Lead nurturing is a fancy way of saying - follow your leads on their journey of research, investigation and purchase while offering helpful tips and resources along the way.

Lead nurturing will empower you to build effective relationships with prospects throughout their buying and customer journey, not just when they are at the bottom of the funnel poised for conversion.

It's not enough to have a website and let it speak for itself.

Get Sales & Marketing Working Together

Leads are not always ready to buy, so using insights from your sales team will provide knowledge of what prospects are looking for.

It's time that sales and marketing start working together!

We've seen too many building materials companies (and others for that matter) waste energy on the power struggle between sales and marketing, when they should be focused on working together.

A lead nurturing strategy could be the olive branch.

Your sales team spends more face time with builders, contractors, dealers etc. They have valuable insights on what these customer segments need and want to hear. Since the leads gathered from your sales team and through your website are not always ready to buy, they need to be nurtured over time until they are ready to make a purchase. Using insights from your sales team will give you a valuable understanding of what prospects are looking for. Then you can focus your website and its content to serving these needs so you can nurture these leads over time.

Due to sophisticated digital technology, like marketing automation, lead nurturing can be personalized and adapted to a lead's place in their buying journey, and can respond, automatically, to a prospect's behaviors and interactions with your website in real-time!

The right lead nurturing strategy, combined with the right marketing automation tool and valuable customer insights will enable you to automate your communication with leads at the top or middle of your funnel. And proper lead nurturing is all about constantly engaging your prospects across multiple channels throughout the sales cycle - addressing the gap in time between when a lead first interacts with your website or sales team and when he is ready to make a purchase.

Understand the Landscape of Your Sales Process

If you haven't audited your sales process in the last 2-3 years, you're probably losing leads.

If you haven't audited your sales process in the last 2-3 years, you're probably losing leads.

With access to their own research (think Google searches from any device - anytime, anywhere) leads require a different approach since they are so educated on available products, product reviews, detailed pricing information, etc.

Take some time to interview your sales team to understand the processes, approaches and customer insights your team is currently working with.

  • Are your sales guys running into similar issues with moving a prospect into a sale?
  • Are they all hearing the same questions and concerns from their leads?

This is information you need to know.

Next, you'll want to consider how your website's performing from a technical and analytics perspective.

  • What technical obstacles to search engine optimization and visibility (things that impact how accessible your content is on the web) exist on your current site?
  • What opportunities for improvement and optimization currently exist for tracking and reporting leads and overall performance?
  • Is your website easy to use? Is your content targeted towards meeting the needs and wants of your prospects?

Learn the landscape your leads are navigating through so you can improve it to better suite what they need.

Know Your Customer's Buying Journey

Personal experience and data don't reveal the full story of frustrations your prospects are facing - a deep knowledge of your customer's buying journey does.

Your sales team might have a solid understanding of your sales process and the needs of your prospects. Your team may have customer data that supports your sales approach. But personal experience and data don't reveal the full story of frustrations and experiences your customers are facing.

A deep knowledge of your customer's journey does.

The best way to understand your customer's journey is to invest in the process of asking your customers about their journey and then mapping that journey out.

A customer journey map tells the story of the customer's experience: from initial contact, through the process of engagement and into a long-term relationship.

So often sales journeys are based on assumptions, past (and outdated) knowledge of customers and general opinion from key higher ups.

Creating a customer journey map allows you to identify key interactions that the customer has with your company. It talks about the user's feelings, motivations and questions for each of these interactions. It provides a sense of the customer's greater motivation for interacting with or coming into contact with your product.

If your company targets the builder or contractor, take the time to interview these customers and understand:

  • why they first came into contact with your brand
  • why they use your brand over another
  • why they use another brand over yours
  • what motivated their need for your product
  • what decisions did they base their purchase decision on
  • what challenges do they face in their projects (that in turn prevent them from using more of your product)

Maybe you'll find out that your builders are typically coming into contact with your brand for 2 primary reasons, and their biggest barriers to landing new jobs is differentiating themselves in a saturated market. If the builder is a primary sales channel for you, these insights will help you map out your builder's customer journey, and re-evaluate your marketing efforts to better support this key channel.

Exploring the customer journey allows you to map out this journey, and then lay it over top of your current sales process. It provides insights into what current sales, content and digital assets exist and how they are serving your customers during their journey. It reveals opportunities for lead nurturing, as well as gaps in your current nurture and marketing efforts.

In Conclusion

The culmination of your new partnership with sales, your audits, your research and customer insights will enable you to create a lead nurturing strategy specific to your customer's journey and sales process, all of which bridges the gap in time between a lead's first interaction with your website or sales team and when he is ready to make a purchase.