Sunday, June 17, 2012

Lead Nurturing and Creating Better Sales Leads

We are back with our segment, Inbound Marketing University by Hubspot.  Today's article focuses on a class that I found really interesting.  It is a topic that does not get enough attention, in my opinion.  So much of the focus in marketing is based purely on traffic, and people who fill out a form.  However, as we learned  today, there are so many more steps between that form and the sales team.  This is called Lead Nurtering, and it is about the time, attention, and process needed to nurture a lead from Marketing to Sales.  The class is titled Inbound Lead Nurturing (CV 201).  I've taken some notes to help me remember the main points of the class.  Take a look:

Instructor: Brian Carroll, CEO InTouch

Lead Nurturing Defined

Lead Nurturing is a relevant and consistent dialog with viable, potential customers, regardless of their timing to buy
  • It's not about technology
  • It's not about sending more emails

Build a process (example)
This is an example of a lead process:
  1. Prospect performs Google search
  2. Prospect lands on your landing page
  3. Prospect submits a form on your site
  4. Prospect goes through qualification
  5. Prospect is "Nurtured" with follow up contact
  6. Prospect is ready to be passed onto the sales team

Lead Nurturing Steps

Step 1:  Create an Ideal profile 
Common components are:
  • Industry code
  • Revenue
  • Employee size
  • Trigger events
  • Sphere of influence

Step 2: Lead Definition
  • Allow leads to be scored and prioritized
  • Define degree of sales readiness
  • Obtain buy-in from sales team
  • Create Sales readiness Spectrum (5 different levels)
    • Sales don't want to act on leads until level three (demonstrated need for the product)
    • Are they expecting a call from a sales rep?

Step 3: Lead Qualification
  • Inquiry form, first step (make more than just a form available.  Don't force them to fill the form - too much friction)
  • Give them more opportunities to provide qualifying information
  • Break form into 2 steps.  1 long for can create too much friction, and make you lose prospects.
  • Send a Thank You message after they submit the form (tell them
    • Set expectations for response
    • Give them another place to find more information about the company
    • Give them another opportunity to fill out more information (phone number)
    • If at all possible, follow up with a phone call

Tips for Qualifying Leads
  • Less is more
  • Consolidate and centralize information on leads
  • Pick up the phone to qualify leads
  • Ensure that there is a clear hand-off process
  • Measure "sales pursuit" on every lead

Step 4: Understand and Capture Your Audience
  • Build your database
  • Merge disparate contact information into one system that everyone uses
  • Make sure everyone is capturing information the same way

Step 5: Message Development
  • Be relevant
  • Know their information 
    • How they work
    • What is their function
    • What are their anticipated needs
    • What are their priorities and challenges

Step 6: Build Your Lead Nurturing Library
  • Gather and Filter relevant content based on message Map
    • Message Mapping based on Role (Relevant) - contains different issues to different roles at a specific company based on research, insights, and what this company has said
    • articles, white papers, industry reports
    • When you find a relevant article, email it off to the prospect
      • Setup free tools like Technorati Watch List, Google Alerts, Yahoo Alerts
  • Lessons Learned
    • Reuse available content before creating new
    • Catalog who is involved in the buying process

Step 7: Develop Lead Nurturing Tracks
  • Plan out, ahead of time, different tracks for different roles
    • Pretend you are a publisher, and planning for long term education and connections.  Different roles prefer different types of information.  For example, CIO's typically prefer roundtables, and don't like e-books.
  • Use the phone to connect on a human level
  • Utilize new social tools (twitter, LinkedIn, email)

An effective lead nurturing system:
  • Requires a human touch
  • Is aided by tools to make it easier
  • Supports low volume
  • Performs ad hoc delivery
  • Tracks all touch points (email, phone, online)

Step 8: Executing Lead Nurturing
  • Record touch-point history - all web submissions, attempts to connect, and conversation.  Help your team by recording everything to let them know what has happened with a particular contact.  Be able to link contacts within a company (contact and his or her manager)
  • It takes at least 3 touch points, sometimes as many as 15 touchpoints before a lead is ready to pass on to the next level

*Remember, Inbound Marketing must always be accompanied by Lead Nurturing

Measuring results of Lead Nurturing

You should track the following metrics with respect to your leads:

  • % depths of contacts
  • % that opt-in for lead nurturing
  • % of contacts that become sales ready

  • Buy tools that support your process.  Don't cater your process to a tool
  • Hubspot has a good tool (of course)
  • Look up "Marketing Automation" and "Lead Nurturing"
  • No tool will likely do everything you want
  • Mind Mapping Tools - and mindset

Case Studies

  • No Lead Nurturing.  Leads sent directly to sales (converted less than 2%)
  • No way to close the loop feedback from leads to sales
  • Needed to add touch points, allocate resources to actually nurture leads before trying to "sell" them

Linkedin Lead Generation and Nurturing Group
Marketing Sherpa
Thought Leadership for Lead Nurturing