5 Hot Lead Nurturing Trends to Track for 2019

By Malin Karlsson

2018-10-02

Lead management is the bread and butter for B2B businesses. But how can you ensure a fruitful nurturing process when your customers are in a constant state of flux? I’ve collected 5 useful tips to get you in the lead for Q4 – and onwards.

1. Measurable and Actionable Data is a Must – Not an Option

The days of mass communication are far gone. Antiquated – even though it’s only been a decade. Throughout the years, customers have evolved into digital natives that crave a seamless and personalised experience. Now, this becomes particularly pressing within the scope of B2B.

To seal the deal within B2B requires a lot of work as it needs to run through several tiers of decision-makers. As a result, you need to give them the personalised VIP treatment that gradually greases the wheels towards a purchase decision.

But even though personalisation is the golden ticket, there’s a crack in the data factory… According to Convertr Media, 70% of CRM data is rendered useless because it’s duplicated, outdated or incomplete.

But why is that a problem?

Because your arms are tied when it comes to measuring your sales attribution and gaining the insights you need to target your audience with relevant content at the appropriate stage of the buyer’s journey.

The solution? Tools and systems to aggregate real-time data across channels and touchpoints. As we know, proper data processing is essential for your quest to turn opinions to insights and to deliver a smashing brand experience.

2. The Data-Driven Department Is on the Rise

Marketing technologies such as tracking scripts and CRM integrations enable the collection and aggregation of data, and a marketing tool such as automation turns the data into actionable magic.

But there's one thing that's perhaps more important than the technological gravitas: a stealthy team of professionals that keeps the lead machine spinning.

A marketing department needs a team that sets up a lead scoring system and establish what defines an marketing qualified lead (MQL), a sales qualified lead (SQL) and a product qualified lead (PQL). A team to ensure that sales and marketing work in symbiosis to optimise operations. And an agile team to ensure that the lead strategy and the marketing efforts are tweaked to maximise engagement and sales.

I’ve noticed that the status of the data-driven marketing department has risen. And as I (and many marketers) see it, it’s not an option – it’s a must to keep up with expectations. Because the truth is…

You can’t survive without insights derived from proper customer data.

Why does my colleague and close confidant believe that marketing operations should be the backbone of every marketing-driven department? Click right on this link and save the answer for later!

3. Hot Leads Stay Cool

As we’ve written in a previous post, lead scoring is a massive building block in the lead management equation. For the lengthy customer journey of a B2C business, you need to grease the wheels. A lot of times. Through different channels.

In order to target with relevance, avoid time-consuming cold calling and frivolous marketing activities, you need a process to qualify your leads.


However...

The educational nature of content and the normalised process of filling out forms dilutes the signs of purchase intent. Ask yourself:

Have you downloaded a whitepaper this month? Probably.
Did you intend to purchase the particular product or service from the vendor? Probably not.

The example highlights the behavioural changes that might put the customer journey and your lead management for a spin. Your lead scoring must involve a qualitative understanding – not merely a quantitative.

Albeit, a download can be a one-off download in the hunt for knowledge. But if a person has downloaded five handbooks and registered to your newsletter, the temperature of the lead might rise to the extent that the MQL qualifies as an SQL.

In the lead scoring equation, you need to keep in mind that a hot lead today might not constitute a hot lead in one month’s time.

As a result, it’s of utmost importance that you constantly evaluate and revise your lead scoring system and what activity scores a certain amount of points. Otherwise, you run the risk of regressing to cold calling.

4. Social Interaction is – and Will Always be – Trending

As the Internet of Things (IoT) started to become a thing, many marketers and organisations began to steer away from “old school” physical customer touchpoints. But the emergence of the new innovation created an overcompensation, and the importance of physical interaction started to fade away.

However...

As a Marketing Operations Manager, I’ve noticed that the pendulum has started to sway. Customers crave relevance, which is achieved through a strenuous, agile and data-driven strategy for lead nurturing. But they also crave face-to-face interactions and authenticity.

And the proof is in the pudding. During the last years, I’ve noticed that the strongest nudge to turn an MQL into an SQL is through face-to-face interactions, such as seminars.


But does this mean that blogs and whitepapers are useless in regard to the customer journey? Of course not! They serve a clear purpose for lead generation and lead nurturing processes, as a download doesn’t require a lot of effort, yet initiates and maintains a conversation through a nurturing flow.

Here’s the thing: even though the never-ending potential of technology is titillating, we, as marketers, need to realise that the journey is a symbiosis of touchpoints. And it's all governed by basic social needs and the desire for an omnichannel experience.

5. Don’t Just Nurture Leads – Nurture Customers, Too

Lead management has been an area devoted to converting an unknown person into a customer. But the number of disrupting factors that might detriment the figurative blood, sweat and tears you put in to converting a lead are plentiful.

The customer journey doesn’t end at purchase, and you need to nurture your customers, as well. Especially if you're in SaaS.

As a result, we’ve added another QL to our SQL and MQL family: The PQL (Product Qualified Lead). A PQL focuses on the customer’s behavior within your product and is used to create upsell opportunities. The PQL is both customer oriented and focuses on the needs in terms of the product and its utilisation

Now, PQL nurturing isn’t just a method to increase sales. The simple yet powerful lead categorisation teases with the notion of predictive analytics by foreseeing what the customer might need before they know it themselves. Thus, creating a sense of service-minded proactivity.

By tracking potential problems related to the utilisation of your product or service, you’re able me meet their needs with an appropriate solution. The linear journey has become a circle.

Want to make sure to tick all the six boxes? Tap off your knowledge with this handbook!

 

© APSIS International AB. All rights reserved.