Many B2B marketers will tell you they have a nurturing program. If you ask them what benefits they hope to gain, they'll likely talk about the goals for the program in relation to the number of sales opportunity conversions or revenues produced from marketing-driven customer acquisition.
Those are great goals, of course, and ones we need to realize for our companies, but we also need to think about the other benefits our companies can derive from consistent and relevant nurturing programs that help to produce those big payoffs.
In no particular order, here are 27 benefits that came to me off the top:
- Interest/Pain identification
- Increased credibility (propensity to opt in)
- Thought leadership recognition (higher trust)
- Buying path (stage) definition
- Segmentation opportunities
- Market awareness
- Strengthened company positioning
- Interactive online dialogues
- Conversation generation (online and off)
- Idea transference
- Ongoing storyline engagement
- Prospect intelligence beyond demographics
- Identification of industry trends
- Peer-to-peer referrals (here's a link to...)
- Longer reach (unlimited distribution potential)
- Greater depth (reach influencers beyond decision makers)
- Marketing and sales alignment
- Seamless sales enablement
- Customer retention
- Increased customer lifetime value
- Cross-sell and Up-sell potential
- Increased customer satisfaction
- Inclusion in closed-door conversations (when you're not there)
- Agile response to market shifts
- Consistency in relevance and value delivery
- Acceleration in growth of pipeline
- Shorter time to revenue
You may be looking at this list and wondering just how you'd realize and capitalize on all these benefits to get those big payoffs mentioned at the beginning. This is where marketing automation comes into play. Companies like Genius.com, Marketo, Manticore Technology, Silverpop, Eloqua — and others — are the engines behind nurturing programs.
Lead nurturing is as much an exercise in content strategy execution as it is in syncing the people and processes that drive your business' success. Technology is the enabler that pulls it all together.
Marketing is not just a stand-alone department within our companies. At least it shouldn't be.
Just in case you think you can get all of this by executing the same old marketing campaigns the way you've always done them, think again. Your buyers have changed. If you want to reap all of these benefits (and I'm sure I've forgotten some), you must focus first on getting to know your buyers and customers as well as you know your products and base your nurturing programs on that intelligence.
Because, after all, it's truly all about them.
Never forget that many of these benefits are based on how well you can learn to read your prospects' behavior over time and how prepared you are to respond when they ask you to. That's one reason why marketing will always be a combination of art and science — that human factor.
Feel free to contribute any benefits you see that I've forgotten and I'll add them to the list.