One of the most important aspects of marketing is your lead generation program. Whether you are using an outbound, inbound, or a combination of both strategies, the business will only come to you if you have your MQLs ready to go.
Therefore, as a marketer, any time you create MQLs, they need to be included in your sales team’s “accounts they manage” so that they can assign them to a proper rep.
This step will help ensure an inbound lead makes it through the pipeline—which is really what all the marketing automation activity is for.
Even still, many marketing teams don’t have this process down pat.
“If you start nurturing your MQLs better, your sales team will have a much easier time converting them to customers.”
But you know what’s harder? The amount of time and effort you spend trying to get it right.
Nurturing Your MQLs: Understand The Buyer’s Journey
Everything starts with a story. The story of how you came to be, the story of your prospects’ interest, the story of what’s truly meaningful to them. This is where buyer journey maps come in. Without one, you are flying blind!
So, if you are serious about nurturing your MQLs, you must be cautious about every stage of your buyer’s journey.
Regardless of whether you’re buying a toothbrush or a car, the journey is fundamentally the same. It’s all about your customer’s journey from awareness through consideration to decision making.
Image Source: Hubspot
- Awareness is what happens at the top of the funnel (TOFU). These are your ideal prospects—people who are searching for an answer, resource, or solution to their problems.
Examples include: blog posts, e-books, guides, how-to content, and email sequences.
- Consideration happens at the middle of the funnel (MoFU). Here is where people decide what they need to achieve their goals. They research possible solutions, narrow down their options and choose who to buy from.
Examples include: whitepapers, case studies, webinars, social media posts.
- Decision-Making happens at the bottom of the funnel (BoFU). At this point, by nurturing your MQLs you can turn them into potential customers and might buy your product or service after some convincing.
Examples include: assessments and consultations, on-site demos, tutorials.
Adopting a Formal, Yet Flexible MQL Nurturing Process
When building nurturing campaigns, it’s important to remember the following:
- Fully understand where leads are in stages of their journey.
- Mix up our messaging to keep leads interested and engaged (by targeting different pain points).
- Create segments that match the stage each lead is in.
- Assign content specialists to each segment.
“The nurturing process you choose should match both the overall goals of the program and the stages your leads progress through over time.”
For example, some companies maintain nurture streams designed to encourage prospects to raise their hands and engage with sales reps. Others use streams to push content to prospects on a predetermined schedule.
Personalize Nurturing As Much As Possible
A personalized email increases the odds that recipients will open your emails by 26%.
Personalization is the hottest trend in the marketing world right now, and for a very good reason. Creating one-on-one communication with your leads will give them an added reason to talk to you instead of other brands.
To create that sense of personalization while nurturing your MQls, you need to do more than just add names to emails. It is about creating campaigns that showcase the prospect’s industry expertise, using a copy that shows your prospect you are speaking directly to them and not every other prospect.
The more human your approach, the better your results will be.
How to Follow-up Your MQLs
Marketing-qualified leads are the closest you can be to a guaranteed sale. After all, you’ve done your research on this prospect, understood their buying needs, and then made your pitch with their problems in mind. You’ve even added some value to the process along the way.
Yet despite all your hard work, not all of these leads will become customers.
Wondering what “will”? Here’s how you should be nurturing your MQLs and following them up:
#1. Get a Specialized Team to Work on Nurturing Your Leads.
A sales development rep (SDR) is usually part of a broader sales team. They take the lead from marketing by cold calling and following up with contacts generated from banner ads, email campaigns, and other online marketing approaches. Once the SDR has done this, they pass that qualified lead onto a sales development manager or an account executive.
SDRs are the unsung heroes of your funnel. Your SDRs are the ones doing all the work to qualify interesting leads, set interesting meetings, and move them through the funnel at exactly the right place. If you’re not utilizing their services you’re basically throwing money away.
#2. Create a Lead Qualification Process.
Lead qualification plays an important role in lead generation and sales pipeline management.
What makes a lead sales-qualified? While nurturing your MQLs, there are many answers to this question.
Some of the most common responses include: leads who have signed up for your email newsletter, leads who have downloaded your whitepaper, leads who have visited specific pages on your website, or leads that have gone through certain phases in your lead nurturing cycle.
Once the list is ready, share it with sales development management to get feedback about whether or not it makes sense to try and reach out to the targeted audience.
#3. Develop an SDR Elevator Pitch.
No matter how good an SDR is, no matter how long s/he has been doing it, there are always ways to improve. Scripts can help you do that. They aren’t magic (no one is that good).
However, they can give a framework to help your SDRs concentrate on the more important points of a call rather than just trying to “wing it.” And they can also give more confidence in what you say.
Adding the following elements in the elevator pitch can get the job done:
- Introduce the SDR and your company.
- Verify that you’re talking to the right point of contact.
- Explain why you’re contacting them.
- Describe your product’s main benefit and how it is useful for the buyer.
- Inquire about setting up a sales meeting.
#4. Do Not Forget to Establish a Follow-Up Cadence.
Let’s say an SDR is following up with a marketing-qualified lead who has interacted with the company before but has not yet become a customer.
The ideal scenario would be to follow up multiple times over several days and weeks until the lead was either converted to a customer or removed from further consideration.
If this were an SDR who had no guidance and no script, they might be reaching out too much or too little. Therefore, a follow-up cadence is important when setting up the conversation funnel.
Two primary benefits include:
- It helps your sales team identify the frequency of following up while nurturing your MQLs.
- It helps your sales team ensure that the prospects are engaged in conversation across multiple channels.
Source: The Manifest
Make Your MQLs Feel Appreciated, But Do Not Spam Them With Irrevelant Content
Prospects that download your content or get in touch with you deserve a special welcome email. But it’s a delicate balance between staying top of mind and spamming them.
One way to avoid this while nurturing your MQLs is to use an offer that ties into the lead magnet you gave away for free.
For example, if your lead magnet is a cheat sheet, then put something in the email about the cheat sheet. The point of this type of email is to provide information about your company or product so your prospects can decide whether or not they are interested in purchasing from you.
Then again, you need a completely different approach to selling B2B. While consumer marketing is mostly based on emotional motivations, which lead to spontaneous purchases, B2B scenarios are more likely to be rational and require longer decision-making processes.
In the corporate world, it takes time to form a solid opinion about a product or service and fully understand its advantages and disadvantages. Do not overwhelm them with unnecessary content while nurturing your MQLs.
In Conclusion to Nurturing Your MQls: Track Key Metrics
Ideally, you want to track the progress of each lead from the moment they become qualified through their interactions with your brand or product line through their final outcome.
Of course, not all this information will be available. It can’t be if you are following up on cold leads or people who weren’t aware that your company even offered a product line. But it is very important to keep in mind that there are some key metrics that are important for lead nurturing and those you shouldn’t skip.
- Email Conversion Rate: It is the percentage of people who engage in the desired action in your sales and marketing automation system, such as downloading a white paper or purchasing a product.
- Sales Qualified-to-Sale Ratio: The percentage of qualifying leads that convert to customers over a specific period of time.
- Customer Acquisition Cost: The sum of money, time, and effort it takes to attract a new customer.
It’s what you build your marketing and sales plans on, and they will have to continually adjust based on how your metrics change over time. That’s the secret to nurturing your MQLs.
Did we skip anything? Remind us in the comment section below.