Up to 95% of people who visit your website are not ready to speak with sales. Lead nurturing empowers B2B and B2C marketers to build vital relationships with these qualified prospects before passing them to sales.
Lead Nurturing is the process of building relationships with qualified prospects regardless of their timing to buy, with the goal of earning their business when they are ready.
Lead nurturing involves sending triggered, targeted, and customized email messages to prospects based on their behavior. These emails educate and pre-sell prospects with personalized communications. Many people refer to this string of email communications as “drip marketing.” Lead nurturing is scheduled at regular intervals to deliver the benefits of a multi-touch campaign.
Lead nurturing benefits
Both B2B and B2C small businesses can benefit by developing a strong lead nurturing program. Automated lead nurturing takes advantage of lead nurturing software to the benefit of both the seller and the prospect.
- Lead nurturing avoids wasting precious sales resources on leads that are not yet ready to buy.
- Lead nurturing avoids wasting precious marketing resources on the many repeatable and mundane tasks in lead management.
- With lead nurturing, the prospect receives ongoing communication that is timely and better aligned to their individual needs and preferences.
Lead nurturing ROI
There are examples of nurturing programs returning a ten-times return for every dollar spent, and other examples of nurturing programs where it is a fifty-times return for every dollar spent, meaning for every dollar that put towards an existing lead, generates $50 of top line revenue.
Of course, what companies generate from a lead nurturing program is going to be affected by a number of factors:
- The product sold
- The brand
- The value proposition
- The offer
- The ability of Sales to convert leads into revenue
It’s also important to remember nurturing programs take time to provide a return because a typical lead nurturing program involves multiple touches over a period of time, but marketers can point to building momentum toward final conversion as a positive result of nurturing.
Lead nurturing metrics
MECLABS’ Executive Director of Applied Research, Brian Carroll says:
These are real-world metrics that every marketer should track in their lead generation program:
- Number of inquiries? (people who raised their hands)
- Number of leads? (qualified as “sales-ready”)
- Number of opportunities? (leads that move to pipeline)
- Number of closed sales? (generated from marketing leads)
If marketers know those metrics they can start to track the following key performance indicators:
- Inquiry to lead ratio (cost-per-lead)
- Lead to opportunity ratio (cost-per-opportunity)
- Lead to pipeline revenue ratio (cost-per-pipeline revenue)
- Lead to sale (win) ratio (cost-per-closed sale)
A value-driven mindset requires leaders and marketers to plan and budget for the long term and to take a more holistic view that goes beyond cost-per-lead budgets.