success: the conceptualist who designs the campaign and the programmer, the

IT specialist with the necessary technical know-how, must work together closely. The aim should be to avoid unnecessary complexity of the campaign and to avoid the "sea of a

thousand possibilities".

A collaborative flowchart can help keep track of things and streamline the various campaign strands across each level of nurture. It is important that the project team

carefully documents all development steps in campaign planning. This is more a step backwards to adapt the further communication processes to new requirements.


Tip 3: Avoid the butterfly effect.

Flexibility is important in all communication projects, including lead nurturing. The stability of your campaign construct should not be sacrificed. A well-functioning

structure forms the basis for successful communication across the various nurture levels. Weigh in advance how flexible or scalable your construct must be. In particular, if

you make changes to the baseline conditions, this can have a kind of butterfly effect and confuse the campaign structure. For example, another step into your nurturing

campaign.

Better: think in advance how many escalations your campaign might contain. First, insert some blind strands that you are not using for the time being. In this way, you can

ensure the stability of your campaign with all the interconnections and possible nurture runs of your leads. At the same time you remain flexible enough for changes without

much effort.


Tip 4: Collect data sparingly ...

The big advantage: In contrast to email marketing, the focus in lead nurturing is not just on distributing specialist information. Data is also obtained that specifies the

profile of the individual lead. This will make future communication measures even more accurate. When asking for data, you should be sensitive. First, think about what you

really need to know about a lead, depending on the level of nurture or phase of the decision making process.

At the beginning, it usually suffices to have the email address and the consent that you can contact the lead by email in the future. Also in the further course of the

campaign you should demand data rather sparingly. Otherwise, your lead feels quickly interrogated. Of course, at some point you would like to know which decision-making

authority your lead has, whether it can approve the investment on its own or what its decision-making horizon is. Nevertheless, it is important not to ask these questions too

soon.


... and unobtrusive.

Alternatively - or in addition - to directly query such information during the download process, you can also analyze the behavior of a lead. Through specific content you

will learn more about him and the situation in his company. Specifically, this means: In your Nurture Mail, for example, you can offer a white paper with "Tips for

introducing CRM software" and a checklist "When a change of provider pays off for your CRM system".


If the lead clicks on the checklist instead of requesting the whitepaper, you can assume that it already has a CRM system in use. The advantage of this procedure: The user

has to release a little information about himself. But you still get a meaningful picture of him. Especially important: Regardless of how you collect, store and evaluate data

about your leads, you should absolutely do so in accordance with the law.


Conclusion: Especially in the B2B environment lead nurturing is an exciting and important topic. It is precisely here that information search on the Internet is an elementary

component on the way to a purchase decision. There is a lot to be said for picking up these prospects right there. After all, B2B users first of all search for technical

information. A nurturing campaign can optimally provide them with the information they need. At best, this increases the interest to make a purchase.


If a provider allows the free download of the useful information only in exchange for data of the interested party, the company automatically gains new leads. A subsequent

lead nurturing process can filter out certain interested parties. Namely, those in which demand, decision-making and investment intent are concretely apparent. Then it pays

off to hand over the qualified lead to the sales department. Because: good lead management does not make the sales staff redundant - it makes them more successful.


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