3 Components of a Successful Lead Nurture Strategy

August 7, 2014

It doesn’t take much to convince marketers and their sales counterparts that an effective lead nurture strategy is a critical piece of any modern B2B marketing mix. After all, according to Forrester Research, organizations with best-in-class lead nurture strategies generate 50% more sales ready leads at a 33% lower cost per lead. But there’s a big difference between acknowledging nurturing is a good idea and becoming best-in-class, and far too many marketers stop well short.

Don’t Get Stuck Here

Many marketers’ first forays into a lead nurture strategy starts with what SiriusDecisions classifies as a sequential drip nurture campaign, this is where all prospects receive the same flow regardless of context. The prospect whose badge you scanned at a trade show and who mentioned they’re evaluating you against your competitors receives the same content and messaging as the prospect who clicked your AdWords ad to download an eBook in exchange for a t-shirt. A drip email campaign like this is not the same as a lead nurture strategy.
A best-in-class nurture strategy, one that will deliver your sales team qualified, sales-ready leads, is a set of campaigns aligned to your personas’ buyer’s journeys and adaptive based on how each persona moves along that journey to becoming a customer.

5 Qualities of a Best-in-Class Lead Nurture Strategy

  1. Persona based
  2. Needs based
  3. Adaptive to the behavior of a prospect
  4. Delivered at the right time, on the right channel
  5. Considers needs of receiving function, adaptive to lead flow requirements

Want to see how your individual nurture programs and strategy stacks up? Use our free lead nurture strategy assessment to rank the components of your programs and determine areas for improvement. Download the assessment here →

3 Key Components to Planning Your Lead Nurture Strategy

When planning lead nurture programs as part of a broader nurture strategy – whether it’s your first, or 96th – consider focusing on these three core elements to guarantee results:

    1. Who will you enroll and how? In a buyer’s journey aligned nurture strategy, a prospect’s entry into an individual track should depend on factors that provide the context for what persona the prospect most associates with and at what stage in her journey she’s most likely at. Persona is often derived explicitly by asking through form fields, or implicitly by using data from standard form fields like title, company size, etc. Buyers journey stage signals can be inferred implicitly by tagging offers in your marketing automation platform with the journey stage that offer is most likely to be consumed at.
    2. What will you deliver in each track and how? Use our content mapping template to determine what content you already have or need to create for each nurture track. Decide what messaging and offers will be triggers to catalyze progressive action  and on what channels you will deliver them. Don’t stop at email, consider using phone, display advertising, and other advanced delivery methods.
    3. How do prospects move in and out of each track? The first step to knowing whether a prospect is ready for the next track is by offering content and messaging that, when consumed, signals an advanced buying stage. Another great way to transition and enroll prospects in specific tracks is through manual intervention by business development or sales reps inside of Salesforce or your CRM. Marketers should already be exposing what nurture emails are being sent as part of what tracks to your teams through CRM, but also giving sales development teams a way to stop those emails and enroll the prospect in a track that’s more appropriate to his or her needs based on actual conversations. Finally, the traditional signals – lead scoring and website behavior: Lead scoring rules should be setup to indicate that if a prospect hits a certain threshold, they’re likely further along – or behind – in the buying process. And website behavior, which is often incorporated into lead scoring rules, should be considered to indicate stage and content that’ll be relevant. If a prospect is continuing to look at the page on your site that has pricing, it’s usually a good sign they’re further along than a prospect looking at best practices on your blog.

Next time you’re in front of the whiteboard with your team planning how you’ll move leads through your funnel, consider these three components. Your sales counterparts (and your prospects) will thank you.
Photo by: Liz West

Head of Growth

<strong>Blake Harris</strong> is the Head of Growth at <a href="">Formlabs</a>, which develops professional 3D printers for designers, engineers, and other creators. He was previously a Growth Strategist at OpenView.