It’s very easy for sales and marketing teams to get caught up in the bottom line and assume that it is the proof of their efforts. But conversion and revenue rates will never grow if you are not nurturing your leads well enough. Lead nurturing is seldom about selling – it is about keeping your brand on top of your prospects’ minds so that when the time comes for them to make a purchase decision, it becomes a no-brainer.
In multiple studies involving businesses of all sizes, 3 out of 4 leaders concur that their top priority is increasing lead conversions. This beat out other prerogatives such as increasing online traffic, growing revenue, and reducing strategy costs.
So why are marketing teams struggling so much to meet their objectives? It certainly is not for lack of trying or even budgeting constraints. The real reason that sales and marketing efforts are often unsuccessful is that teams are not focused on the nurturing process – and primarily, on customer engagement.
- Engagement keeps your leads moving down the sales funnel by addressing concerns as they arise.
- Focus on engaging leads at all times through your content marketing strategy or personal meetings.
- Personalization of the experience is just as important as product quality for consumers.
Why Does Engagement Matter So Much?
Customers these days understand that they have virtually endless options when it comes to purchasing the products or services they need. Plus, most companies can provide the specific features that they want – and more. Everything is just a few clicks away.
This on-demand availability makes them highly motivated to buy from a brand they trust and enjoy. It also makes them highly intolerant of any delays or glitches in the process. A single negative interaction will drive away about 32% of all customers. You know what they say about second chances, eh?
This creates an incredible challenge for sales and marketing teams. They need to stay on top of each customer relationship and ensure a consistent and positive experience across all touchpoints. But managing this level of engagement is incredibly difficult, especially on a large scale.
Another problem is that teams have a different view of engagement.
- Is it likes, follows, shares, or comments on social media?
- Is it about customer service or providing help?
- Is it moving customers through the sales journey by keeping them interested?
- Is it finding ways to satisfy their needs, wants, or concerns?
The answer is that all of these things are part of customer engagement, and they are critical for lead generation as well as conversion. You need to not only create these experiences but also monitor your customers’ reactions to them. Easier said than done.
Customer Expectations Are Changing
Customers expect a lot more out of businesses these days, especially when it comes to engagement strategies. Brands that people interact with every day – such as Amazon and Netflix – have set the standards quite high, and the implied expectations flow to other businesses, including B2B. After all, there is a person behind the decision, even if it’s a corporate purchase.
Consumers also know that businesses have access to more data about them than ever before. In their minds, it is only fair that they receive on-demand information, extra facilities, and highly personalized interactions in exchange.
No surprise then that 80% of consumers feel that the overall experience is just as important as the quality of the products, according to Salesforce data on brand loyalty. Customers aren’t necessarily asking for much: they simply want businesses to understand their needs and empathize with them. But businesses aren’t often able to match these high expectations.
Customers also want highly personalized experiences that are catered to their needs, interests, and more. This includes content mapped to their position in the customer journey, custom product suggestions, customized deals, and even targeted ads. A report from Monetate found that businesses that provide personalized experiences online have nearly double the conversion rates with each successive interaction.
Automate Your Engagement and Nurturing Process
Any kind of engagement that is part of the lead nurturing process has two goals:
- Educate and inform your target, whom you’ve segmented or narrowed down to the individual.
- Set the stage for a sale initiated by the target whenever the need arises.
To achieve these goals and optimize the engagement whenever it happens, you need to implement these best practices:
- Nurture your leads with targeted content based on the data you have about them. Speak to their interests, goals, and pain points.
- Maximize the number of touches. More engagement means more opportunities and increased mindshare. Engage leads on multiple channels using content formats appropriate for each channel.
- Qualify your leads and score them after every engagement. Route them to the appropriate sales rep based on predefined engagement criteria.
Lead nurturing is an ongoing process that constantly needs you to handhold your leads as they navigate the customer journey, with perfect sales-marketing alignment and timely but non-interruptive outreach.
However, this leaves disparate marketing and sales teams at multi-location businesses with a seemingly impossible challenge. How are they supposed to engage hundreds or even thousands of leads and provide them a consistent, positive experience across multiple online and offline touchpoints?
Technology is the only solution when it comes to providing customers with the experience they expect and demand. It is impossible for marketers to ever manage all of their leads manually. But your marketing automation strategy should specify how to track leads, monitor their behavior, provide customized experiences, and nurture them until and after the sale.
An effective marketing automation platform allows sales and marketing teams to create workflows throughout the customer journey and tweak them to individual needs. It starts with lead generation, with automated outreach programs which utilize multiple touchpoints, including email, chatbots, messaging apps (such as WhatsApp), SMS, and social media.
These leads can then be nurtured through the centralized marketing automation platform, which can help maintain consistent brand messaging, on-demand availability of help, and instant resolution of concerns every time.
Engagement Matters After the Sale Too
It’s important to remember that engagement doesn’t and shouldn’t stop after the conversion. Keeping your customers engaged after their initial purchase is critical to boosting your retention rates. And higher retention rates are directly linked to higher profits – which can grow by up to 95% with just a 5% boost in repeat customers.
It is also far easier to keep a customer engaged with your brand after their first purchase than to nurture a new lead. Therefore, your sales and marketing teams need to work together to engage leads and customers before, during, and after conversions.
Again, an automated marketing program is the solution here – it ensures that every customer has customized experiences whether they’re engaging online with your centralized marketing team or at a physical location or brand outlet with an individual sales rep.
Revamp Your Approach to Lead Engagement
Old-fashioned, sales-pitch-driven conversations don’t resonate with today’s super-aware consumers. You need to give them personalized experiences and put in consistent efforts to keep them engaged and interested in your brand or product.
MXTR is designed to support effective lead generation, nurturing, and conversion-focused engagement strategies for businesses of all sizes. This automation tool helps you track and optimize lead interactions across your locations or dealership networks from one place. Plus, it can be integrated with leading marketing tools for a truly powerful lead nurturing strategy that delivers results.
Want to target your audience with personalized messages or offers? Want to make sure that leads don’t fall through the cracks in your funnel? Better yet, want to patch up the cracks for good? Schedule a demo of MXTR today to see how our lead engagement program can work for your business.
Featured image: Pexels