Henry Ford once said, “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.” He said that as he rolled out the Model T which had a major revenue impact on the automobile assembly process. Eventually Ford’s Model T evolved into other cars—taking on many colors, shapes, and styles.
I think the same holds true for lead nurturing—which has had a major revenue impact on the lead management process. Marketers roll out lead nurturing primary for new customer acquisition. This makes sense as most leads are not “Sales Ready.” Why pass a high volume of leads to Sales that will not convert to opportunities in today? That is not to say that most of these leads won’t buy, they are just not buying today. So instead of abandoning these leads, savvy marketers “nurture” them and get 20%, 25%, or 30% of those leads to engage and become qualified opportunities over time—and see significant incremental revenue.
But that is where lead nurturing ends for most.
However, as with Mr. Ford’s Model T, lead nurturing has evolved—taking on different shapes and styles as well. If you are not leveraging them, you could be leaving $400,000, $4,000,000, or even $40,000,000 on the table. Let me touch on five of them.
The 5 Types of Lead Nurturing Programs
- New Customer Acquisition: I addressed this one above. But for those not doing lead nurturing, this is where you should start. Don’t think of lead nurturing just in terms of email. Think of it as an omni-channel journey where you are pushing out relevant content (of all styles) to specific personas at a specific stage in the buying cycle. You will find that this approach will help drive higher quality leads down the pipeline and build awareness and recognition in the marketplace.
- New Product launch/Update: Most marketers use this opportunity to just publish a press release, leverage social media, and send out an email. However, a new product launch is a great time to roll out a lead nurturing campaign that engages and educates various audiences with differing messages of consideration. According to Marketing Donut, “63% of people requesting information on your company today will not purchase for at least three months—20% will take more than 12 months to buy.” Use a well-designed lead nurturing program to accelerate the purchase decision for many.
- Existing Customer Upsell/Cross-sell: Too many marketers focus all their time on acquiring new customers and overlook existing customers. For many companies, over 75% of their revenue comes from existing customers. What makes this lead nurturing approach particularly interesting is that you can leverage purchase history as well as buying preferences and behaviors to help you segment audiences and identify your upsell/cross-sell opportunities. In your organization, these types of campaigns may not come from Marketing but rather Customer Success, Customer Service, or Account Management (who many not be familiar with the mechanics of lead nurturing) so the initiative may require Marketing to work with these other teams to kick off the program. No matter where they come from, these campaigns will make your customers feel valued and help improve loyalty.
- Dormant Customer Re-engagement: No matter how strong your marketing is, you are going to have a certain percentage of dormant customers/prospects. For this type of lead nurturing program to be successful, you are going to have to data-driven. Accurate data that you can use to segment your audiences is key. Research does show that the investment of your time is worth it. Many companies have seen up to 35% of their dormant customers and prospects re-engage and even become active advocates for their products, services, or brands. You have already made the investment in acquiring these names and many of them had expressed a good amount of interest in your company at some time so they are worth reaching out to one more time.
- Competitive Win-Back: The vendor-customer relationship can be hard to explain and understand. Sometimes you just don’t know what happened at a specific stage in a given buyer’s journey. What you can know is that whatever that trigger was that caused a customer to choose your competitor over you can also work against your competitor. Sometimes it is just a matter of time. With this type of lead nurturing program you need to make sure that you are showcasing very clear value propositions and competitive advantages (pricing, benefits, support, training, etc.) The tone for these lead nurturing campaigns is usually a bit bolder and stronger than in the other mentioned campaigns.
Keep Your Leads Alive With Lead Nurturing & Recycling
I’ve got another one for you: For those of you who have a formal lead management process and are leveraging marketing automation, don’t forget about Lead Recycling. Sometimes, no matter how well Marketing qualifies a lead, once it is handed over to Sales, it is not accepted. Perhaps budget has changed. Other times a timeline has been altered. Who knows? If that lead is “recycled,” it will go back to Marketing to be nurtured again. However, it should be placed in a new, different lead nurturing program from those leads that are going down the lead management funnel for the first time. Since lead nurturing is all about timing and getting the right message to a specific prospect or customer when they are ready to buy, lead recycling programs can be fairly successful.
You will probably need to start these different lead nurturing programs as drip campaigns and map out a consistent drop cadence. The duration of the campaign will vary depending on the type and amount of available content but these campaigns can run anywhere from six weeks to six months. If you are using a marketing automation platform, you will eventually want to evolve to a trigger-based campaign based on various customer or prospect behaviors.
Obviously if you are new to lead nurturing, your best bet is probably to set up a new customer acquisition campaign and try and get more of your leads to move down the funnel as they become more qualified. However, for those of you who have been running this type of lead nurturing for a while now, I challenge you to set up the other lead nurturing programs and see if you don’t find that you have been leaving a significant amount of money on the table. As Henry Ford also said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
If you would like to learn more about MarketBridge and our RevenueEngine approach to lead nurturing visit Market-Bridge.com