Have you ever looked at the interaction your company is getting on social media and wondered how you can turn a ‘like’ into a sale?
Thanks to the growth in digital marketing and the influence of online in the B2B buyer journey, things have changed in the world of sales.
A potential customer is now likely to engage with a supplier long before they have an actual ‘need’. This engagement could be as small as liking a post on LinkedIn, or sharing a Tweet.
But what then? How can you go about turning them into a paying customer?
Step forward lead nurturing!
When it comes to converting a prospect into a sales ready lead, nurturing is key to success. Put simply, it is about building a relationship with a prospect, aiming to gain their trust and ultimately their business.
However, when you are selling to bigger companies with larger departments, it often won’t be just one person you need to convince. You’re likely to need to impress a whole chain of influencers, who may all have a say in the decision-making process.
Generally, the bigger the project (or accompanying price tag), the more people will be involved in the purchasing decision. Often, this could be an entire team or task group.
The more people that are involved, the more relationships you need to build and work on. Add to the mix all the people involved on your side too and you may soon find you have lots of relationships to manage.
Where things can get even more complicated, is in relation to employee churn. You may invest lots of time building up a relationship with a key decision maker, only to have them up and leave.
If you’re dealing with just one decision maker, this can be a real headache. When there’s a team of buyers, if one person leaves it may not be such a big problem – as long as the other contacts you’ve been working on remain.
Your best line of defence against this issue, is to not only nurture the key lead, but to take the entire company into consideration. That way, you’ll reduce the risk of your entire pipeline crashing.
Here’s how to set up a lead nurturing process with this in mind:
People buy from people
People sit firmly at the heart of any sales process. Whether you’re dealing with a purchasing team of 20, or one key decision maker.
Your goal should always be to develop a relationship. If you have put together strong buyer personas, then you should have a good understanding of what the main issues are that prospects face, along with how they find their information, how they process it and how they make decisions. You should then be able to tie your product or service back to them and show how it could support them in achieving their goals.
It’s important to be entirely focused on the target person in every interaction, whether it’s a LinkedIn update, new blog post, email, or even a phone call.
Aim to always:
Be of use to them
Don’t send an email they won’t open. Make sure anything you send out is interesting and/or helpful to them. They should be glad they took the time to open and read it.
Offer the right information at the right time to the right person
This is the holy grail of lead nurturing in the digital age. Nowadays, we all risk information overload. Add to the noise and it’s not going to help your cause. What is going to help you is being succinct and sending them information they will want to receive.
Experiment, review and improve
When you first start out with online lead generation you are likely to have little clue about how the people you want to reach will behave. You will need to make assumptions, such as where is best to find them, how to contact them, etc. Based on your initial assumptions, continue to test and refine your approach as you go along. Experiment, see what works and what doesn’t, then make improvements.
See the world from their point of view
When nurturing any lead, it’s important to always have their interests in mind. You need to be able to see the world from their point of view and to help make their life easier. If they feel understood, have the budget and the timing is right, then they’ll soon start to trust you more and you’re more likely to close the deal.
Find out who else you need to know
Now is the time to start thinking more broadly. This is the first step towards nurturing a whole company, as opposed to an individual. To achieve this aim, you need to find out who else should be on the list of people you’re going to build a relationship with.
How to nurture a company
Unless you are dealing with a solopreneur, there are likely to be a number of people who may have an influence on the decision being made. These ‘others’ are the ones you need to think about, particularly when you’re aiming to close the bigger deals.
Remember, usually the bigger the deal the more people involved.
But who are they and how can you get to them?
No matter what the size of the target company, when a purchasing decision is being made, it will usually involve a discussion of some kind amongst colleagues.
The active buyer may bounce their ideas off their immediate team, supervisors and senior managers, or even investors.
So how can you make sure this works in your favor?
The first step is to figure out who these ‘others’ might be and to gauge the level of influence they may have. To do so will take a great understanding of your buyer personas and the journey that buyers go on when purchasing from you.
