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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Lead Nurturing: A Multi-Touch Journey
Webinar – april 4, 2013 speakers Ruth P. Stevens, Adjunct Professor, Columbia Business School; Author, Maximizing Lead Generation: The Complete Guide for B2B Marketers Erik Matlick, CEO Madison Logic moderator Lana McGilvray, Principal, Blast PR

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Created for Madison Logic by BullsEye Resources, www.bullseyeresources.com.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Lead Nurturing: A Multi-Touch Journey
Ruth P. Stevens, Adjunct Professor, Columbia Business School; Author, Maximizing Lead Generation: The Complete Guide for B2B Marketers Erik Matlick, CEO Madison Logic Lana McGilvray (Moderator), Principal, Blast PR

Overview
With the right execution, an effective B2B lead nurturing program begins as soon as a prospect becomes a lead and continues until a relationship has been built, the lead is qualified and forwarded to a sales person for follow up, which can take months. However, nurturing has proven to be extremely worthwhile, as half of all buyers’ inquiries eventually result in a purchase. The keys to an effective, efficient lead nurturing program are: • Begin nurturing immediately after interest is expressed • Offer content appropriate for every stage of a prospect’s buying journey • Use marketing automation technology to personalize interactions and track responses • Leverage multiple communication channels for a multi-touch program In the world of B2B marketing, the purpose of lead nurturing is to convert prospects into qualified leads and ultimately into customers—in an efficient, cost-effective, scalable way.

Context: Webinar
Professor Ruth P. Stevens defined lead nurturing in todays world, described its importance and shared best practices for maximizing lead-nurturing effectiveness. Erik Matlick outlined the B2B customer journey and described the role lead nurturing and marketing automation can play in improving marketing effectiveness by providing Madison Logic research helping to clarify the timing of the discovery phase.

Key Takeaways
The B2B customer journey can be long and complicated.
In the consumer world, there is just one decision maker and the sales cycle is often very short and simple. The B2B sales journey is very different—and much more complex. It typically begins with a discovery and research process, where information is gathered and reviewed. It then proceeds to a decision process, which can be lengthy and complicated, and can involve bids, RFPs, and multiple influencers. This journey can last six, twelve or even eighteen months or more.

Once leads are generated, it is essential to “nurture” them until they are ready for a sales.
Marketers engage in various lead-generating activities to identify prospective customers. However, all marketers (and sales people) know that merely generating a lead is just the first step in having a qualified lead. The job of a marketer is not just to generate a large quantity of leads, but to furnish sales people with high-quality, qualified leads to ensure the most productive use of sales’ time. As a result of the long-tail nature of the B2B buying process, many of the leads that are generated are early in their discovery and research process, and are neither qualified nor ready to be passed off to a sales person. While many of these prospects may not yet be ready to buy today, many will buy eventually. This is where lead nurturing comes in.
© Madison Logic | (646) 937-5800 | www.madisonlogic.com
Created for Madison Logic by BullsEye Resources, www.bullseyeresources.com.

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Lead Nurturing: A Multi-Touch Approach

Professor Stevens defines lead nurturing as “A series of communications to build awareness and trust and maintain contact until the prospect is ready to see a sales person,” and she outlined a strong business case for lead nurturing: • 45% of all business inquiries result in a sale—eventually. Building a relationship through lead nurturing reduces the odds of that sale going to competitors.1 • 80% of sales teams do not call unqualified leads. So, through lead nurturing, sales is furnished only with qualified leads who are ready to see a sales person.2 • Best-in-class marketers are twice as likely to have a nurturing program as their average peers. They experience better campaign response rates, lead qualification rates and average order sizes.3 • Nurtured leads place 47% larger orders on average than non-nurtured leads.4

Effective lead nurturing provides the information that prospects need, when they need it most.
Today’s buyers conduct online research for solutions independently, only engaging with sales people towards the end of their informationgathering process. By providing relevant educational materials, marketers have an opportunity to help potential buyers in their research and begin building a relationship with prospects earlier than ever before. Ultimate success requires sustaining the relationship. To hold prolonged interest, communications need to be in sync with various points along the buyer’s journey. Some lead nurturing best practices include: • Personalize. Lead qualification forms need to ask the right questions to yield specific interest- and need-related data. Marketers can then leverage that data by providing links to customized landing pages that speak directly to the buyers’ precise needs and interests.

“Nurturing is not selling, or blasting, or chest-thumping. Keep the communications non-salesy.”
–Ruth P. Stevens

• Deliver real value. Communications should be educational, relevant and unique, with a high perceived value. Delivering appropriate communications requires marketers to develop a content strategy that maps the type of content (white papers, infographics, webinars, etc.) to the stage where prospects are in their buying journey. Early in the information-gathering, buyers seek out general, educational information. Later in the process, marketing materials can (and should) be more persuasive and convey to prospects what is unique about your company and why they should buy from you. • Track responses. All user actions (e-mail opens, clicks, page visits and time spent, downloads, etc.) need to be tracked. This response data can be used to ensure that subsequent messages are relevant, targeted and refined over time.

