One of the biggest challenges many B2B or B2C organizations face is generating a strong pipeline of quality leads. Continuous quality sales leads are the cornerstone of any successful business in any industry. But your sales cycle is lengthening, as these statistics show:
- 63% of people requesting information on your company today will not purchase for at least three months – and 20% will take more than 12 months to buy. (Source: Marketing Donut)
- 88% of consumers research before they buy, consulting an average of 10.4 sources. (Source: Google)
Because your leads have changed the way they make decisions, lead nurturing is essential to capitalize on those leads who are not yet ready to buy. In order to nurture these leads, it’s critical to map their buyer’s journey.
In this stage, 72% of buyers will turn to Google (Source: Google). They begin to eliminate companies who don’t provide what they are looking for and narrow their choices to a few.
They may not be ready to speak with a sales rep yet, so automated lead nurturing continues to build the trust and relationship with the lead. In fact, according to DemandGen Report, on average, nurtured leads produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads.
Once you’ve earned their trust, they are then ready to convert from a Marketing Qualified Lead to a Sales Qualified Lead and request to speak with a sales representative.
79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance. (Source: MarketingSherpa)
They are asking questions specific to their situation and gathering information on how to budget, plan, implement and manage the product or service.
It’s cheaper to keep the customers you have happy, then it is to go find new ones.
What is the buyer’s journey?
The journey a lead travels is called a buyer’s journey. And it’s important: Over 95% of buyers chose a solution provider that “provided them with ample content to help navigate through each stage of the buying process.” (Source: DemandGen Report)
Sales and marketing teams must understand what information the buyer is seeking at each stage of the buyer’s process in order to develop content strategy that will answer the buyer’s questions and move the buyer further down the buyer’s journey.
The buyer’s journey consists of 4 stages—Awareness, Consideration, Decision, and Advocacy.
- In the Awareness stage, the visitor is looking for answers to a problem. Attract and engage them by demonstrating you understand and want to help them with their problem. Lead-nurturing attracts them to your website using blogs, ads, papers, and how-to guides.
- In the Consideration stage, the Marketing Qualified Lead is comparing your product or service to a competitor. Answer their questions, overcome their objections, and offer them the information they need to purchase your product or service. Nurture your leads with ebooks, buyer’s guides, assessments, industry white papers, and analyst papers.
- In the Decision stage, your Sales Qualified Lead is asking specific questions about how your company can meet their needs. Overcome their objections by proving that your solution will solve their problems better than competitors. Offer them product comparisons, pricing guides, ratings, reviews, and ROI calculators to encourage them to take that final step.
- Brand advocates should always be delighted with their purchase and recommend your company to others. Let ‘em know they’ve joined a select group with testimonials. Give them a loyalty discount. And help them use your product more efficiently with white papers.
It’s 6 to 7 times more costly to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer. (Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs)
Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25-95%. (Source: Bain & Company)
Once you’ve mapped your buyer’s journey, you know how to reach them effectively with the optimal content and format at each stage of the journey.
By producing relevant, personalized content at the right time during the lead’s buying process, you foster trust in your advice, your knowledge, and your business. Keep your leads engaged with educational and information content to help them learn more about your services. As they learn more and become ready to consider your service, you can qualify them and turn them over to sales
You may be asking, “How do I map the buyer’s journey?” “How do I make sure leads get the best content at the right time?” “Is it worth the time and money?”
At Marketing Essentials, we can answer your questions. Marketing Essentials can help you discover the inbound digital marketing possibilities for your company. Request your free inbound marketing consultation today online at mtkgessentials.com.