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“57%—that’s how far the average B2B buyer is through the purchase decision before engaging a supplier sales rep.” GARTNER.
This statistic clearly identifies a need, and opportunity, for organisations to engage and influence customers earlier in the buying journey.
This is where marketing nurture campaigns help.
They are different from traditional marketing, because rather than just using a sales focused message, they share helpful and informative, non-sales content, which engages buyers much earlier in the buying process – during the first 57% of the journey.
The content is also designed to position your organisation as an expert and thought leader, which in turn builds their preference towards you as a provider.
The campaigns work by leading buyers through stages of a journey, during which they increase their understanding of how you can help address their need – solve a challenge or win opportunities. Not only does this position you as a favoured option, it also develops a positive relationship, based on knowledge and trust.
The overall approach is to create a wide range of content that appeals to your target audience, presented in a range of ways, such as blogs, video, infographics and events, because different people like to engage and consume content in different ways.
The content is made available to buyers in a specific sequence through the various marketing channels and is based on their profile and engagement with content through the campaign. Importantly, individual buyers go through the process at their own pace, rather than all targets being sent all content in bulk.
As individual pieces of content are seen by the buyer, their understanding of your organisation and your proposition, is steadily developed.
The campaigns also create higher quality sales leads, because as buyers become increasingly educated about your offering, only those buyers that are finding real value in your proposition will continue to engage with the content provided by the campaign.
This is an opportunity to put barriers in place for the types of customer that are currently causing you issues and delivering little value.
It’s a bit like X-Factor. Adding an element of audition to the campaign will get rid of the painful customers.
Align to your Customer Journey.
You should develop marketing nurture campaigns in line with your Customer Journey models, as they will need to engage with customers in the very early stages of the Customer Journey, ‘Need’ and ‘Research’, through to the sales engagement and beyond, through the longer term customer relationship.
When to pass to sales.
Lead Scoring helps you pinpoint when a customer has demonstrated enough interest in your proposition, through the nurture campaign, to be passed to your sales team to make contact.
This should be at a point where they’ve engaged with various pieces of content and met the minimal Lead Scoring target.
Benefits of Marketing Nurture Campaigns:
- The customer doesn’t feel they are being given the hard sell. They’ve made the effort to engage with your brand on a number of occasions, and it’s their choice that they’re still engaging with you;
- It enables you to present your organisation as an expert and thought leader, in delivering the right proposition for the customer’s need;
- Great content that hits the mark is often shared by the audience, with wider groups, which results in an increased awareness of your brand and more engagement from new prospect customers;
- When the customer reaches an appropriate point in the nurture process (you determine this – Lead Scoring is a great tool) you can pass the lead to your sales team, where it will be much easier to work with, as the prospect customer will be in a much better position to have a sales conversation, than if they were contacted the first time they visited your website;
- Marketing nurture campaigns also make sure the wrong customers don’t come through. Every organisation has customers they wish they could get rid of. These bad customers are often the product of selling at them too early. With nurture campaigns they don’t get to the point of being handed to the sales team;
- By continuing the nurture process beyond the initial sale, you’ll increase your up-sell and cross-sell opportunities and create much longer relationships with your customers;
- Finally, customer that were engaged in marketing nurture campaigns are far more likely to recommend you to others.
How to: Simple steps to setting up a Marketing Nurture Campaign.
Know your target audience
- Identify your target audience and their needs.
- Investigate and understand their sector.
- Identify the key decision makers and influencers.
Create great content
- Create informative and helpful content.
- Position your organisation as the experts.
- Include sales messaging for latter campaign stages
Plan campaign stages
- What order should the content be delivered in?
- What buyer behaviours trigger content to be delivered?
- What are the timings between each campaign stage?
This should fit with your Customer Journey.
Feed into sales – Lead Scoring
- Assign individual content lead scoring values.
- Agree lead score target for passing to sales team.
- Create process to pass “hot” leads into sales team.
Measure and update
- Set success metrics for the campaign.
- Regularly measure campaign progress.
- Review and update campaign content and stages.
Simplify with marketing automation
To help manage your marketing nurture campaigns, you should look to invest in a Marketing Automation platform. This will save you time, because these systems do all the hard work for you, in terms of managing content delivery to your customers, and other aspects, such as lead scoring.