I've been doing a lot of thinking about how marketers can optimize their lead engagement to deliver more opportunity-prone prospects to their sales departments.
A growing number of B2B marketers have marketing automation technology to help them track, score and connect better than ever with their lead database. Discovering who your hottest prospects are and getting them to sales at exactly the right moment is becoming easier.
This is a great thing for both quantifying marketing efforts and for generating higher alignment with sales, but what I'm wondering is what happens when the frequency and recency of a lead's engagement stalls?
Mostly what I'm seeing is that these leads are rolled into a "general" touch campaign with the intent of keeping your company in the lead's mind so that when something changes, they can re-engage.
But, I'm not sure that's the best first response.
Consider the profile of a lead who was hot and heavy with response to your content and communications who has either stopped completely interacting with you or has turned into a sporadic responder.
Those are two totally different behaviors and can happen for a variety of reasons. In the case of the stopped completely, it would be proactive to reach out and ask things like:
- Has your position in the company changed? To...?
- Was the project put on hold?
- Did you already solve this problem? How?
- Did our content cease being of value to you? Why?
Knowing the answers to those questions can present options for handling the lead that go beyond just dumping them back into the general nurturing pool or dropping them completely. The way you choose to handle how you act can actually add relevance for the lead, bringing them back—depending on their answers to the above, of course.
If the lead is still responsive, but only sporadically, take a look at their activity profile and try to determine what changed. If your content changed focus around that time period to a different problem/solution scenario, your information may have become less valuable to leads interested in previous topics.
Look at the content they are still responding to. What similarities exist between the lead's content choices?
Given the answers to those questions, can you create a 1-to-1 interaction that enables you to learn more?
The point is that buyer behavior changes and evolves continuously. If you're seeing a growing percentage of people retreating from your communications, perhaps something has shifted in your marketplace that you've missed. Maybe some new problem scenario is now the urgent priority and you missed the shift.
Doing some investigation into why these lead behaviors are occurring can help you ensure your emarketing strategy stays on track because your relevance never wavers, or at least not for long.
And finally, look and see what options your marketing automation technology offers to help you track frequency and recency and how you can start using those insights for more than a tool to reroute your leads into the general nurturing pool.