Lead Nurturing Works — If You Know How to Do It

Here's how one professional suggests marketers improve their skills.
Written by Rachael Millanta
January 24, 2022Updated: January 24, 2022

Quality leads can appear anywhere, including in-person events and email campaigns — but how do you convert such leads into customers?

Nurturing a potential customer involves developing and growing relationships at every stage of the sales process. Tech marketing professionals must be able to listen, adapt, check in and provide information from the moment of introduction until purchase — sometimes longer if repeat clients fit your company’s model.

Strong lead nurturing strategies are an essential component of tech marketing, though not all marketing professionals have these skills down to a fine art. According to Demand Gen’s 2021 Lead Nurturing & Acceleration Benchmark Survey, 56 percent of marketers report that their lead nurturing performance is inadequate or needs improvement, and 84 percent said that they found the process to be particularly challenging. In fact, only 8 percent of respondents stated that their lead nurturing initiatives were above average or excellent. 

These statistics are underwhelming, particularly considering that 60 percent of marketers indicated that they see a 10 percent increase or greater in sales opportunities when these initiatives are well implemented. Lead nurturing works — if you know how to do it.

So what does it take to master the lead nurturing process? Built In Austin sat down with Meegan Rucker, Director of Demand Generation at Shipwell, to talk about her approach to successfully nurturing leads, the strategies she favors and how she stays on top of best practices.

 

Meegan Rucker
Director of Demand Generation

 

From your experience, what’s the secret to a successful lead nurturing campaign and why?

The highest success in lead nurturing comes from two key aspects — targeting by persona and portion of the funnel, and utilizing multiple channels in the campaign. For B2B solutions, you need to know how your target audience talks about the problem that your solution solves. Different verticals may refer to the same issue in different terms so using their terms will build empathy. Lead nurture campaigns work well if you meet the leads where they are, rather than try to guide them into having a problem that you know your product can solve. 

When you use various channels, your brand and product pops up in different stages of your target lead’s day, increasing their subconscious awareness of your solution. However, you must know your target persona well enough to have an inkling of what their day involves in order to utilize the channels they will engage with. By combining your targeting by persona and funnel portion with utilizing multiple channels they engage with, your lead nurturing campaign will feel like a natural path your lead may choose to walk down, as opposed to being force-fed a product or solution.

 

How has this strategy improved the success or efficacy of your lead nurturing campaigns?

Our lead nurturing campaigns combine various channels, both through retargeting online, direct mail, email and in-person events. When we tested email or display retargeting only, the results were barely sufficient enough to justify the spend. However, when we combined retargeting with hyper-targeted paid social, direct mail and email, we were able to increase both our lead volume and our lead-to-opportunity rate. When there is an in-person event within a certain vertical we target, we always reach out directly to warm and cold leads, inviting them to a happy hour event. These low-pressure in-person events give the opportunity to create personal relationships with leads. Even if an opportunity is not created at the event, the other numerous targeted efforts make leads remember the people behind your company, increasing their chances of conversion.

When you provide a marketing path that feels natural rather than forced, that’s when you build a positive brand.”

 

With digital marketing evolving so rapidly, how do you stay on top of best practices when it comes to nurturing leads? 

Marketing evolution can only be saddled through curiosity. Every time I meet with a vendor or agency, I ask about what they believe is possible today and what will be possible in six months. Digital marketing is all about the data behind your targeted leads. What behaviors are tracked? What do they engage with? But beyond that, how much digital advertising is too much? When is it time to switch from online to radio, direct mail, in-person events and local meetups? The key is to see your target market as humans with lives and stress levels. When you provide a marketing path that feels natural rather than forced, that’s when you build a positive brand.

 

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