How to Set up a Lead Nurture Program

You have implemented marketing automation and you are generating some inbound leads. Great!  You have uploaded a database of contacts and these represent even more potential ‘leads’ (in the system). Now you need to manage all these leads. How do you convert them into subscribers and real sales leads?

lead-nurture

Of course, only a handful of leads are likely to become MQLs – Marketing Qualified Leads ready for sales engagement. Also, sales will likely want to send some MQLs back to marketing for more nurture. You need an approach to manage all the leads and contacts in your marketing database and start to nurture them into sales ready MQLs.

How do you set up a lead nurture program to generate more MQLs?

The answer is simple segmentation. Tackle this in three simple steps:

 

1. Define your buyer personas. Start with a few (3-4 perhaps) and build from there if needed. Personas could represent your typical economic buyer, technical buyer, business decision maker and influencer.  Focus on personas that would likely value different types of content and messaging from you at a different cadence. Some marketing automation solutions will automatically generate lists based on the persona and corresponding drop down self-selection fields that new prospects can complete to self select one of these persona segments.

 

2. Define your custom fields. This is an important step to ensure the database has the parameters you need based on your specific business. Of course, the more data fields you track, the greater the segmentation options, but the harder it is to maintain and complete profiles for each contact.  Data fields (custom and standard) may include things like business function, industry segment, personal contact status, interest areas, client status, partner, analyst, consultant, etc. You can also use existing analytics, like behaviors (interests) and lifecycle stage to help further create target segments and lists. All these existing and custom fields will allow you to build highly targeted lists for nurture campaigns and sales focus.

 

3. Build a matrix of segments to nurture campaigns. Now you can create a set of segments using the personas and appropriate custom fields. These segments can each receive different engagement campaigns. Campaigns can be set up along the customer journey;  for example awareness stage, consideration stage and decision stage campaigns. Another campaign archetype could be general company news and updates. Build your matrix to define which segments gets which campaigns and agree this with the sales team.

 

Now that you have the database set with personas and custom fields, you can run queries and build targeted lists for specific sales / marketing campaigns and follow-up. Of course, the process between marketing and sales must be highly collaborative. You can answer a range of queries that may trigger a targeted campaign or sales prospecting follow-up, e.g.:

  • Who has visited the site and registered in the last 2 weeks ?
  • What people that we know, have we not reached out to in the last 8 weeks ?
  • Who made an initial visit to our site and returned n times to download what?
  • Who do we know at XXX Company?
  • How many [sector] contacts visited/registered/ and downloaded the Infographic or eBook?
  • Who has responded to our initial message?
  • How many contacts do we have in Segment A?
  • Who visited our site and registered – but we have not followed up with?

Contact us know if you want to discuss nurture strategies in greater detail.

 

signpost of deadly sins

Sherwin’s 10 Deadly Sins of Sales

In the course of my three decades in sales leadership roles at large enterprises, early stage growth companies and in my management consulting practice, I have witnessed and corrected many bad sales practices. These practices, if not course corrected, would lead to zero sales. When they numbered an even ten, they became Sherwin’s 10 Deadly Sins of Sales. Out of the office with senior executives, I would recount them to their great amusement.

 

Here they are! Enjoy!

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Sales Qualification Tools using FACT instead of BANT and SCOTSMAN

One of our more popular posts is about SCOTSMAN and BANT sales qualification tools. We have written a few articles and shared an eBook about collaborative qualification and how to select and apply the right sales qualification tools  – including SCOTSMAN and BANT. These tools are quite familiar to teams that are focused on considered sales.  Yet, we see some challenges:

  • As clients are self-selling on websites, they will pre-qualify (assuming they find buying content on the website). This changes the role of sales-led qualification.
  • BANT is a proven model, but  the focus is on qualification from the seller perspective, it works better to qualify OUT the opportunity rather than qualify IN the opportunity.  It does not help build a collaborative relationship with the client.
  • SCOTSMAN is another great model as it offers a  nuanced approach, but it is hard to remember each of the elements in the mnemonic on the fly. Sales reps may need to pull out a cheat sheet which can be difficult in the heat of the moment.

See our other post on BANT and Scotsman to learn more.

So what is the right approach to sales qualification?

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