The Big Question What is the most important thing you can do to make your lead nurturing effective?
“Because lead nurturing, by defini-tion, is a lead in need of continued attention, I think the most important thing to ensure the success of growing leads is a good CRM solution overlaid with an intelligent marketing content distribution strategy. A prospect may say "follow up with me in six months,' but passing along relevant content, orchestrated in a manner that builds awareness and confidence in your product or solution, will move your prospect further down the sales funnel with minimal intrusion, resulting in increased close rates.” —Deborah Murphy, VP-global marketing, Zebra Technologies “The most impor-tant factor in lead nurturing is sequencing of the customer touches following acquisition. It's particularly important to communicate with the prospect on a timely basis and when there are salient moments driven by customer actions, [for example] reactions to outbound campaigns or exogenous events. —Tom Nightingale, VP-communications and CMO, Con-way Inc. “Ours is a pretty small industry in terms of number of people who are involved in it. [But] it's incredibly huge in terms of the amount of dollars that are involved in it. As a result of that, it's a business that's conducted primarily on a one-on-one relationship level. The majority of conversation that goes on around selling and maintaining of airplanes is done in-person, between one or two individuals or small groups. The notion of lead generation in our category is probably very different than most other industries. There aren't airlines hidden in the bushes in our category. They all have to be approved by governments, they're regulated. We can always very easily know who's there and what's going on.” —Rob Pollack, VP-advertising, brand and market positioning, Boeing Commercial Airplanes “Do not paint every lead with the same brush. It is not about putting leads into a nurturing "bucket' for follow up. It is about creating nurturing "buckets' for specific nurturing strategies. This starts with a joint understanding between sales and marketing on what are the definitions throughout the lead funnel, associated lead scoring and the service level agreements at each hand-off point. Defining the types of nurturing streams is critical to ensure they are aligning to a specific business outcome. Content is a key cornerstone in developing successful nurturing streams. Keeping prospects engaged requires specific and relevant content as you mature the relationship with that individual. Listen to the digital body language of the individual, and tailor the journey for that prospect or customer.” —Eduardo Conrado, senior VP-CMO, Motorola Solutions “Lead nurturing is all about delivering targeted informa-tion to pros-pects based on who they are, what they care about and where they are in their evaluation process. The most important thing you can do to make your lead nurturing program successful is to segment your database and keep it clean. It may not sound as cool on the resume, but a tightly tuned database with processes for updating and maintaining key fields (e.g., industry, company size, department, level in organization, competitive products, etc.) will ensure that your nurturing campaigns are seen as truly valuable and not just another email to delete.” —Michael Evans, VP-marketing, Approva Corp. “I would say keeping track of your leads. You need to know what the lead responded to [initially] and in what fashion. You also need to know: What is the best way to follow up with that person? For me, it's how can we best give them a human response. That's whats we shoot for.” —Lisa De Luca, senior manager-federal marketing, CDW-G “I think the most important element today to help nurture lead generation is the delivery of relevant content to the prospect. In highly focused manufacturing markets, it is vital to provide the contact with information that is timely, relevant and provides an appropriate call to action in order to obtain the lead. With a robust recovery under way in North American manufacturing markets, everyone is short of time. Ensuring that the message is focused and can illustrate strong potential benefits will help generate good response rates, regardless of the communications tactic employed. The message must match your CRM market, and product segmentation and contact information, including function, influence and history.” —Mark Rentschler, marketing manager, Makino “The key to effective lead nurturing is consistency and content. Speak to the needs of your buying audience and put relevant, action-oriented content in front of them when they need it, not when you, as the marketing executive think it's relevant. Become a trusted adviser, follow their digital body language and most of all keep it up to date and relevant. There is no need to reinvent the wheel; use messaging that you have proven draws the reader in and solves their business pain.“ —Al Maag, chief communications officer, Avnet Inc. “First and foremost, don't assume that "lead nurturing' is simply a synonym for email drip campaigns—such efforts are merely one form of lead nurturing. But there are other vehicles, including retargeting, site personalization and intelligent merchandising. The most important thing for marketing execs to do when thinking about lead nurturing is to begin with the end in mind: 1) Specify the goal of their lead nurturing efforts (deeper awareness, education, refreshing a lead, et al.); 2) Decide how you're going to keep score; 3) Evaluate all the vehicles and methods that are available to them; 4) Implement those nurturing vehicles and measure, optimize, measure.” —Matt Johnston, CMO, uTest Inc. “In my previous work for companies like Orange and Nokia, we had structural marketing initiatives to get leads to that sales funnel: direct mail, email, events, etc. That was a structural marketing approach, a very process-driven approach. What I've learned working for a startup is that we want instinctual marketing. At mySpark, we want our marketing to resonate and have an emotional impact. It's very different when you're a company that doesn't have a lot of marketing dollars. Our main objective is to get in front of the CIOs, the provosts [at colleges and universities]. It's not about making the sale right away, it's about relationship- building.” —Kamar Shah, global VP-marketing and business development, mySpark Technologies