September 30, 2013

Marketing Research Chart: The ROI of lead nurturing

SUMMARY: "Webinars and white papers sent to our nurture lists draw prospects' interest, and open the door for our Sales reps." -Marketer insight on most effective lead generation tactics

You probably know you should have a robust lead nurturing track for prospects below a certain lead score. You also know you should floss every day and eat organic vegetables instead of processed foods. The question is: do you?

To encourage you to invest your time and budget in lead nurturing, we'll look at the ROI difference between organizations engaging in this tactic, and those that don't.
by Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content

Lead Gen Summit 2013 is in full swing right now, and the MarketingSherpa team is in San Francisco interviewing brand-side marketers about their most effective lead generation tactics.

One of the main topics of Lead Gen Summit is lead nurturing, and tomorrow, I will be interviewing Keith (KC) Lincoln, VP marketing, SmartBear Software, about how his team used marketing automation as part of its lead nurturing efforts.

On a recent MarketingSherpa webinar leading up to the Summit, KC urged the audience to "be the help department, not the marketing department."
Lead nurturing is one way to help your customers. And, after reviewing results from the MarketingSherpa 2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Report, it is a way to help your company's bottom line as well.

Q: Do you have lead nurturing campaigns in place?

View Chart Online

Click here to see a printable version of this chart

As you can see, marketing departments with a lead nurturing campaign reported a 45% higher ROI than marketing departments that did not utilize a lead nurturing track.

Not to get too deep, but any conversation about lead nurturing, and its impact, brings up the essential question: What is truly a lead? And, what is the purpose of a lead?

Lead nurturing is so effective in the complex sales process because the purchase decision is, well, complex.

Content can be strategically used in a lead nurturing track to help prospects through the personal and organizational decision-making process, from initial interest in the solution to purchasing. Once they have reached this stage, Sales is ready to help with the unique challenges a prospect may face that cannot be answered with content, and, of course, terms and conditions of any deal.

As KC said, the ultimate goal of this nurturing content is to help customers understand when your solution is a good fit for them, and when it is not, so you are fulfilling the ultimate purpose of a lead, which is to give Sales an opportunity to serve a customer that is a good fit for your product.

I'll leave the final word on lead nurturing to this senior marketing executive, quoted in the Benchmark Report answering a question about the most effective strategies for increasing lead gen ROI.
  • Smart segmentation — Companies with positive income and revenue growth where the decision maker is relatively new to the organization.

  • Smart messaging — razor-sharp messages with focus on one solution.

  • Nurturing with multiple mails, calls and webinars to build the mind share before asking for a sales call [with a] trusted adviser.

  • Do not pretend to be what you are not; be candid with what you have done, what you can do, and what is "a stretch."

Related Resources

Lead Nurturing: 5 tips for creating relevant content

Email Marketing: The importance of lead nurturing in the complex B2B sale

Marketing Research Chart: Messaging tactics for effective lead nurturing

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