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How to nurture different leads from different marketing channels: a dater’s guide

By Octopus Group on 14th December 2020

It’s true: from making that first impression to ‘courting’ your new connection, you can learn a lot from the dating scene.

Don’t you meet potential love interests in different ways?

Aren’t some keener than others to make that connection?

Don’t you have to pursue their affection in different ways, depending on how you met?

And isn’t it crucial that you flaunt your best self in order to grab their interest, gain their trust and ultimately earn their undying love and commitment?

See? There was method to the madness. Dating and nurturing B2B leads are actually pretty similar. So before you get ghosted, let’s dig a little deeper into how love lessons can help you understand your leads a little better. Who knows – this could be the start of something beautiful.

But firstly, why do different marketing channels produce different leads?

Well that’s because all marketing channels and leads are different. Some channels lead straight to clients, some grant subscribers, and some lead to followers – all unique and special in their own ways. So the same approach for all of them simply isn’t going to cut it.

It all comes down to intent: what the prospect wants and where they are in the buying journey. Someone who requests a demo or service call for example, is much more likely to convert than those who speculatively subscribed to your podcast or downloaded a piece of content. In fact, the latter may not even be considered a lead yet (shock, yes, we said it!) – they just want to learn a little more about you from a distance.

But this doesn’t mean higher intent leads are any ‘better’. They’re just different. And naturally, they require a different follow-up and nurturing approach to prospects who aren’t quite there yet.

And secondly, why should you care?

Because you don’t want to squander any opportunities by being too bullish or by asking for too much info, if the prospect isn’t ready to commit yet.

Let us return to our wonderful dating analogy for a moment.

Let’s say you’re lucky enough to have met two potential suitors. One said you were alright and asked for your number, the other saw your Tinder profile and swiped right – they’ve matched, but no messages yet.

Do you go about swooning these two people in the same way? Of course you don’t!

Your first date is effectively a personal referral. You know a little bit about them, and you have it on good authority that they’re interested as they texted you first! You can be a bit more direct: why not give them a call back and suggest a drink?

The second – well – they’re essentially a stranger. And whilst they gave you a preliminary swipe of approval, you’re still yet to learn anything about them – they might’ve just thought your dog was cute. You need to make a good first impression in your initial contact, and you’ll have them running for the hills if you tried to call them straight away, you weirdo. Why don’t you spend a little time finding out what they’re interested in to pique their interest?

You see – different approaches, same end goal. A wise man (Seth Godin) once said: great marketing is about turning strangers into friends and friends into customers, or in this case, life partners. You catch our drift…

Dating metaphor aside, how do you effectively market to different types of leads?

You need to stop treating all your leads in the same way. Done? Good, that’s the hardest bit.

Now all you need to do is:

  • Think about and identify where your leads come from. What type of leads come from your mix of marketing channels? How do they typically travel through the funnel?
  • Use the data from your reporting to understand the subtle differences between them. Which channels consistently produce hot leads that are sales-qualified, pre-packaged and ready to go? Which channels produce softer leads that don’t require an immediate sales call?
  • Decide how you’ll nurture your leads to best serve the subtle differences you identified. What processes do you have in place to move leads through the funnel at a pace that doesn’t have them running for the hills?

DemandGen have reported that, on average, nurtured leads produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities compared to non-nurtured leads.

But don’t be fooled – although the process seems simple on paper, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to effective lead nurturing.

Remember: different leads from different channels require different treatment. Need a bit of help to get going? Here are some top OG tips we use with our clients.

How to devise a killer B2B lead nurturing strategy that ensures no lead is left behind, no matter how different

Although some leads come in hot to trot, the majority of B2B leads aren’t sales qualified or ready to convert when they first touch base with your brand. This means you need to buck up your lead nurturing ideas!

And we know it works: DemandGen have reported that, on average, nurtured leads produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities compared to non-nurtured leads.

To ensure your strategy works for every type of lead – no matter where they came from, their buying journey or intent – take a look at our list of key considerations below.

Treat yourself to some marketing automation

If you’re not using automation already, it’s time to sort that out – automation’s here to stay and you can bet your bottom dollar your competitors are using it.

Automated lead nurturing ensures all your leads, no matter which marketing channel they came from, get timely responses and are automatically sent relevant content. No lead’s forgotten, no one’s receiving an unwelcome premature call, and no content is wasted. Everybody wins.

Yes, it takes time to set up – but once you’re up and running, you’re flying. You need to create relevant content for each stage of the buying journey to support your segmented workflows. You should also set contact timings and ensure you have a lead scoring to move leads from one stage of the process to another. But once your campaign is set live, it’ll serve you ‘til the end of time (or when you press the off button) and grant your team more time for other tasks.

Implement a consistent lead scoring model

Lead scoring can help to improve the quality of marketing leads passed to your sales team, as well as boosting revenues and close rates.

You can score your leads based on multiple characteristics, including the business information they’ve submitted to you, and how they’ve engaged with your website across your marketing channels. This process helps sales and marketing teams prioritise leads, nurture them appropriately (with automated workflows and relevant content), and increase the rate at which those leads become customers.

Scoring leads based on their interactions with your marketing efforts allows you to progress them through the sales funnel, until they’re ready to be passed onto your sales team.

Segment, segment, segment

Lead segmentation creates smaller pockets of leads with similar interests in your sales and marketing funnel. You can do this explicitly, through the use of data collection garnered from forms and calls etc, or implicitly, based on lead behaviours and actions, such as leads who downloaded a PDF from a newsletter and then went on to sign up to the newsletter.

We’d recommend a combination of both – as we know from matters of both business and the heart, we humans are a complex bunch and as such, some context is required. Segmentation allows you to monitor behavioural patterns in tandem with basic demographic info, to help you fully understand what the lead truly wants from your service. Nifty, huh?

Align your marketing and sales teams

We’re all working towards the same goal, so it’s time to start singing from the same hymn sheet. Spend time on training and improving communication between the two teams, so everyone knows the difference and values of each type of lead. If there isn’t a clear understanding of the difference between a subscriber and a demo request for example, then your sales team aren’t aligned, and they’re at risk of over-selling to someone who isn’t ready to buy.

Speak to us about how we can help you treat your leads the way they deserve to be treated.

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