As humans, we're hardwired to demand storytelling. Traditional stories involve relatable characters achieving some degree of success or closure. We enjoy these stories because we can empathize with the plight of each main character and want them to be successful.
As professionals, we also want to succeed. This is why when researching solutions to our problems we demand case studies and testimonials that show and tell how organizations similar to ours have achieved success.
So it's no surprise that case studies (also known as customer success stories) are extremely effective at converting prospects into customers and one of the most powerful lead nurturing tools.
The value of lead nurturing is undeniable, but lead nurturing is much more than the creation and distribution of case studies. It's an important strategic process that closes a sale. Telling a compelling story about how your brand can help prospects and leads succeed is a big part of it, and keeping lead nurturing tactics top-of-mind when developing your overarching customer experience strategy is a must.
The Basics of Lead Nurturing Explained
You're probably familiar with the concept of lead generation, or, broadly, the identification and capture of new prospects that may become ideal customers in the future.
Lead nurturing is the next critical stage in a buyer's journey: It takes potential buyers who have expressed interest in some way—and, in effect, have provided you their contact information—and gradually pushes them to the sale.
In other words, lead nurturing advances a prospect's relationship with your organization from "someone seeking information" to "someone who sees your organization as the solution-provider they need." This is why lead nurturing is all about developing trust, authority and expertise—and why case studies are one tool that fits the bill (other effective lead nurturing tools include newsletters and other informational emails).
But regardless of tool or tactic, the end goal of each lead nurturing effort is the same:
- Increase the chance that highly qualified leads become customers
- Shorten their buyer's journeys to quicken the sale
- Create a positive digital marketing customer experience
This is why, throughout the lead nurturing process, your sales and marketing teams should be serving up content that tells a captivating story and helps prospects see your organization as the industry leader that can best resolve their pain points.
To do this, you should only create content that relates to the primary goals and objectives of your ideal buyer personas. Content should also be industry-relevant and distributed via channels where your buyer personas consume information in the format they want—determining this requires research and often the help of inbound marketing experts.
The Main Benefits of Lead Nurturing
The complexity and scope of your lead nurturing strategy will depend on your industry and your ideal buyer personas, and creating a successful strategy will take time and need to be continually refined based on what efforts are generating results.
But lead nurturing is worth the effort, and here are two reasons why.
You'll Improve the Quality of Your Leads and Spend Less Getting Them
There are a lot of impressive stats out there celebrating the effectiveness of lead nurturing, but one that drives the point home is that 79% of marketing leads never convert to sales due to a lack of lead nurturing efforts.
To put it another way: Nearly eight out of every 10 prospects aren't converting because companies haven't done the following prior to going in for the sale:
- Built enough trust
- Created personalized lead nurturing experiences and customer experience strategies
- Clearly explained the value of relevant products or service offerings
- Effectively told the organization's brand story
Related, 65% of B2B marketers don't use lead nurturing, which could help explain the overwhelming number of leads that never convert.
With lead nurturing, you're helping customers understand the relevance of your solutions and specifically how they relate to your prospects' businesses. At the same time, you're creating buyers journeys that allow them to opt out naturally and help you determine if a lead is worth pursuing at all. For example, a prospect may be nearing the sale, but it isn't until they try out your free demo that they determine the fit just isn't right. Or, based on the information a lead has provided via website form or by subscribing to your email newsletter, you may find that the lead's budget or company size doesn't make them an ideal prospect. In this instance, you'll likely decide not to pursue them.
Because well-crafted lead nurturing strategies thoroughly vet leads, the leads that get to your sales team will only be of the highest quality and closely match your ideal buyer personas. And because the lead nurturing process can be automated using customer relationship management (CRM) software and other tools, getting these high-quality leads comes at a much lower cost. In fact, Forrester Research found that companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost.
You'll Increase Your Average Order Value
Taking the time upfront to create a lead nurturing strategy that offers up the content your buyer personas want when they want it will produce leads that want to spend more.
This is because, throughout a well-thought-out lead nurturing process, prospects will realize exactly how your offerings can provide a return on their investment and help them overcome challenges.
This translates into leads wanting to spend more. According to research from Annuitas, leads that are nurtured generate a 47% higher average order value (AOV) compared to leads that aren't nurtured.
Lead Nurturing Offers Even More Benefits
From helping create loyal customers to further establishing industry authority, there are many other benefits proper lead nurturing can bring to your organization—especially when it's woven into a broader sales, marketing and customer experience strategies that leverage a suite of digital marketing solutions.
If you want to learn more about the value of lead nurturing, reach out today.