Marketing in the industrial sector has evolved quickly over the last few years, but one thing remains constant — prospects need to trust that you understand their problems before they will consider what you have to offer as a solution.
Implementing new systems on the plant floor requires significant investments of time and money, and a manufacturer’s key stakeholders have to feel good about moving forward with your solution before making such a decision. You have to nurture that relationship until they trust you and want what you have to offer. Lead nurturing strategies are an effective way of building trust and moving leads through the sales funnel.
Here are the top 5 best practices to follow when building your lead nurturing strategy:
1. Know who you are engaging
If you don’t really understand who you are speaking to, your nurturing efforts will be wasted. According to HubSpot, 73% of all B2B sales leads are not ready to buy, so understanding their pain points is vital to developing a nurturing strategy that will get them ready. Truly knowing your buyers and how to engage them throughout their journey will lead to better messaging and higher returns on your nurturing efforts. It’s key to proceed as a true partner in their search for a solution to their problem. Not just any problem.
2. Use content to power the nurturing machine
Managing data on the plant floor is the power behind effective production strategies. Similarly, content management powers your nurturing strategy. The content needs to be relevant and valuable to your prospects as they move from one stage of the buyer’s journey to the next. A key part of inbound marketing is to establish your company as a reliable, credible expert in your buyer’s industry. Your content must answer the questions they ask at whatever stage they are at in the process. A trusted partner will know what content is valuable to their prospects.
3. Segment, segment, segment
On average it takes six to eight touches before a prospect becomes a viable sales lead. If you haven’t properly segmented your prospects and tailored the content to their specific situations, it will be extremely difficult to move those potential customers down the funnel. It is better to send a series of relevant, contextual emails to a segment of 20 than it is to blast one email to an entire database of 20,000.
Targeted emails result in 62% more clicks than emails sent to non-segmented lists. Prove to your prospects that you understand where they are at in the buyer’s journey. Communicating to prospects in a way that shows them you truly understand their challenges and what steps they are currently taking to resolve those issues will build trust with them. Segment your lists by each phase in the buyer’s journey and by industry, or phase and job type, or all three. You can choose other ways to segment as well, but the more specific you are, the more engaging your content will be, resulting in a more successful nurturing program.
4. Determine the type of nurturing strategy you want to use
Just as important as targeted content is for your nurturing strategy, the approach you use to communicate that content is equally important. For example, a welcome campaign has a different goal than an educational campaign or a re-engagement campaign. Your prospect might require an approach that doesn’t take anything for granted and starts with basic information about your product or company. Or, you may need to take an approach that continues to provide valuable insights about a product or solution as your prospect considers options. You might also need to create a hybrid approach as you re-engage previous prospects that became inactive but now have re-entered the prospect pool. They should be welcomed as new prospects and brought up-to-speed quickly on any advances in your product or solution.
5. Set goals
Often lost in a nurturing campaign is establishing goals that makes sense for growing the business. Goals need to be specific to each workflow, and you need to make a commitment to learn from those metrics and optimize the program to drive growth. Failing to do so wastes internal resources and will likely result in lost prospects. Metrics will tell you if you segmented appropriately or used the appropriate workflow strategy. They will also tell you if your content is relevant to prospects at each point in the buyer’s journey.
Manufacturing requires specific strategies and metrics to optimize efficiencies and profitability. And every application is different, requiring different solutions. In the same way, consumers of your marketing content will require targeted communication that is specific to their context in order maximize the effectiveness of your nurturing strategy. Consider these steps as you build out your workflows so you can successfully develop trusting relationships with prospects and turn them into customers.
Posted by Stacy Bouchard
Stacy Bouchard is a Strategist at Weidert Group. After twenty years marketing manufacturing, A/E/C, and service companies, Stacy dived into inbound marketing in 2014, and has since become an expert in HubSpot and inbound strategy.