The key to Inbound success when you’re selling a product that’s a considered purchase – essentially, any product that's purchased over a long lead time – is not just related to the process of nurturing, but to what you offer these prospects through your nurturing campaign.
Here are some examples of the types of products we’re talking about:
- Capital equipment
- Enterprise software/IT
- Process industries products
- Construction equipment
- Products purchased by government entities
Your nurturing process (specifically, the timing of each piece of nurturing content) should align with the stages a B2B considered purchase prospect goes through before making his or her selection. Typically, those stages are:
- The prospect identifies his or her problem
- Requirements of a solution is identified; the search begins
- Evaluation of options takes place
- Testing (where applicable) and selection
The biggest mistake you could make with a considered purchase prospect is to execute a nurturing process that doesn’t satisfy what the prospects need when they need it – one that puts the right information in front of him or her at the wrong time (or the wrong information at the right time), or rushes headfirst toward the purchase phase. All that’s accomplished with a faulty nurturing process only demonstrates a lack of understanding of their needs and missed opportunities to tell your story.
An effective nurturing campaign should be strategically timed, and it should provide specific types of information at each stage.
Here are the types of content that will keep you on the short list as your prospect moves toward a purchase:
Early on, when your prospect is outlining the requirements of a solution, you should be focusing on the value of your product. Considered purchases invariably carry significant price tags, and getting the utmost value for their money is usually prospects' primary consideration. Your content should present information about your product’s durability, lifecycle, operating cost, total cost of ownership, as well as technical data, metrics about productivity increase/man-hour savings, ease-of-use data – anything that addresses what you know to be a likely requirement for the type of product you’re selling.
When the decision maker is evaluating all viable options, your content should do the same. Comparisons are inevitable and, though you may hesitate to go head-to-head against competitors, it’s better for you to present a comparison – when you make your own case, you have control over the nature of the message. The goal of any comparison should be to justify the cost of your product relative to competitors when measured on metrics that are meaningful to the prospect.
At the point when prospects are testing a narrow field of options (or, where testing isn’t possible or necessary, “tire kicking”), case studies give your company and product the credibility you need to tip the scales in your favor. Case studies are essentially proof that all you’ve said about your product is true. Include testimonials from someone in the organization you’re highlighting; these are prospects’ peer recommendations and in that way add an important dimension to your credibility. Along those same lines, trade articles featuring your product or validating your process will enhance and support case studies.
Because this is the final phase before purchase, your lead nurturing content should also include “dotting the I’s and crossing the t’s” information to reassure the prospect that your internal systems and processes accommodate their internal structure and requirements. This could mean presenting on-time delivery metrics, customer satisfaction survey results, ISO certifications and any others that relate to your industry, safety and environmental impact record, service agreements or contracts, financing options, warranties and similar information.
Learn more about the art of lead nurturing with our new infographic – The Life of an Inbound Marketing Lead.