How to Nurture Your Leads and Move Them Down the Sales Funnel

How to Nurture Your Leads and Move Them Down the Sales Funnel

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    In this blog post, we take a gander at how to nurture your leads, while moving them down the sales funnel for maximum conversion opportunities.


    Covered in this article:

    Understanding Your Leads
    Nurturing Your Leads
    Moving Leads Down the Sales Funnel
    Closing the sale
    Measuring and Analysing Your Results

    Understanding Your Leads

    Defining your target audience

    Defining your target audience is the bedrock that underpins any successful marketing campaign. Understanding your leads means knowing what it is they want, and their engagement preferences. This is critical online where companies scramble over each other to ensure their brand is top of search engine rankings and their content is top of mind for their target audience.

    First, define who is already using your products and services. Understanding the characteristics of your customer base lets you target more leads with the same features, using data you get naturally via your CRM to get insights into averages and trends. Some definitions include age, location, language, interests and spending power and patterns.

    Leverage social media and SEO analytics to complete the picture of your target audience. Get to know who interacts with your socials, even if they aren’t customers yet. Leverage business intelligence to find intent-based purchase patterns.

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    Segmenting your leads

    Segmenting your leads is imperative in optimising your sales funnel. It’s a way of getting an even better understanding of your target audience to design a customised marketing strategy catered just for them. This allows you to address their specific requirements and identify the unique challenges they face, giving them a reason to choose you over your competitors.

    Lead segmentation types include:

    • Behavioural: previous purchases, usage patterns, product consumption.
    • Demographic: age, race, family size, occupation, location, gender.
    • Psychographic: personality qualities, sentiments, values, special interests.
    • Transactional: recency, frequency, contents, purchase value.
    • Firmographic: company size, functions, industry.
    • Needs-based: emotional, functional, problem-solving needs or benefits.
    • You can also classify lead segments as explicit or implied.

    Explicit segmentation is based on characteristics clearly shown through actions. The characteristics assumed from purchases, demographics, and browsing are used to create implied segmentation. Further lead segmenting is based on marketing-qualified leads and potential customers who aren’t paying customers just yet. They simply require more effort from your marketing team.

    Creating buyer personas

    A buyer persona is a model of a typical customer built from market research and data, incorporating pain points and partnership standards traits. Businesses have several buyer personas to cater to each segment of their target audienceBusinesses have several to cater to each segment of their target audience.

    The four types are made up of competitive buyers, who want the best product possible from the most differentiated company. Spontaneous buyers want quick solutions when purchasing a product/service that will solve their problems and help them achieve their goals.

    • Competitive buyers, who want the best product possible from the most differentiated company
      Spontaneous buyers, who want quick solutions when purchasing a product/service that will solve their problems and help them achieve their goals.
    • Methodical buyers, who want to know how your product works and why your product is effective – are looking at the finer details; and  
    • Humanistic buyers are those who prefer a more personalised purchasing experience;  - they are more people-oriented.
    • Micro personas are slight variations of the same persona which allow you to try different tactics.
    Flesh out the buyer personas by naming them and their workday responsibilities, their positions, roles and career goals. Include their business’ products and services and aid your sales team in visualising the target customer for creating personal sales strategies. Further, refine and test each buyer persona if you find a critical audience segment is being ignored, your personas are too general, or your personas aren’t increasing KPIs.


    Nurturing Your Leads

    Creating a lead nurturing campaign

    By nurturing and managing leads, information is gathered about prospects through their actions, giving insight into their needs and goals, and affording content concurrent with their interests and expectations. The six types of lead nurturing campaigns are:

    • Introductory lead nurturing: Welcome leads by introducing the brand and what they can expect from you. This gives you the chance to get more info on them by giving them more info about your offerings via customised content.
    • “Why us?”: After gathering prospect data, make the case for your solution to support their needs showing how you offer more than the competition, reminding them of your value proposition, and positive customer testimonials.
    • Lead acceleration: Once the buyer’s journey slows, speed the purchase decision by removing roadblocks, through enhanced sales efforts, using decision tools and other resources to nudge them along and meet them at each point in their journey to increase their comfort levels.
    • New customers: Manage customer onboarding by thanking them for joining the family, answering FAQs and giving them support options.
    • Embedded leads: Connect the conversion event to the broader experience of brand values by facilitating their journey, providing niched content and connecting service with supporting systems.
    • Customer loyalty campaigns: Keep delighting customers - retaining them by providing tips and tricks to maximise the benefits of your products and services.

    Providing valuable content

    When content is personalised to suit your target audience, it becomes valuable to them and increases the rate of their conversions. Providing various forms of content to provide solutions to buyer needs can come in the form of videos, blogs, images, TED talks, podcasts, and research reports, one-page brochures, infographics, and decision guides in customised microsites to increase response rates.

    Measure your content by the number of views, downloads, reshares, and time spent perusing it. Frame-level analytics for videos and audio files reveal levels of audience interest. Knowing what type of content is appropriate for each buyer persona allows you to create different sales collateral for each segment. Each piece of personalised content and conversation adds value to the buyer-seller relationship.

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    Personalising your communication

    To nurture leads, personalise your communication by writing interesting subject lines in emails, such as an action line that solves their problem: personalised subject lines get more opens. Including personalisation text tokens in the email body, such as the recipient's name, creates a conversational feel rather than an email blast.

    BOOK A CONSULTATIONBegin with a similar example of a problem the prospect is experiencing. The prospect will feel understood if their pain is acknowledged in this manner. Then, include a CTA that links to relevant content related to the specific pain point you describe in the message. If you correctly identify the issue, the prospect will click on your CTA to learn more and will be more willing to engage in the conversion conversation.

    Finish with a useful nugget of information and encouragement to contact you to explore how you can help grow their business. Your communication should be relatable and consistent in its follow-up. If there hasn't been any activity for a while, send a personalised email every two weeks to remind them of the value your solution provides. For maximum impact, combine generic and personalised communication. For example, if they have a birthday coming up, start the conversation on a personal note by mentioning it.

    Using multiple channels

    Multi-channel lead nurturing uses email marketing as a mainstay to move leads down the sales funnel, from introductory emails with helpful links to deal-closing emails with limited-time offers on relevant products and services.

    Reinforce the email channel with social media monitoring, for example, by cultivating relationships with them on Facebook or Twitter, and responding to one-on-one comments and messages when the time is right. Always respond to their messages - they reached out to you, indicating their interest, so respond to increase conversion chances.

    Your website is critical to your campaign because it serves as a source of useful content to address pain points and direct prospects to your products and services. By automating web content based on your prospect relationship, you can add kinetic energy to your content. Put a new product on your website after emailing them about it, for example.

    Use retargeted ads across social media to remind leads to act on previous prompts, but exercise caution to avoid annoying them. Because most leads browse on their smartphones, mobile automation and customisation are critical. Use location-based technology and text messaging without being intrusive, and ask your sales team to contact leads who have interacted with your company online.

    Moving Leads Down the Sales Funnel

    Creating a sales process

    Developing a sales process entails identifying the problem that your customers want you to solve for them. This includes identifying their concerns, expectations, and interests. The more insight you have, the better your products and services will be able to provide them with solutions. Then, define your goals to determine what you want to achieve from each stage of the sales funnel, allowing you to measure their effectiveness.

    Following that, create a preliminary offer to generate more leads and prospects by considering which tactics generate the most interest and will provide contact information for leads. Following that, qualify leads to validate their interest in your product/service by ensuring they are a good fit for your company and fit your customer profile, and follow up with them.

    Then, using a variety of channels, nurture your qualified leads and prod them closer to making a decision by eliminating friction and edging them to the bottom of the sales funnel. Closing the deal entails keeping the lines of communication open, even if the purchase has been declined.

    Qualifying leads

    Qualifying leads entails determining why they contacted you in the first place. Were they looking for a solution to a problem, or were they simply reacting to your marketing campaign? This collects feedback from them about past and current experiences in order to determine whether or not they want the change you can provide in order to separate leads worth nurturing further from those that aren't.

    Addressing prospects' concerns about budget or criteria, for example, expedites the qualification process by determining what's holding them back. Even if you are qualifying several leads, ask the prospect how you can help them by solving their problems and making them feel like your attention is solely on them.

    Consider that decision-makers usually involve a group of stakeholders, so find out early on who is involved in the decision-making process to ensure you're connecting with the right people. Determine who your point of contact is and become acquainted with the dynamics and complexities of the business with which you are dealing in order to address each one personally.

