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30-second summary:

  • There are many tactics that can play into a successful lead nurturing strategy. Marketers should leverage content throughout the prospect’s journey to help guide them and ultimately, secure them as a customer
  • Rather than divide sales and marketing teams on who is and who isn’t in charge of lead nurturing, companies should consider having both sides share the responsibility
  • While content is useful, throwing copious amounts of content at prospects without any personalization or understanding of the prospect’s challenges is not the strategy to take. Consider third-party validation, lead maturity, etc
  • Put content at the center of your nurture strategy across the entire buyer journey and remember that it takes teamwork to be effective. Don’t buy into the myth that lead nurture is simply just a marketing tool.

HubSpot’s Not Another State of Marketing Report states that the top priority for marketers is lead generation. However, with so much emphasis placed on this, it’s important to have a solid lead nurturing strategy to ensure you’re not wasting good leads.

While there are many tactics that can play into a successful lead nurturing strategy, marketers should leverage content throughout the prospect’s journey to help guide them and ultimately, secure them as a customer.

Is sales or marketing responsible for lead nurturing?

Before we dive into who is responsible for lead generation, let’s first address what lead nurturing is.

Marketo defines lead nurturing “the process of developing relationships with buyers at every stage of the sales funnel, and through every step of the buyer’s journey. It focuses marketing and communication efforts on listening to the needs of prospects and providing the information and answers they need.”

This is where content comes into play. With marketing teams in charge of the development of content, lead nurturing typically falls to them.

However, rather than divide sales and marketing teams on who is and who isn’t in charge of lead nurturing, companies should consider having both sides share the responsibility.

For example, if you’re sending out information to prospects that includes relevant resources, it makes sense to connect the prospect to a salesperson so they answer questions the prospect might have and guide them through the decision-making process.

Depending on the size of your company, this might be done via marketing automation software. Either way, lead nurturing shouldn’t be a one team responsibility. It takes teamwork to close the deal.

Do you have the right content for the right lead in the right context?

While content is useful, throwing copious amounts of content at prospects without any personalization or understanding of the prospect’s challenges is not the strategy to take. If you’re not sure what content to use, consider the following:

Insights on how to solve their challenge

Prospects will likely have to convince other key stakeholders in the company that there is a problem to solve and why they need your product. In this case, leverage infographics, whitepapers or eBooks to answer the kind of questions your prospect might be Googling, like ‘how-to’ and ‘what is.’ Be sure to educate them by including shareable stats to help sell their case to stakeholders.

Third-party validation

Sharing case studies with prospects can help them see the benefits of leveraging your solution. Whether it’s in a written or video format, be sure to think through what industry your prospect is in or what challenges they face. From there, you can select case studies that are the most relevant to them.

Product information

With so many buyers conducting their own research, it’s easy to leave out what they actually need to know when it comes to your company’s product and value proposition. Rather than sending a boring one-sheeter, consider what might be more beneficial to the prospect.

Is your product offering extremely technical? If so, try an explainer video instead of a written piece of content. Another opportunity to consider is putting together a comparison chart to showcase what they’ll get with you versus your competitors.

Lead maturity

Whether you’re engaging a top of the funnel lead vs a late stage prospect makes a difference. In general, educational content like a white paper will serve to capture attention as a one-to-many messaging tactic from marketing, whereas a product comparison chart is better suited for a prospect already talking to sales one-on-one.

Understand where your leads ‘sit’ in their buyer journey and ensure you have the variety of content to deploy accordingly to increase your chance of accelerating them towards purchase.

How should you share content for lead nurturing?

You know what content to use but how will you share it with your leads? One of the most commonly used channels for lead nurturing is email. Through email, you’re able to send newsletters, share new resources and continuously direct leads back to your website to gain more information.

However, before you send anything, consider how you acquired the lead and what stage they might be at in the buying process. This will help guide what type of content and strategy you take. As with all things in marketing and sales, the more you know about your lead, the more personalized your outreach will be.

Another powerful lead nurturing tool outside of email is your website. Based on profile data or behavior on-site, web personalization tools can help guide your leads through their buying journey with relevant and personalized content.

To effectively do this, consider deploying a content hub. Content hubs display content curated in real-time based on your lead’s interests and behavior on the site. This is probably the best way to ensure your prospect is seeing the right content at the right time.

You can take things one step further by feeding your content hub into your sales enablement platform. In doing so, you can accelerate the buyer’s journey, providing the salesperson with data on what the lead downloaded, how the content resonated, whether they forwarded it to others etc., to help understand what the buyer’s challenges are and what topics are most important to them.

Social media channels are another great way to capture audience attention and engage regularly via content, as most provide ‘pay for play’ or organic opportunities to target your ideal prospects. To create an even more personalized experience on social media, consider having sales reps augment the social marketing efforts with one-to-one outreach.

While getting leads is the starting point, nurturing them the right way is what helps close deals. Put content at the center of your nurture strategy across the entire buyer journey and remember that being effective takes teamwork. Don’t buy into the myth that lead nurture is simply just a marketing tool.

A surround-sound lead nurture approach that enlists marketing, sales and account management will increase your chances of success.

Isabelle Papoulias is the CMO of sales enablement solution provider Mediafly. Starting as a sales director, Isabelle quickly transitioned her role to marketing to build Mediafly’s marketing engine from the ground up. She is passionate about partnering with all areas of the organization to drive growth. Prior to Mediafly, Isabelle started her career in quantitative research for companies like Kraft Foods, Sprint and more. From there, she spent the majority of her 20+ year career working for ad and media agencies in global account management roles for Fortune 500 brands across industries like tech, finance, retail and CPG. Outside of her time spent developing marketing strategies and campaigns, Isabelle enjoys her professional hobby teaching dance.