In my last blog Meagen Eisenberg (Vice President of Demand generation at DocuSign in the US) shared her vision on the importance of mutual understanding and a good cooperation between marketing and sales. But what obviously improves the relationship between these two departments even more is the quality of leads that marketing gets from sales.
Meagen has a clear vision on this. With ‘her’ Demand Generation department she is running no less than 80 nurture programs at the moment. Very experienced I’d say!
What is lead nurturing? A short refresher
To ensure there is a streamlined cooperation between marketing and sales it is essential that the marketing department delivers well-qualified leads. Because of this, leads need to be nurtured. Lead nurturing is having a dialogue with your leads. By listening to them and finding out what information they need, you can offer relevant information at the right moment. This is how you guide a lead to the next phase in the buying process. You completely adjust the information you provide to the needs of your leads and the buying process that this lead is in.
When the lead is a qualified lead (you coordinate this with sales) you pass it on to the sales department. At that point your lead is a ‘marketing qualified lead’ (MQL): a lead that has been qualified by marketing as a potential prospect. From then on the sales department takes over.
Being successful in lead nurturing? Four matters you should take into account
Meagen states in the interview that the following points are essential for a successful nurturing campaign:
- Segmentation. According to Meagen first of all it is important that you segment your client files. “To be able to this you need enough information. You can use the forms on your website for this. We use DemandBase – a tool that gives us company information of (potential) clients. It helps us enrich our data.” Try to get to know as much as you can about your leads. Meagen: “With this information you can then send targeted and personalized messages to your leads and that way lead them through the sales funnel.”
- Online forms. Don’t ask too much information from a new lead. Experience shows that the further leads are in the funnel, the more information they want to share about themselves. But watch: the longer the forms are, the sooner they will turn off. Meagen: “Don’t think: ‘I will ask as much as I can so that I find out a lot about my leads’, but stick to a maximum of 5 or 6 questions per form.”
- Marketing automation. “Also, you have to make sure that you have a good marketing automation system so you can follow the buyer journey of your leads. With this you get more insight in your leads and their online behavior. This way you can adjust the content you send to the phase of the buying process that your lead is in.”
- Create valuable content. Meagen: “You have to have the right content to nurture your leads. If you don’t have content yet, plan what content you want to make and expand it. You can also adapt and transform existing content from for instance blog posts or white papers that are created by others. This way you create your own content. This is called ‘content curation’.” Finally, Meagen states that you don’t have to have the expertise yourself to make content like a white paper. You do have to know what sort of content you want to have. “The actual creating of content can easily be delegated.”
Meagen Eisenberg can tell us much more about lead nurturing in practice. She will soon be speaking on the B2B Marketing Forum on 13 March 2014.