As publishers develop more sophisticated lead strategies, they’re shifting from lead generation—capturing basic contact and demographic information about potential customers—to lead nurturing, which is more about developing consistent communication with a prospect to help prepare them for an actual purchase.
Business marketing blog Marketo.com offers suggestions for lead nurturing practices including triggered e-mails—a series of e-mails that build off each other by offering relevant content or product demonstrations to move the lead toward a purchase; newsletters and blogs that include third-party content and rich audience commentary; Webinars featuring a third-party expert or analyst; follow-up calls and custom landing pages that emphasize the call to action without external navigation.
Case Study: GlobalSpec
Launched in 1996 as a vertical search engine, GlobalSpec has evolved into a multi-format, multi-product model that includes databases and more than 60 e-mail newsletters with more than 2 million subscribers. The company develops deep reader profiles that it can match to clickstream behaviors. The typical GlobalSpec customer spends between $10,000 and upwards of $1 million on products and services.
“We define lead nurturing as any action taken post-lead generation designed to further qualify and engage the initial inquiry, including phone, e-mail or direct mail follow up,” says Chris Chariton, vice president of marketing services and product management. “Lead nurturing helps companies build and maintain successful relationships with long-term prospects.”
GlobalSpec clients receive detailed lead information—including prospect name, contact information, industry and job function and other relevant details (such as product viewed)—that they can easily download into their CRM systems for lead nurturing. “This information assists clients with their lead nurturing efforts, as the nature of a prospect’s inquiry provides insight on the best way to respond,” says Chariton.
For example, when a manufacturer receives an RFQ from a GlobalSpec visitor, it is evident that the prospect is qualified and motivated—they know what they want and are ready to buy. The manufacturer knows to respond to this prospect with a quote from a specific salesperson assigned to the lead.
Another example is when a GlobalSpec user views a manufacturer’s specifications, images or product data. This person is likely at a different stage in the buying cycle, and would benefit most from information including relevant white paper offers, articles and other content. Since the manufacturer knows the product the person looked at, they can respond with targeted information relevant to that specific product.
GlobalSpec also offers clients guidance on lead nurturing via white papers and support with a Customer Care team.
“Instead of immediately handing leads to sales, marketing should make it a practice to nurture the leads, setting up a program of activities that provide information on topics of interest to your target and that focus on the value of your solution,” says Chariton. “Sending and tracking the response of successive lead nurturing activities also lets the lead self-qualify. You can assume that the more information requested, the stronger the lead.”