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Nurturing Campaigns: Why Time is Money

What is a nurturing campaign?

In sales and marketing, a “nurture campaign” refers to a strategy that engages or “nurtures” a prospect over a longer period of time. The idea is that once a prospect connects with your brand in some way, you can check in with them and see how the buying (or research) process is going. 

A large majority of prospective buyers have not made up their mind when they initially turn to sources like search engines to look for a product or service. Their options to choose from are endless, and most need some time to make a decision. A nurture strategy gives the prospect time to get to know the brand a bit more as they take their time deciding on which option to buy.

The tone of a nurture campaign should be conversational, educational, and ultimately helpful. The prospect has already come into contact with your brand but hasn’t made a final decision yet. Therefore, your goal should be to give them more information, to help guide them through the buying process. This way, you are building rapport with the prospect and demonstrating your credibility and trustworthiness as a brand.

Why do Sales & Marketing teams need nurturing strategies?

There are so many reasons to use a nurture strategy to improve the relationship with each and every prospect that comes into contact with your brand.

Maximize revenue by focusing on the entire sales funnel

Not every prospect you speak to is going to be ready to make a decision immediately. In fact, 70% of prospective buyers need some time to make a decision once they start their search. There are budgets to assess, multiple decision-makers to communicate with, and schedules that need to be considered. Always remember that your sales funnel is very large, and consists of many different prospects in many different stages of the buying process. Some are just beginning their research, and some are close to making a decision. If you spend all your time and energy on only prospects that are close to making a final decision, you’re simply throwing away revenue! Enacting a nurture strategy makes sure that prospects in all stages of your funnel are being taken care of. Plus, you’ll see a higher R.O.I. with your marketing campaigns in the long term.

Understand the “shopper vs. buyer” divide

It would make sales reps’ lives much easier if every prospect they spoke to had true intent to buy immediately. But the fact is – most prospects that enter the sales funnel are going to be “shoppers.” In other words, they’re just browsing right now. However, the good news is that these “shoppers” are worth spending time nurturing. Just because someone doesn’t want to buy right away, doesn’t mean you should disqualify them as an opportunity.

One key B2B buying trend today is that the sales cycle is getting longer. This chart by Marketing Sherpa demonstrates that B2B purchases happen in line with a typical sales cycle. The sales cycle is around 3 months on average, and nearly 50% of prospects buy outside of the 3-month window. So from the time you first connect with a prospect, you should expect it to take you at least 3 months of engagement to get an answer. Don’t try to work around this fact – by becoming frustrated the prospect won’t “decide faster” or only focusing all your energy on prospects that want to buy immediately. Be strategic by reaching out to these prospects regularly and consistently for 3-6 months.

The result? Nurturing these buyers can ultimately result in a 47% larger purchase compared to non-nurtured leads. That’s huge!

Tap into the “unresponsive” marketplace

The truth is – the “buying online” trend is creating a culture of unresponsive buyers. Needing to speak to companies on the phone when a prospect is looking to buy is becoming less and less common. Sales teams now have to struggle to get prospects on the phone more than ever!

Nurture campaigns can ease this challenge. Consider that 67% of consumers feel that they need to engage with a brand 3-5 times before they can trust their claims. Consistency is key! If you come up with a strategy to interact with these unresponsive contacts over a longer period of time, they’re going to be more likely to engage with you seriously.

How to come up with a winning nurturing system

There are many different strategies when it comes to an effective nurture campaign. In terms of the messages, you can be creative and include information that’s pertinent to your company’s goals. Typically, in the B2B space, messages that are particularly helpful include buyer’s guides, industry trends and statistics, or any other information that will help the prospect reach a smart decision.

In terms of strategy, there is a lot of research that has gone into how to best engage with prospects under a nurture system. Here are some effective methods:

Improve your Contact Rates & Call Strategy

There are many studies conducted by sales and marketing experts about the importance of persistent follow-up calls. These days, it’s just not enough to call once and give up once the prospect doesn’t respond. In a Lead Response Management study, Inside Sales found that calling a prospect 6 times will give you a 93% chance of reaching the prospect. In fact, calling persistently can improve contact rates by up to 900%! However, out of the 18,000 teams they studied, Inside Sales also found that only 9% were calling prospects more than once. 

