Nurturing your leads is a huge part of successful B2B marketing. Getting leads is hard enough, and once you do finally have some prospects, the last thing you want is for them to fall off your radar. And since following up is the number one struggle sales reps experience, it’s essential to put the right tools in place to prevent leads from falling through the cracks.
However, it’s equally important that you tailor your follow up approach. I think we can all agree that not all leads are created equal, which is why you wouldn’t want to blast the same message to everyone who lands in your funnel.
The best approach is to create email marketing workflows that take into account your lead’s unique attributes and meet them wherever they are in your funnel.
Let’s look at some steps you can take to develop your B2B email marketing workflows and boost your chances of conversions:
Prioritize Lead Scoring
Lead scoring is the process of assigning each lead a score based on the actions they’ve taken with your website, lead magnet, emails, and other media. The higher the score, the more likely they are to convert.
More than 68% of marketers say that lead scoring is a top revenue contributor. Lead scoring allows you to see at a glance where your best opportunities lie so you can strike while the iron’s hot and close the deal.
Lead scoring works by tracking a prospect’s behavior and measuring their engagement. For example, you might notice a marketing lead opens almost all of your emails, while another lead has never engaged with an email. The “high engager” will have a higher lead score, which indicates they’re a better opportunity than the one who’s never taken action.
Looking at lead scoring from a sales perspective, a lead that signs up for an email newsletter will have a lower score than one who looks at a pricing page. By knowing how far down your funnel a lead is, you can tailor your communication to them to maximize every message’s impact.
Lead scoring can be automated with the right tools, such as VanillaSoft or Infer. In addition, your lead scoring tools can also help you be more proactive in your outreach. Use these tools to build all of your email marketing workflows and let predictive analytics do all the heavy lifting for you. For more information about marketing automation tools, check out my blog post on the topic.
Know the Difference Between MQL vs SQL vs SAL
Leads can be dropped into three different buckets: Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs), and Sales Accepted Leads (SALs). Let’s look at each one:
Marketing qualified leads are leads that end up in your funnel through marketing efforts, such as landing pages, ads, social media, and more. They’re more likely to buy than a lead who happened to find you outside of your marketing because something you did made them raise their hand.
However, these leads haven’t shown any sign of readiness to buy, which is why they’re marketing qualified. These leads still need to be nurtured by your marketing in order to move forward.
Sales accepted leads are on the bridge between sales and marketing. This is essentially a handoff, where marketing tells sales that this person is ready to speak with a salesperson. At this point, it’s up to the salesperson to dig deeper and try to close the lead.
Sales qualified leads are leads that have been accepted by the sales rep and verified that the lead is ready for sales nurturing. These are leads that have shown definite interest in what you’re offering and will be the most likely to buy.
So, when do MQLs become SQLs?
When your marketing has done its job, leads become ready for sales. However, Marketo notes that 61% of B2B marketers send all their leads to sales, even though only about 27% are actually sales-qualified. Here are a few signs to look for that will indicate a lead is ready to be accepted by sales:
- You’ve defined what an ideal lead looks like
- The lead has reached your lead scoring threshold
- They’re from a referral source with a historically high closing rate
- They’re engaging with your content, particularly awareness-stage content
These aren’t guaranteed signs, but they should help you better identify when you’re ready to hand leads over to sales or whether you need to keep nurturing them.
Separate Your Conversions and No Conversions
We’ve talked about various lead groups and scores, but you’ll want to take your email workflows another level deeper by segmenting leads by actions.
Let’s say you’re running a webinar and you want to promote it to all of your MQLs. Your email workflow might start with the same email for everyone. But what happens when you have some people sign up for that webinar and others don’t? At this point, your email workflow might take two separate paths: one email for everyone who signed up and one email for everyone who didn’t.
When the webinar is over, your email workflow might split again: all of the attendees who took additional action might receive one email, while attendees who didn’t take action will receive another. And those that didn’t attend will receive a different email entirely.
Separating email workflows by action (or inaction) helps you keep your messaging relevant and timely. It’s personalized for each person and gives them the information and options they need at that exact moment to make an informed decision.
Each of the above tips share a common anchor point: personalization. You’re not creating one email workflow to send out to all of your leads, but rather segmenting leads into buckets so that they receive the most relevant messages at appropriate times.
This is a level of personalization that goes above and beyond adding their name to the subject line. When you can meet your leads where they are in the buying journey, you’re able to build valuable, authentic connections that can be the start of a fruitful relationship — for both of you. For more information about how to amp up your email marketing strategies, read my post here.