Adapt to thrive. The sales and marketing landscape has changed over the past few years; only businesses that recognize this and adapt to these changes will thrive. Cold calls, blast emails and other outbound marketing techniques no longer result in quality leads. Today, customers have more control of the information they consume, the brands they interact with and where they buy.
The Internet has transformed the sales cycle and high-tech organizations need to change their lead generation models. In the past, consumers could not easily get the information they needed. Therefore, marketers had to push information to consumers. However, today there is an abundance of information that buyers have ready access to and advanced search tools that enable them to find the right item.
To generate qualified leads, high-tech companies need to adopt marketing strategies that will pull prospects to them. These techniques collectively fall under the term Inbound Marketing. Through Inbound Marketing techniques, companies can generate qualified leads and promote them through the sales funnel to become customers. The ROI from inbound marketing is greater than that from outbound marketing. Research has shown that lead generation from inbound marketing is sixty percent less expensive than outbound marketing techniques.
Lead nurturing is the process of engaging a prospect until the opportune time presents itself to make a sales pitch. Lead nurturing is an important element of inbound marketing because it provides better qualification and opportunity conversion. By the time a prospect initiates contact with your business, he or she has already done a fair part of their research. The prospect may be gauging your business versus two or three of your competitors who may can address the need. Through lead nurturing, your business provides relevant and topical information to the prospect so that they remain engaged and value your product or service.
The sales cycle can be divided into three main steps; Top of the Funnel (ToFU), Middle of the Funnel (MoFU) and Bottom of the Funnel (BoFU). At each of these steps, inbound marketing and lead nurturing has a major role to play.
At this stage, the prospect has identified a problem but has not determined the source. They are looking for information that can help identify or isolate the source. Through inbound marketing, you provide information that will help the prospect understand the possible causes, and potential remedies. The content should not prescribe any branded solution, but rather focus on the potential set of causes of the problem. Ideal content for this stage includes eBooks, Whitepapers, webinars and educational videos.
A prospect at this stage understands the problem source and now is looking for solutions. The main the main focus is now discovering different options that address the problem.
The content provided at this stage should offer solutions. The content should not be sales like, but rather aimed at educating the prospect on methods to eliminate the problem. Use data sheets, brochures, slide decks and product video as a method for packaging this content.
At this point, the prospect understands the problem and possible solutions and is now seeking products or services to address it. They are researching solutions that can solve it. It is at this stage that the prospect welcomes direct contact with your business.
The content provided at this stage should demonstrate and illustrate the benefits of your solution to address the prospect’s problem. The prospect is ready for detailed information about the products and/or services so the content can be branded. However, the content should prompt the prospect to take action and request meeting your sales representative. The prospect is interested in results, so they are ready for product demos, assessments, consultation and case studies.
Throughout the lead nurturing process, your content should prompt the prospect to take the next step. For instance, after providing information on the causes of the problem, you should prompt the prospect to select your content that offers possible solutions. The same applies when the prospect has learned about solutions. You should then offer products or services information provided by your business.
The timing and frequency of delivering the content vary with the stages too. At the start, top of the funnel, the prospect is very inquisitive and thus the information flow should be heavy. As the prospect traverses down the funnel, the frequency of the content should reduce. Content should be delivered spaced out in time to allow the information to be absorbed. At the bottom of the funnel, the content flow should be light and dictated by the prospect. However, make sure there is no long gap. When there is a gap, the prospect will be inclined to look for content elsewhere.
Bristol Strategy is a full funnel inbound marketing agency and inbound sales agency offering the full complement of Inbound Marketing services that enable our clients to surpass their business objectives by transforming the way they engage with their buyer on-line. Reach out to us to learn more about how our experience and capabilities can help your business grow.