Right Time for Lead Nurturing Campaigns

Ducks in RowIt’s a marketing automation professional’s dream to have a series of perfectly conducted lead-nurturing campaigns that sends a series of content designed for leads based upon their interest and previous activities. Lead nurturing systematizes the art of keeping leads warm — aka interest in your product or service until they are ready to buy. Marketing automation with lead scoring choreographs sending the right leads to sales at just the right time.

Sounds great, if all your ducks are lined up. You’ve probably been on the receiving end of lead nurturing campaigns, especially if you receive newsletters, blog post alerts, whitepapers, invitations to webinars, etc. This type of content influences your buying decision and hopefully sparking continued interest in a particular product or service. However, if your ducks aren’t in a row, then you’re not ready to implement nurturing campaigns yet.

Domino EffectAccording to Christopher Hosford’s article about the lead nurturing challenge in BtoB Magazine, “only 49% of marketers overall have a lead-nurturing process in place to support their lead-gen efforts” So creating lead nurturing campaigns remains a challenge for 51%.

Lead Nurturing Questions to Ask

If an effective lead nurturing plan is on your to-do list this year, consider these questions first:

  1. Do you have enough content to support a nurture campaign? If not, start developing copy and relevant offers.
  2. Does your sales team (or those who follow up with your leads) have time to contact prospects generated from events, webinars, batch and blast emails? In other words, can they handle the additional work that a lead nurturing campaigns will create? The upshot here is to map out who handles what leads and when.
  3. Does your lead-gen staff (or outsourced resources) have the capability (both time or ability) to set it up and make the appropriate changes  after testing? There are plenty of online training resources to help fill in any knowledge gaps.
  4. Have you tested other campaigns to find what works best for your marketing efforts? You want to test campaigns (or any major changes) before pulling the trigger.
  5. Are your marketing automation program and CRM programs integrated? Does the process push leads back into your CRM so prospects are forwarded to the appropriate sales reps? Again, mapping the process will save you unnecessary headaches.
  6. Have the Marketing and Sales teams discussed at what stage leads should be nurtured? It’s best to determine how lead nurturing will be applied. For example, agree upfront whether or not lead nurturing should be used for existing customers (to up-sell or cross-sell for a deeper relationship) or for prospects only.

So before jumping on the nurturing campaign bandwagon, I suggest doing an internal audit to see if the above questions have been answered. If it’s a go, then the fun, creative part of deciding who and how to nurture can begin.

Have additional questions to add to my list? What other elements need to be in place?

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