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7 Reasons You Can’t Afford to Ignore Lead Nurturing By Sarah Goliger

As a marketer, your most important job is to generate leads for your business.  But what good are those leads if they’re not managed properly?  These 7 statistics show that if you’re not taking advantage of lead nurturing, you’re losing customers and revenue, and very quickly.

1. Only 25% of leads are legitimate and should go to sales.  50% are qualified but not ready to buy. (Source: Gleanster Research)

Nearly half of your leads will not be ready for a sales call immediately after their first conversion.  But that doesn’t mean you should just ignore these leads or throw them right out the window along with the bad leads.  A key component of a good lead management system is implementing lead nurturing, which allows you to develop relationships with your leads in a timely and effective way by setting up targeted email campaigns.  By following up with these leads and providing valuable content to further educate them about your industry, company, and product or service, you move them farther down your sales funnel until they are ready to become customers.

2. Lead nurturing emails get 4-10 times the response rate compared to standalone email blasts. (Source: SilverPop/DemandGen Report)

The true power of lead nurturing lies in its two most important features – timing and targeting.  You should plan the timing of your emails based on your typical sales cycle, and experiment with different times to see what resonates best with your audience.  Arguably more important, though, is the targeting of your emails.  You should place your leads into appropriate campaigns based on their previous actions on your website, and send them content that is relevant to that topic.  The more precisely and effectively your emails are timed and targeted, the higher your response rates will be.

3. 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first. (Source: InsideSales.com)

One of the many benefits of lead nurturing is that you can establish contact with your newly converted leads immediately.  This is crucial because response rates decline rapidly as the age of a lead increases.  By setting up your lead nurturing emails to run automatically, you no longer have to worry about forgetting to follow up with your leads right away, and you make the whole process much simpler and much more effective.

4. 66% of buyers indicate that “consistent and relevant communication provided by both sales and marketing organizations” is a key influence in choosing a solution provider. (Source: Genius.com/DemandGen Report)

Another important benefit of lead nurturing is that it allows you to maintain consistent communication with your leads.  Oftentimes, it takes more than one email to effectively bring your lead from being unqualified to ready for that sales call.  With lead nurturing, you set up your emails to send automatically at strategically determined times.  You can then collect data about the behavior of each lead and the actions they take with respect to each email they receive, and use this information to plan the next steps of your email strategy.  The idea is to not lose contact with your leads unless the likelihood that they can be nurtured to become qualified for sales is severely reduced.

5. Segmented emails get 50% more clicks. (Source: MarketingSherpa)

The importance of segmenting your leads into appropriate nurturing campaigns cannot be stressed enough.  Find segmentation opportunities based on the lead intelligence data you collect, such as their first conversion event (i.e. did they become a lead by downloading your ebook?  Signing up for your free trial?), what parts of your site they have visited, and so on.  Figure out what topics or aspects of your product they seem most interested in, and send them content that reflects that topic.  By closely mapping your content to your leads, you increase the likelihood that they will click through in your emails.

6. Nurtured leads have 9% higher average deal sizes and 23% shorter sales cycles. (Source: Market2Lead)

By adequately preparing your leads through nurturing campaigns, you are refining the list of leads you hand over to your sales team to include only those that are qualified, or sales-ready.  This makes the sale easier on both sides, since the lead is already educated on your company and product, and presumably ready to buy, which of course makes the sales pitch easier.  This reduces the sales cycle, thereby making your sales team and your entire funnel far more efficient.

7. Only 33% of B2B marketers say they have an effective lead nurturing process. (Source: Executive Benchmark Assessment Survey/DemandGen Report)

Most marketers aren’t nurturing their leads, and many of the ones that are aren’t doing it right.  Lead nurturing is an extremely powerful tool.  After all, with all that effort you put into generating leads for your business, why would you want to put half of them to waste?

Start building better relationships with your leads, stay ahead of the competition, and turn more of your leads into customers with effective lead nurturing.

Are you using lead nurturing?  What would you say is the most critical part of your lead management strategy?

Source: http://www.b2bbloggers.com/blog/7-reasons-you-cant-afford-to-ignore-lead-nurturing/

The Basis Of A Solid Marketing Plan

"If you fail to plan, you plan to fail" is an old saying in management circles and its advice is generally heeded by large businesses with formal structures that need a solid degree of planning throughout the organization. Successful SMEs (small to medium enterprises) also have some degree of planning in place, but where they often come unstuck is in developing their marketing plan as an afterthought. The marketing plan should be the key business driver from which all other efforts to grow the business flow, but often it is looked at as a "bolt on" instead of a crucial strategic document.

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Must Have Features for Your Internet Marketing Plan

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Just don’t target the home page, keywords and titles

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