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A Beginner’s Guide to Lead Nurturing

It would be so easy if every sales lead you contacted was ready to make a purchase. Unfortunately, they’re not. In fact, more than 50% of the leads in any sales database will not be ready to buy. So, you need to keep in touch with them until they are ready.

Ideally, you’ll be able to deepen and solidify your relationship with your lead during this time. That’s lead nurturing.

When you get lead nurturing right, you can ensure that when the prospect is ready to buy, they come straight to you. Businesses that initiate lead nurturing make 50% more sales than those that don’t, while leads that receive nurturing make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.

Let’s find out more about lead nurturing and how to do it most effectively, to support your B2B marketing efforts.

What is lead nurturing?

Lead nurturing is the process of building and growing relationships with your prospects, from the moment they enter your funnel until the moment they become customers.

It’s a marketing activity that anticipates what a prospect wants to know at each step on the buyer’s journey, providing them with the information they need through content. Now let’s look at lead nurturing in more detail.

Lead nurturing – step by step

Here are the four steps you need to follow for effective lead nurturing:

1 – Lead scoring

Not every lead will be at the same stage of the buyer’s journey. Leads will require different content with different calls to action, depending on where they are. Lead scoring is the process of segmenting your leads, so you send the right content at the right time. For this, you need to collect B2B data.

Assign each lead a score based on their interactions with your company. For example, award points for:

  • Website visits.
  • Downloads (e.g. whitepapers, eBooks).
  • Engagement with social media.
  • Videos viewed.
  • Calls your sales team.

The higher the score, the more interested they are and the more likely they are to be ready to buy. Lead scoring makes it easy to map out a lead’s journey to becoming a customer.

2 – Create and send excellent content

Once you have your leads segmented, you will need to create compelling content that moves them along your sales funnel.

There’s no right or wrong answer to what content you should make. Whether it’s downloadable eBooks, videos, webinars, or anything else, experiment to find out what is right for your brand.

It is also worth bearing in mind that by sending a variety of content types, you are more likely to connect with a particular lead. Different people prefer different ways of communicating, so mix it up! Here are some tips you can follow:

  • Use buyer personas to make sure everything you create is relevant and targeted.
  • Going beyond email – Email may be your first instinct, but not every prospect will want to read your emails. Think about social media, PPC advertising, video, or something completely different.
  • Don’t give up – On average you will need to make 10 marketing touches to make the sale.
  • Follow up fast – If you receive an interaction from a prospect, such as a website visit, send out the next piece of content while your brand is still fresh in their mind.
  • Get personal – Use your prospect’s names to generate better responses.

Sales and marketing teams should be aligned on lead nurturing, collaborating on lead scoring and the questions different leads are asking.

3 – Automate everything

While we recommend a multi-channel approach, the speed, functionality, and cost-effectiveness of email will mean that the bulk of your lead nurturing will probably take place in your prospects’ inboxes.

Make sure you use automation technology (such as Cognism Prospector) to boost the impact of your email marketing. Set optimized timeframes, log responses and move leads through your funnel with ease.

4 – Refine the process

One benefit of lead nurturing campaigns is that you can use them to find useful information about the lead. This can be used to improve the content they are receiving.

For example, if you place links in your lead nurturing email for two different products, you can track which link gets clicked with a Google Analytics UTM code.

Using this information, you can separate the lead list depending on the link they clicked on, and send them more relevant content in the future.

This is just one way to use the information you gather through lead nurturing campaigns to refine the process. It’s worth trying your own variations on this to see what works.

5 – Hand it over

While not all leads will respond to your nurturing activity, when a lead reaches a specific score in your system, it will be time to let the sales team into the process. Your salespeople will be able to take them through to the end of the process.

When placed in the right hands, cold calling can be a highly effective tool. However, after a lead has been through the nurturing process, your sales team will already feel familiar with them. Gaining the trust of a lead can be hard work, and your sales team will be grateful for the hard work you’ve put in! Now all they have to focus on is calls, demos, and eventually, a close.

Find out more from Cognism

If you’re looking for more B2B marketing insights – we’ve published an eBook Demand Generation: How to create demand that drives growth. 

Get all the growth hacking and content marketing advice you need, as used by some of the top B2B and SaaS companies in the world today.

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Author Bio

Joe Barron is the Content Manager at Cognism, the world’s leading all-in-one globally compliant prospecting solution. He is responsible for developing market-leading content that drives the conversation and delivers genuine ROI to the business.