Lead Nurturing Research Results

Lead nurturing is a familiar term among those familiar with LeadMaster and marketing automation software, but just in case you are new to the concept, here is a white paper you may find educational.  Essentially, lead nurturing is marketing process whereby those prospects who have shown an interest in a product or service are provided information to help move them through the purchase decision process until it’s time for a sales rep to engage the prospect.

The typical approach to setting up a lead nurturing program is:

  1. identify who you will nurture
  2. identify how you will do it
  3. create content
  4. set things in motion
  5. hope something sells

Many organizations new to the idea of marketing automation and lead nurturing will take this route. However, they will be doing themselves a disservice. Lead nurturing is not a hit-and-run, set it and forget it process. For marketers to truly cultivate a lead, they need to influence the buying decision process at every step throughout the customer’s lifecycle. The most powerful way to influence the buying decision process is to strategically provide targeted content to your prospects based on where they are in the process.

Baxter Denney of Marketologist works with companies every day, helping them set up quality lead nurturing programs that do just this. Here is an outline of his method.

First, he says, you have to visualize every step in the buying decision process. He suggests using the image of a funnel – something any of us in the sales and marketing world should be very familiar with. Below is an example.

Typical Sales Funnel

Typical Sales Funnel

The funnel and stages may vary by organization, but the point is to visualize each stage and identify points where marketing can add value and influence by nurturing. This is what Denney calls a gap analysis. He provides an example, using a ficticious company called Webert. He looked at the current content nurturing programs, comparing that to the number of leads that ended up converting. Here is a chart showing what he found.

Sales Funnel Gap Analysis

Sales Funnel Gap Analysis

Overall, this program looks pretty good. However, there is always room for improvement. In this next image, Denney illustrates the places where marketing is either completely absent or has the potential to modify their message to better reflect the buyer’s stage in the buying process.

Sales Funnel Analysis

Sales Funnel Gaps

With this analysis done, Webert can now begin constructing a revised program to that will nurture these identified gaps. The next step is to develop (or re-purpose) content that has both a meaningful and appropriate message that will engage buyers.

The better approach to setting up a lead nurturing program is:

  1. identify who you will nurture
  2. identify how you will do it
  3. create content
  4. set things in motion
  5. measure results
  6. make adjustments
  7. repeat

Finally, it is vital that marketing keep sales involved in this process. When doing the gap analysis, pull the sales team in so that they can provide real-time feedback. Perhaps there are additional gaps they can identify. Additionally, sales can communicate to marketing where they need the most support. Then marketing is able to create their nurturing program accordingly. With both sales and marketing on the same page, companies will be able to optimize their nurturing program in order to convert the most leads possible.

For Denney’s full post, see the Marketing Automation Software Guide blog.


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