Company nurturing in practice
Let’s put it into practice…
Imagine for a second that you are a SaaS provider. Your software is aimed at smaller HR teams who are moving from having no system at all, to using software that will help them better manage the HR process.
Historically, you will usually have dealt with just one person in these types of HR firms.
You have two buyer personas. The first is the person who deals with administering the hiring process at the company. This will usually be some kind of assistant or office worker, who may be doing it alongside other work.
The other buyer persona is someone who makes the HR process decisions. They don’t make final decisions on who to hire, but they are in charge of finding good candidates.
You decide to produce an eBook designed to help streamline the type of processes they are managing, in which you plug your solution at the end.
You know that the only people who will have a particular interest in this topic and who are most likely to download the eBook, are those who match the buyer personas. In other words, it is strongly targeted at potential users of the product.
But who is the one pulling the trigger on whether to purchase it or not?
The best way to find out is to go back to your existing clients and pull out any data you can from them. One dead giveaway is anyone who may be cc’d in the emails you receive from the prospect. Look who else they are involving in the conversation. Check out their name, see who they are and what their position is. See what clues you can take from that.
Getting in contact with “the others”
Nurturing a company isn’t just about speaking to the end user of your product. You also need to find a way to engage with the people around them – such as the ones who will be allocating them the budget to buy.
The key to figuring out who else you should be building a relationship with is research.
Here’s an example of how you might do it:
- 1. Put together an eBook and have it as gated content on your website. Any leads who convert (i.e. give you their contact details in exchange for downloading it) will be indicating they may be interested in what you have to say.
- 2. Using the list of people who have converted and who you think may be a good fit for the product, look at their website and sites like LinkedIn. Start digging around and piecing together all the information you can about them and who else you should be reaching out to at their company.
- 3. You then need to find a way to contact these ‘others’, so you can start nurturing them individually too. That way all the relevant people in the purchasing circle will be actively targeted.
- 4. Using an effective CRM (here’s a guide to help you choose one) and putting some good marketing automation processes in place, you can compile the information in one place. Then use it to send out the right information at the right time to the right person.
How Lead Forensics can help
Top tip: The software we provide at Lead Forensics can get you there even quicker and give you a clear edge over the competition. You can use it to see:
- Who may be interested in your offering and has visited your website (even if they didn’t actually convert)
- Detailed information about what they are looking at once there, when they visited, for how long, etc.
- Information on who else at a company you should have in your sights and what their contact details are
Contact point one
If lots of people visit your website (thanks to all the different ways you’re generating traffic) but then leave again before converting, that doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t interested.
Sometimes, a lead may just be in a hurry and forget to come back. They may not be the right person. It could be bad timing, or they may even have found the copy just didn’t speak to them.
Whatever the reason, the fact they visited your website in the first place clearly indicates some kind of interest (minus a few accidental click throughs).
At that moment, you have contact point one. You need to know exactly who these people are and that’s where Lead Forensics software can again help. It can tell you which companies your web visitors are from.
When you’re using account based marketing (ABM) in particular, this can be incredibly useful. You can be immediately alerted if someone from one of your top target companies pays a visit to your website.
Contact point two
As for the other people within the company who you need to know about, as well as flagging up a target visitor, Lead Forensics can show you who is who within the company and what their contact details are.
You can go into the portal and access our contacts database, then decide which may be of interest to you before starting the lead nurturing process for each of them.
Keeping the whole company in mind
Whether you research the others using LinkedIn, Google, Lead Forensics, or any other combination of channels, remember the next step will be to ensure you have a strong lead nurturing process in place.
It’s about deciding who should get what information, when and how it should be delivered.
Always keep the wider company in mind. That will minimize the potential impact of someone leaving and also help you be seen in a more favorable light within any internal conversations.
If the worst does happen and you have to start the process of relationship building again, as long as you’ve done your job well, then others in the company should only have good things to say about you. And that means you won’t be starting from scratch.
So, take the time to nurture those other relationships, as it can go a long way to aiding your success.