3 Ways Automated Lead Nurturing Can Improve Your Sales Cycle
by Adam Basheer, on 21-Jul-2021 13:13:29
So you’ve launched an inbound campaign and started to attract leads.That’s great, but it’s just the start. Now you must keep those leads happy, whilst gently leading them through the buyer’s journey. And if your sales cycle is a long one that’s not always easy.
Sending leads inappropriate content and interrupting them with unsolicited sales calls can not only be ineffective, but also detrimental to your overall reputation. Instead, to increase close rates, avoid wasted sales time, and reduce the sales cycle leads should be nurtured with appropriate content to ensure they understand the value of your solution before the sales team contacts them.
Using automated lead nurture as part of an inbound campaign ensures all leads get quick responses and are automatically sent the right content for their knowledge and position in the company and in the sales process. No lead is overlooked and left out in the wind.
Long Sales Cycles are a matter of time and pressure
They might be open to education and interested that you can identify their key triggers, but they are not ready for your solution just yet. That means sectors with long sales cycles, such as mining, construction, finance and even home improvement industries, which can have an average cycle of 3 months to two years (and there’s some B2B sales cycles that are loner than this), face huge challenges in keeping leads interested and moving smoothly through the sales funnel.
Automated lead nurturing tackles this task.
The average buyer’s journey is complex, and the content that helps move them through the sales funnel from awareness (of a problem), to consideration (of solutions), to decision (of what solution to buy) needs to be expertly honed and impeccably timed.
Random one-off emails to your database used to be our only option but explaining the detailed benefits of your solution to someone who is only vaguely aware of a problem is pointless at best. By the same token, emailing simplified educational material to a highly educated lead desperately seeking a solution is counterproductive.
Automating lead nurturing, in contrast, allows for the systematic tracking of lead engagements with your content and site, and accurate pinpointing of that lead’s stage in the sales cycle.
That means you can drip feed appropriate content at the right time – leads are never forgotten, and opportunities never missed.
THE THREE PILLARS OF AUTOMATED LEAD NURTURING
It is the combination of three key points that make automated lead nurturing especially effective.
- Nurturing. Buyers want different content at each stage of their research. Targeting your content formats and focusing on the lead’s buyer’s journey stage is important and creating automated email workflows makes the process easier.
- Segmentation. When leads interact with your content, tracking their responses in detail allows for segmentation. Leads are divided into appropriate contact lists, likely by role or pain point. Without an automated workflow, the next round of emails would be adjusted manually. But with an automated process, emails can be drip-fed to designated contact lists, delivering relevant information at the right time.
- Grouping. Marketing automation lets you pinpoint exactly where a lead is in the sales cycle, so your contact lists – and the content sent to them – is constantly refined and updated. Contact lists can be divided and subdivided again, targeting content with pinpoint accuracy. Grouping leads based on their interactions with all marketing efforts allows you to move them smoothly through the sales funnel. When they reach a designated level, its time to give them a call or deal closing email.
At its simplest, automating the sales process means being able to track and use a lot more data than would otherwise be possible and use that information to more accurately segment and target leads, fast tracking their path through the sales funnel.
DON'T WASTE SALES TIME
A fine-tuned nurturing machine means leads are informed already and won’t take up sales time as they have been nurtured through to the decision stage.
At the outset, automated lead nurturing takes time to set up. You need to create relevant content to support your segmented workflows, set contact frequencies and make sure you have a lead scoring system to move leads from one stage in the process to another. But once your campaign is established, it will continue to work for you, and give your marketing and sales teams time for other tasks.
Automation means bottlenecks are quickly identified and easily rectified. Automatic reporting can show where leads are getting stuck, and it allows you to develop your content accordingly. Content is continually honed to address sales barriers and smooth the path to purchase.
There might also be leads that you do not want. Perhaps they are too small, your solution can’t help them, or they simply don’t have the money to pay for your solution. If this is the case, you can find out early and not have them waste valuable sales or production resources.
Automated nurturing gently leads your targets through the sales funnel, breaking down barriers to sales with timely, appropriate content.
Contact us today to discuss how we can strengthen your online presence.
Fit 4 Market are Marketing Strategy and Inbound Marketing specialists, operating in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth