Marketing automation provider Marketo has just published The Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing, a white paper that provides real value, covering the lead nurturing process from the basic how and why through ROI measurement. Unlike most white papers, this guide is very light on marketing (selected pages have sidebars headed “How Marketo Does It” rather than embedding marketing copy in the content—a nice touch). Also, it’s available in full immediately for those willing to provide their basic contact information, or as a series of chapters to be distributed throughout the month of August for those who prefer to obtain the guide anonymously.
The guide itself is well-researched, clearly written and highly practical. It starts with a clear rationale for making investments in lead nurturing processes:
- “Up to 95 percent of qualified prospects on your Web site are there to research and are not yet ready to talk with a sales rep, but as many as 70 percent of them will eventually buy a product.” (Brian Carroll)
- “On average, nurtured leads produce a 20 percent increase in sales opportunities versus nonnurtured leads.” (DemandGen Report)
- “Only in the last third of the today’s purchasing process do buyers want to engage with sales reps. This changes the role of marketing; instead of generating the lead and moving on, today’s marketers must synchronize their marketing throughout the buying process, providing potential buyers with high quality content that is contextually relevant.” (Scott Albro).
Research from other sources shows companies that excel at lead nurturing generate more qualified leads at a lower cost per lead, reduce the percentage of marketing-generated leads that are ignored by sales, increase win rates, and have a higher percentage of sales reps who make quota.
Content marketing plays a key role in lead nurturing as well as a successful lead generation and social media strategy. As the report notes, “The most important brand attributes for a B2B vendor are often credibility and trust – and unless you are a well known company like IBM, the best way to build credibility and trust is by sharing useful information. If you can help frame the discussion, your company will be seen as a trusted advisor and thought leader. If buyers believe that your company understands their problems and knows how to solve them, this helps reduce the feelings of fear and can make a big difference in being selected for consideration and purchase.” It also sets you apart and builds credibility on the front-end of the buying cycle, making efforts from SEO to banner advertising and AdWords more effective and productive.
The report provides helpful guidance on lead nurturing basics, lead scoring, the different types of opt-in (and when each is most appropriate), and advanced lead nurturing tactics such as accelerator campaigns (“campaigns that attempt to move prospects along the buying cycle faster by providing relevant `nudges’ at the right time, usually triggered by specific buyer behaviors or sales updates”).
It closes with a section on the ROI of lead nurturing, complete with worksheets for performing your own lead gen activity return calculations.
Again, Marketo’s lead gen guide will be made available in chapters throughout this month for anonymous download, or you can grab the complete Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing today.
Note: this post was originally published on the WebMarketCentral blog in August 2009.