October 1

5 Lead Nurturing Time Factors to Fine Tune Your Messages

Lead Nurturing

15  comments

The lack of a strong lead nurturing discipline can cost your organization substantial unrealized revenue. Without lead nurturing in place to capture and cultivate early-stage leads, your marketing funnel misses out on valuable opportunities.

The true value of lead nurturing comes from the technique of staying in touch with prospects while providing them with the relevant information as they move through the evaluation and buying process. But, how do you get that delicate balance just right? 

I’ve gotten the okay to highlight 5 Nurture Campaign Time Factors from MarketingSherpa’s new B-to-B Lead Generation Handbook that will help you to fine tune the nurturing timing. MarketingSherpa uses real-life examples and charts to hit home these five factors, but here’s a quick look at them:

1.    Immediate welcomes
As soon as you receive a response to a lead generation campaign, you should rush out a welcome message in reply. It’s just good manners to acknowledge someone’s interest in your brand promptly.

2.    Lead Qualification Telemarketing
The velocity of follow-up matters. As soon as possible use telemarketing (aka teleprospecting) to qualify each lead.

3.    Interest-level Timing
Most prospects go through a variety of interest levels in your brand. Without being annoying, you need to stay in their radar until they decide to make that buying decision. Identify where they are in the buying process so you can share relevant information at the right time (i.e. should you share a case study vs. white paper? etc).

4.    Industry Timing
It’s a given that you may need to adjust your campaign timing to reflect your industry’s annual rhythms.

5.    Job Function Timing
Data shows that a decision maker is heavily involved at the very start and the very end of the process, but leaves the middle of the process up to the influencers. For your niche, you’ll need to investigate who gets involved at which point in the process so that you can segment your messaging. 

I encourage you to check out MarketingSherpa’s B-to-B Lead Generation Handbook. It is a  monster of a book, but I assure you it’s jam packed with practical, hands-on advice for B-to-B marketers.

Readers of my blog can save $250 off the book at
http://leadgenhandbook.marketingsherpa.com/

About the author 

Brian Carroll

Brian Carroll is the CEO and founder of markempa, helping companies to convert more customers with empathy-based marketing. He is the author of the bestseller, Lead Generation for the Complex Sale and founded B2B Lead Roundtable LinkedIn Group with 20,301+ members.

  1. Brian, these are all great points, especially point #2, which speaks to the need for timely human contact in addition to prompt follow-up by email. In a b-to-b environment, people buy from people, and prospects expect personal service. That’s why we recommend pairing email marketing with real time sales notification – so lead qualifiers and sales reps can connect with interested prospects instantly to get that human relationship started faster and on the right foot.

  2. Brian, all five points are right on the money. What’s interesting is that there is a common theme that runs through all of them – rapid response. I don’t think that we can possibly hear this enough – respond to your B2B leads faster than your competition and you’ll be more successful.

    – Dr. Jim Anderson
    http://www.TheAccidentalNegotiator.com

  3. Brian, great stuff. I’d like to add a variation on interest level timing. I’ll call it content timing. It’s critical in lead nurturing to know where a prospect is in their buying cycle so that helpful information relevant to the need at a specific point in time can be delivered. Knowing when to provide a case study versus a technical white paper versus a product demo can make a huge difference in converting a prospect to a sale.

  4. Brian, lead nurturing is critical to the overall B2B lead generation process.

    It needs to be considered at the kick off of every campaign, as I’ve outlined in this checklist for designing successful B2B campaigns

    It can’t be treated in isolation – strategies for it need to be developed at the outset of B2B lead gen programmes. That way the “industry welcomes” and timing points can be planned from the start. It is a process that requires a long term commitment, but generates an exceptional “lead generation engine” when done properly.

    Best
    Lindsay Willott

  5. It is interesting to see Marketing Sherpa ok you sharing some of their information in return for the promotion. Hopefully they will continue to be open to this marketing tactic as I enjoy reading snippets of their research.

  6. You are dead on, once again Brian!

    Its taken me 6 years of learning this stuff the hard way. Its the little things that make the difference. Many people don’t realize that since you seldom see online leads, the timing and exact verbiage of your communications have huge impact.

  7. Brian and Dr. Jim, I agree rapid response is key. if you can contact your client within 4 min. of them submiting their info on your form we have found we are over 600 times more likely to close that sale than if we contact them in two hours.

    I also think that you bring up an interesting point Brian about Industry Timing. I think that a lot of people loose this one. bieng able to change your message quickly enough can make a big difference and can give you a piece of the market that others are ignoring.

    Chad C.

  8. Never spoken so true…
    Rapid response and interest level timing are key components in being a major player in this industry.
    The early bird gets the worm…..

  9. My input on lead nurturing and tracking where someone is in their buying cycle in a efficient and scalable fashion.

    It’s surprising how many marketers now say they do “lead nurturing” but in reality they are just sending monthly email campaigns or monthly newsletters with some call to action.

    What I see most marketers do for “scalable” and “efficient” nurturing is that they send generic email marketing messages to early stage leads over and over and over again and they are missing the point. Consistency is good thing but being relevant and then consistent is even better.

    To be truly effective, marketers must get over the “automation only” approach to lead nurturing (meaning there’s no actual human interaction just a blind system that can’t think). The point of nurturing is to build relationships and to do that we need to have a dialog between people that’s relevant to them and consistent.

    To do lead nurturing we need the human touch. Unless you have a conversation, you’ll really never know what’s going on. It requires engaged people to execute the right process, which is then supported by the right software. At InTouch I have a team of lead generation specialists (aka teleprospectors) that support our clients lead nurturing efforts to provide the bridge between the marketing team, marketing automation tools and field sales organization.

  10. So, this is all great, fairly obvious in my opinion. I think the complicated issue is..”how do you know and track where someone is in the buying cycle” efficiently and in a scalable fashion. If I can’t do that, then it’s really difficult to send this very relevant data. Love to hear how others do it? This is the detail that I feel was missing in the Sherpa conference.

  11. Brian,

    One way that we have found to get better responses from our email campaigns is to send email templates that are very simple, short, personal, and even include a few mispelled words.

    If people see that a human is emailing them, they are more likely to respond than if they receive a ton of infomration in a beautifully crafted html email.

  12. The reason an immediate response generates better contact and conversion ratios is mostly due to the fact that you know exactly where your prospect is when they fill out your web form and that they are near their phone. Another reason is that they are at their peak of interest when they fill out that form.

  13. I agree with this post 100%. A quick and personal welcome message means a lot. The phone is great for relationships, so it is important to reach out and touch someone. And Marketo had a great definition of lead nurturing content — it is information that is valuable to the prospect, even if they never buy from you.

    I invite everyone to attend my SalesBuzz radio show this Thursday at 3:30pm ET on the “The Importance of Lead Nurturing” at http://brooksgroup.com/thesalesbuzz/

    You can also find lead generation tips and ideas at http://www.findnewcustomers.net

    There’s an active discussion of demand generation at http://fearlesscompetitor.com

  14. Brian, all great points!I think #5 is important and often overlooked. Many organizations only target the decision-makers. However, influencers usually play a significant role in the decision process as well. In a recent webinar “Advanced Lead Nurturing Tactics with Ardath Albee” (http://www.manticoretechnology.com/resources/download.asp), she discusses how to build your nurture flows to target influencers as well as decision-makers.

  15. I agree with this post, especially the one about telemarketing for lead nurturing. The velocity of leads getting managed and nurtured is further heightened if the campaign is outsourced to professional telemarketers.

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