Lead Nurturing: Are you Following the 3 x 3 x 3 Rule?

November 10, 2017 Mark Emond

lead nurturing

Building an effective lead nurture strategy: the 3 x 3 x 3 rule.

As we first wrote in this space two years ago, we are seeing a lot of our clients getting more sophisticated with lead nurturing. Most of our clients have shifted away from a primary focus on batch and blast outbound emails and have started filling the top of the funnel through inbound engagement and driving conversion with lead nurturing. It’s a major milestone in the journey to transform into a Revenue Marketing organization.

We are still seeing organizations lag in an area that we are big believers in – multi-channel nurturing. Marketers who are effectively nurturing with web personalization, and social media and paid media connectors are still a pretty rare occurance.

The 3 x 3 x 3 rule is a simple but effective framework we use to help clients consider how to expand their lead nurturing efforts.

The first 3: Who to target with lead nurturing?

There are three key questions to ask yourself to determine which target audience(s) to start nurturing. This could be for personas, industries, geographies, or other ways that you segment your audience.

1. The money trail – where will we get the best pipeline and revenue lift? This one should be pretty easy to answer. The great part about this question is that it should involve a conversation with your sales peers. Ensure that you are aligned with them on your target(s).

2. Data – so we think that the CFO in Financial Services companies is where we should get the most lift. But how many CFOs in Financial Services companies do we have in our database? How many are entering the top of the funnel? Is there enough critical mass to warrant putting our nurturing efforts into this audience?

3. Content – okay, we have enough CFOs in Financial Services in the database and entering the top of the funnel. Two check-marks – good! But do we have enough relevant content to actually nurture them? Content is the oxygen in a lead nurture program. If you don’t have enough, can you buy it, build it, or curate it fast? Or should you decide on another audience that you can support right away and the potential lift is still acceptable?

The second 3: Which type of lead nurturing program should we run?

The second part of the equation is which type of nurture program will give us the most lift?

1. Lead Nurturing – this is your classic nurture program, and it’s where most organizations start. It involves nurturing early stage leads through to a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) stage or beyond. Nurtured leads produce a ten to 20 percent lift in sales opportunities.

2. Recycle nurturing – less than ten percent of B2B marketing leads are sales-ready today, yet as much as 80 percent buy within two years. If you aren’t continuing to nurture them during these two years, which one of your competitors is?

3. Customer nurturing – I think of this as the forgotten nurture stream. On the whole, most of us marketers are focused on customer acquisition. There is gold to be mined from driving education, cross-sell, and up-sell nurture communication to existing customers. The key – relevance. Don’t waste your time if you are going to send undifferentiated communication across your customer base.

The final 3: which channel should we use?

The right answer is all three of the following. You want to be driving targeted, relevant nurture messages to your prospects and customers in all their digital touchpoints.

1. Email – this is the obvious channel that most marketers are using today. They are driving lead nurturing efforts out to early stage prospects using the email capabilities in Marketo or other marketing automation platforms.

2. Your website – your website should be used to deliver targeted messages to distinct personas, tied to their buyer journey stage. But how? By using the real-time personalization capabilities found in a solution like Evergage or Marketo RTP. These technologies read the known lead information (such as lead score and opportunity stage) in your marketing automation platform to serve up content tuned to who they are and what buying stage they are in.

3. Paid media – similar to #2, the integration of AdTech applications such as AdRoll and marketing automation enables you to deliver targeted nurture messages across the web in display ads as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

So there you have it. A simple 3 x 3 x 3 guide to consider as you look to expand your nurture efforts in 2018.

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