    Offering incentives

    Incentives provide examples of how to use loyalty programmes to motivate repeat business. Loyalty shifts as multiple brands compete for the attention of customers. The cost of replacing a customer is far greater than the cost of keeping one. Customers will return for more if they receive rewards, and you will expand your brand by rewarding loyal customers. Loyalty rewards can be used to provide free items after a certain number of purchases, discounts on future purchases, and exclusive deals for loyal customers.

    Customers who successfully recommend your brand or service to their friends are rewarded with referral rewards. These have excellent lead generation and retention potential and should be consistent with your brand experience. Cash backs, bonus points, free gifts, and rewarding both people with redeemable discounts for future purchases are examples of methods.

    Offering discounted additional products or services to customers who make a purchase works well if the products are related, as does collaborating with associate businesses to offer mutually beneficial discounts to respective customers, using bundled discounts of popular and unpopular product sales together, or offering discounts for less popular products.

    Using rewards to organically generate new leads can generate valuable customers. Customers who are satisfied with your brand, product, or service are more likely to recommend it to others. Customer advocates are powered by SAPS, representing:

    • Status
    • Access
    • Power
    • Stuff

    Achieved with rewards marketing, SAPS creates an environment for customers to share information and skills and makes them feel seen.

    Closing the sale

    Here are the types of closes:

    Summary close

    Here, you give prospects a summary of your products and services, as well as previously agreed-upon features. Reiterating will remind them of any pluses they may have missed or forgotten.

    Assumptive selling close

    With this strategy, you talk to the prospect as if the deal is already done. Some prospects might be turned off by this, so save it for when the prospect is already sure, and don't be too direct so you don't come off as pushy. Think about what works and what doesn't.

    Now or never close

    Create a sense of urgency by offering a tempting offer, which can motivate a prospect to act in the moment and not mull it over any more. Use this strategy for interested prospects who still haven’t committed.

    Question close

    By asking the right question, you can close the sale. This close is appropriate for talking through prospects’ doubts and assuring them your offering will work for them.

    Soft close

    A soft close makes it easier for a prospect to take the next step. Begin with a benefit and end with a low-impact question. By doing so, you ostensibly lower their guard because the pressure is relieved. Use this technique when the prospect requires more time, allowing you to fine-tune your strategy.

    Demonstration close

    Offering a hesitant prospect a product or service demo appeals to the visually orientated, letting them see how it works and getting them to visualise whether it would be a good fit.

    Sharp angle close

    This ball is in your prospect’s court. If they want to close the deal, they may request a discount or add-on. Act quickly by agreeing and asking for something in return.

    1-2-3 close

    In a set of three, show how appealing your offer is. It is less obvious than other methods because it uses the power of listing things in threes. Either focus on three similar plugs to show how important the feature is or list three different ones to show how wide the coverage is.

    Weekly cost close

    Occasionally, closing the deal is just about cost. If a price seems too high when quoting an annual fee, breaking down the cost per week or day allows you to compare it to an everyday buy.

    Testimonial close

    Testimonials are super persuasive and give prospects an indication of what to expect from your product or service. They rely on a current customer’s glowing report to help convert your prospect.

    Measuring and Analysing Your Results

    A sales funnel analysis is one way to measure and look at the results of your work. Key metrics are conversion rates (how many leads who contacted the sales team became customers), lead conversion rates (how many leads your lead conversion process turned into customers), the average time to first contact (how long it took for a prospect to contact you after clicking on a link in your email or landing page), and total leads generated (the number of leads generated through all stages of the sales funnel). Let's take an in-depth look.

    Conversion rates are affected by the quality of your lead generation process and the way your sales funnel is designed and laid out. Make sure the steps of your sales funnel are easy to track and that there are no bottlenecks between them. Ensure your marketing techniques are effective in promoting your sales funnel.

    The email open rate tells you how many leads actually opened your emails. If the open rate is low, try making your emails more personal and using templates that stand out. Conversion rates show how many of the people who open your emails also bought something from you. High conversion rates mean success, and you can improve them by writing sharp sales copy and making your website look better.

    Session length is the amount of time between when a visitor comes to your website and when they buy something. This tells you how good you are at turning browsers into buyers. The funnel exit rate is the number of visitors who make it all the way through the sales funnel, from generating leads to making a sale. The rate should be as high as possible.

    Other analytic metrics include the number of qualified leads that turned into paying customers, the average time it took for a lead to turn into a buyer, and the percentage of leads that turned into customers. Last, figure out how much a customer is worth over his or her lifetime (how much money they spend with you throughout their lifetime, including current and future purchases).

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