Today’s B2B marketer wants more than high-volume, “top of funnel” leads. They are seeking lead scores, project plans, purchase timeframes and further insight to advance leads inside the funnel.
Lead nurturing is frequently being identified as the solution to this diverse and fast-evolving set of needs. But it’s a little too easy to say lead nurturing can address all these diverse requirements, and do it in fully automated fashion.
Accepted wisdom suggests that companies can deploy a marketing automation system, to build an email campaign with content assets targeted at buyers and their stage in the purchase cycle, in the hope to deliver nurtured, sales-ready leads.
But given that much of B2B lead generation revolves around high-tech products and services, it’s clear that this thought process is over-simplified. Complex IT projects integrate technology from multiple vendors, require a variety of technical skillsets, and, often support varying IT architectures – including cloud and on-site equipment.
To correctly evaluate lead nurturing’s potential, it’s also important to understand how nurturing addresses key stages in the buying cycle, and which channels are optimised to reach leads at each stage:
- Early stage – also known as marketing-ready, these leads have some level of awareness of a product or service
- Optimal channels: email marketing, web page discovered organically, social media
- Mid-stage – individuals who are BANT (Budget, Authority, Need and Timeframe) qualified.
- Optimal channels: email marketing to identify timeframe and budget authority; telemarketing for details on budget and needs.
- Late stage – BANT-qualified and willing to talk with a salesperson
- Optimal channels: direct phone call to set up an appointment / discuss next steps in collaboration opportunity, or email if contact has already been established
It’s entirely possible that a single marketing channel (email, telemarketing, website, etc.) could be leveraged to advance a lead from early stage to late stage and, thus ultimately result in a transaction. Still, we believe it’s not at all common for a lead to follow a straight path down the funnel.
In an ideal scenario, telemarketing is used in addition to email marketing by placing phone calls at key stages of the nurturing process to capitalise on the best of human contact, in order to advance a lead closer to sales ready status, or to full sales-ready status.
For a more detailed look at how we think email and telemarketing work together in a lead-nurturing scenario, please download our White Paper or contact us for further information on nurturing via telemarketing.