It’s a crucial business strategy to persistently engage with every prospect that comes your way. Once they tell you they need some time to make a decision, add their contact information to your nurture strategy and reach out to them at least 5 more times. That way, when they are ready to make a decision, you’ll be fresh in their memory. To read more about the importance of improving contact rates, take a look at our Speed to Lead Guide.

Another way you can improve your call strategy is to create and learn “frequently used” call scripts. Outline a pitch that can be used to address different types of common buyer pain points. That way, when you get them on the phone, you’ll know how to respond to their various hesitations and challenges.

Implement a Nurture Timeline

Coming up with a strategic outreach timeline is also vital to your nurture strategy. You want to space out your contact attempts logically, at times when the prospect is most likely to be responsive. Calling too many times too soon can be off-putting to your prospect. After all, the goal of the nurture campaign is to give the prospect more time to come to a decision and be helpful at the same time.

The first week of contact with your new prospect is crucial, and it’s best to reach out often. As soon as you receive their contact information, call within 5 minutes – the sooner the better! Whether you get their voicemail or get them to answer the phone, don’t immediately leave your pricing information. Remember, the purpose of a nurture campaign is the long play. If you reveal too much information right away, you’re not saving room for more opportunities to engage in the coming weeks. 

Ideally, call 6 times within the first three days, then once a day for the remainder of the first week. After a week, it’s okay to call or email 1-2 times per week. Make sure to come up with a regular ongoing process, where you can send them more information weekly, monthly, or quarterly in order to help them with their buying process.

Create email templates targeting different funnel stages

Remember that your sales funnel includes many different stages in the buying process. You’ll likely be connecting with prospects that have just become aware of your brand, prospects who have been interacting with you for months, and prospects who are close to buying. Of course, certain messages will be more effective than others, depending on their stage in the process.

Ideally, create several different email templates that speak to prospects in certain levels of the funnel. Then, build lists around these stages, decide on an outreach timeline, and automate the process using a CRM tool. Once you enter the nurture strategy into the CRM just once, you’ll automatically send personalized messages to prospects in your funnel on a timeline of your choice! It’s that simple.

Here are just a few ideas for email templates to nurture prospects in your funnel:

  • “Welcome” email

Once a new prospect enters your sales funnel, send them a message that introduces them to your brand. It can include a high-level overview of your company, letting you showcase your brand identity, personality, mission, and more.

  • Recycled content

Do you have a piece of content that’s performed exceptionally in the past? Reuse it to send to new prospects who haven’t yet seen it! Many marketing teams like to repurpose value content like videos, images, infographics, and more.

  • “Stay Connected”

You will have some prospects that aren’t ready to make a purchase decision right now, but still want to hear from you! They may “opt in” to your emails so they can get regular, valuable content from you. This way, you can further build rapport and boost your credibility with them. When they are ready to buy, they’ll remember you.

  • Value prop

When you have a list of prospects that have moved further down the funnel, they’re ready to hear that ultimate question – why you? This is where you can show that your business is stronger than your competition’s and make an argument for why you can add value for them.

  • Current client nurturing

Have clients that are already doing business with you? They may be sources of revenue, too! Send them over opportunities to buy more products/services, expand, or reap more benefits from your company. That way, you can expand their lifetime value.

Tips for getting started

Not sure how to get started with nurturing your prospects? We have some helpful tips that will help you start nurturing your prospects:

  • Don’t disqualify a prospect because they’re not ready to buy right now.
  • Communicate with them. Understand what the major hurdles are for your prospect to make a purchase. For instance – is it their budget? Time? Not ultimately their decision to make? Take notes, and build these challenges into your outreach strategy.
  • If there are major hurdles, get clear next steps on what needs to happen in order to help them overcome these hurdles.
  • Store their contact information and reach out to them weekly or bi-weekly using your nurture templates.
  • Check for patterns in your CRM to see if your nurturing strategy is strengthening your lead relationships!
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