In our previous blog post of this series, we examined the methodology, tactics, and tools for attracting and converting visitors into qualified leads. Now that you’ve created great content for your well-researched personas and convinced them to complete a form to download your high-value content offer, what’s next? If a salesperson calls them pre-maturely, with nearly 50% of consumers not yet ready to purchase, you risk creating a negative experience for your potential customer, or worse, losing the deal. This week we explore the last two phases of the inbound marketing framework that will help you win more deals by nurturing leads and converting delighted customers into brand advocates.
Phase 3: Close
Tools: Email, Workflows, Lead Scoring, CRM Integration
Now that you have generated a list of new contacts through your lead generation efforts, how do you determine which of those leads are ready to advance to the next level of your funnel and engage with sales? With lead scoring! By the time most potential customers today talk to a sales representative they have made 57-70% of their purchase decision, and the majority will not want to be contacted during their research phase before they are ready. Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. Lead scoring allows you to keep track of the current stage of your leads, and personalize the sales experience accordingly. For example, consider a lead who downloaded an eBook and attended webinars that are associated with a re-occurring pain point that your company solves. You can use this information and center their nurture program on these previous actions by sending follow-up emails based on their implicit behavioral interests. Over time, the educational emails gently transition into product and sales emails at the lead’s preferred cadence, resulting in higher conversions and shorter sales cycles.
Lead scoring: Assign points to specific converting actions that indicate high interest and readiness for engagement. For example, visiting your content library = 4 points, downloading a whitepaper = 8 points, attending a webinar = 12 points. The higher the overall lead score, the more you know a potential customer is ready to be engaged with. You can prioritize your sales team’s time and resources to pursue higher qualified leads.
Mambo recommends: For lead scoring to be effective, sales and marketing teams must align when assigning points to actions. Identify both implicit behavior and explicit demographic attributes to create a balanced score, and refine and review overtime as your marketing automation system can help to identify how the various touch points influence revenue attribution.
Phase 4: Delight
Tools: Social Media, Smart Calls-to-Action
The buyer’s journey doesn’t stop when the deal is closed. Customer retention is just as important as customer acquisition. By providing your current customers with high quality and valuable educational content for free, they will want to stay a customer, expand their services, and be more likely to recommend you. The goal is to create brand advocates: people who will happily recommend your company or service and go out of their way to speak on your behalf because of the positive experience you created. In “What’s the Future of Business”, Brian Solis reimagined the Sales Funnel as what he coined as, the “Influence Loop”, where customers continually repeat their experience with your company and reaffirm their trust with each revolution of the loop. “Research already shows that connected customers move into a state of neutrality, which can tilt toward negative or positive”, Solis writes. It is imperative that we do not become complacent when the deal closes. Provide the same level of passion and commitment for client success that earned their trust to begin with, again and again and again….
Mambo recommends: Treat customer retention as one of your primary strategic goals. Consider a segmented email list specific to the delight phase for your customers. Attempt to have a delight CTA on every page of your website and develop a content strategy on your social channels that considers this target audience. If you do not have a marketing automation tool, you can still use your standard email tool to reach out to customers and send them complimentary white papers or offer to give them a loyalty discount if they expand their services.
Inbound marketing offers a method for engagement for the customer at every point during their journey. Over time, an automated system can provide valuable insight into where your marketing efforts can be the most successful.
If you think inbound marketing and marketing automation would benefit your business, schedule a free consultation with us today.