Most businesses nowadays have got a dedicated marketing department who is responsible for lead generation campaigns and delivering them to sales, also called as Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). In this article we will be discussing why it is becoming more and more expensive for businesses to generate SQLs and how this challenge can be addressed by the management.
The mix and distribution of prospects varies per country and your business nature; however, most of the organisations can agree on the following funnel: visits - leads - MQL - SQL - opportunity - customer.
This is a brief overview of a prospect as seen by most online marketing departments and companies such as Google, Marketo and HubSpot; even though there are many new circular views on the customer journey focusing on a much broader range of customer touch points.
The most valued SQL by sales is the trial, especially for Financial and Tech companies. Prospects can sign up for a free 30-day trial, which shows the highest level of engagement for people trying your product. The trials can be generated via lead generation campaigns or Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) within marketing automation workflows. The second shows on average 2x the conversion than seen from other campaigns, as these prospects have already had several engagements with the value content that the company has served (e.g. articles, videos, social media, etc). These guys already have a clear buying signal for Sales where the team also has got plenty of information to start the conversation with the prospect via direct notifications in their software dashboard.
WHAT HAS CHANGED?
Generating SQLs becomes harder and more expensive mostly because of the shifts in the buying behavior of prospects. In todays marketplace, prospects are more aware of their behavior and are less keen on sharing their contact details. This comes from multiple reasons such as privacy concerns, or expectations of sales follow up from the company, leading to the rise in wrong data submissions. You have to offer something really valuable in order to reduce the risk of receiving wrong data, something in addition to a simple free trial.
HOW CAN WE ADDRESS THIS?
1 - Based on website visit behavior and the activities that prospects are engaged with on your website, marketing automation is now able to deliver this information directly to sales as an SQL. You can see everything from the interaction of the referred channel, to the pages viewed, enrolled workflow and emails delivered, all in 1 go.
2 - Offer a gateway content such as an eBook, a checklist, a free video course or a webinar. Try to eliminate the number of fields down to at least 3. You can ask more information from the prospect later in the pipeline.
3 - Get prospects to opt in with at least one of the provided contact details, either an email address or a phone number. This will give your sales team a chance to reach out to the prospect and will eliminate the contacts who are not serious in moving forward with your company.
4 - Implement lead scoring and set up automated workflows to lower the cost per lead. This will enable high quality leads to pass by most of the sales calls and increase the chance of early conversion empowered directly through digital marketing.
TO SUM UP
Make sure to have a clear alignment between your marketing and sales team on the funnel, segmentation, automated workflows and optimisation. These are the core features to reaching success with the ever-changing buyer behaviour. Here are some of the benchmark statistics to keep in mind:
Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost. (Source: Forrester Research)
Companies that automate lead management see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months. (Source: Gartner Research)
Personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14%, and conversion rates by 10%. (Source: Aberdeen Group)
Lead nurturing emails get 4-10 times the response rate compared to standalone email blasts. (Source: SilverPop/DemandGen Report)
Lead nurturing emails generate an 8% CTR compared to general email sends, which generate just a 3% CTR. (Source: HubSpot)
Lead nurturing emails have a slightly higher unsubscribe rate (1%) than individual email sends (0.5%), indicating their effectiveness in removing unqualified leads from the sales funnel. (Source: HubSpot)
Nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads. (Source: DemandGen Report)
Share your thoughts and experience with lead nurturing at your company with us in the comments section below!
You can also schedule a free consultation with our Marketing Associate to discuss your lead management solution.