Marketing automation is now essential to lead management.
Another key factor to successful lead nurturing is personalization: delivering the right content to a prospect at the right time and tracking responses. These practices cannot be implemented at scale without proper automation. Using marketing automation technology improves a marketer’s lead-nurturing effectiveness and boosts returns. Results of a survey among senior-level marketers indicate that the utilization of marketing automation correlates with a more robust sales pipeline, provides greater visibility into marketing activities and yields better customer insights while improving efficiency and accountability. (Figure 1) Based on these benefits, marketing automation is extremely beneficial to marketers from companies of all sizes. The industry is expected to reach $1 billion in sales in 2013. Marketing automation company Eloqua was acquired at the end of 2012 and Marketo has recently gone public.

© Madison Logic | (646) 937-5800 | www.madisonlogic.com
Created for Madison Logic by BullsEye Resources, www.bullseyeresources.com.

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Lead Nurturing: A Multi-Touch Approach

However, penetration rates for marketing automation remain low: only 6% of companies that conduct marketing activities have thus far automated their marketing. Among large companies with at least $500 million in annual revenue, about 36% have done so.5 This implies a compelling value proposition among those aware of marketing automation.
Figure 1 Marketing automation is now essential to lead management.

Source: Forrester Research, November 2009

Automated lead-nurturing practices are still in their infancy.
While marketing automation is garnering much attention, the lead-nurturing practices that use automation are still in their infancy. Common strategies being employed today do not fully leverage what is known about B2B buyers, or their position along the purchasing journey. Consider the typical marketing automation campaign timeline: A user’s action (e.g., filling out a form on a website or downloading a white paper) triggers a series of e-mails that typically start arriving about two weeks later. E-mails continue at a deliberate pace until the recipient either becomes a qualified lead or opts out (which occurs 20–25% of the time on a yearly basis). Multiple e-mail touches forge relationships and drive engagement, which is good. However, many problems exist in how automated lead nurturing is often executed. Common problems include: • Poorly timed messaging. Messages often go out slowly, particularly the initial e-mails which typically tend to arrive 14 days after a prospect’s indication of interest. By then, many buyers in the discovery and research stage have already gathered all of the information needed to make a purchasing decison. Ironically, even though the buying cycle can take many months, the initial discovery process can begin and end within a matter of days. By not responding quickly to buyers’ inquiries, a marketer may miss out on a potential sales lead. • Research by Madison Logic and others has found that: —— The “discovery phase” of a buyer’s journey lasts only 1–10 days after the initial interaction, or expression of interest. Downloading activity is at its peak during the discovery pahse, as prospects research and evaluate their buying options. This 10-day window is crucial for beginning nurturing, and the first 5 days are particularly important. (Content during this period of nurturing should focus on educating versus selling.)
© Madison Logic | (646) 937-5800 | www.madisonlogic.com
Created for Madison Logic by BullsEye Resources, www.bullseyeresources.com.

“The lead opportunity virtually dies after 10 days.”
–Erik Matlick

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Lead Nurturing: A Multi-Touch Approach

—— Striking when the iron is hot dramatically improves success rates. A MarketingSherpa case study6 found that timing communications more frequently during the discovery phase dramatically boosted open and click-through rates for a world wide IT software provider. After the 10-day mark—when marketers often begin their nurturing activities—the opportunity withers. (Figure 2)
Figure 2. The discovery phase is shorter than you think!

Source: Madison Logic.

• Single channel. Typically, only e-mail is utilized in marketing automation campaigns. Online display ads were similarly one channel back in the 1990s. But now display ads have evolved to be driven not by content but by data. By using data and developing insights about targeted customers, ads can be much more precisely targeted. Marketers are learning from this experience and making lead nurturing more targeted and meaningful. • One-dimensional. Nurturing campaigns usually message to just one recipient: the person who made the inquiry or signaled interest. However, purchase decisions in a corporate environment are complex with multiple decision makers and influencers; the inquirer often isn’t the eventual user (e.g., an IT person who is looking into HR software). • Lack of targeting by customer intent. Marketers often assume that people who indicated interest will retain this interest over time. Doing so will ignore a potential buyer’s actual intent, which can change over time. Marketers need to learn more about customers’ intent, what their plans are, and what the intentions are of influencers. (Figure 3)

“To be most effective, lead nurturing campaigns need to be multi-touch, multi-channel, multidimensional and timed appropriately to the buyer’s journey.”
–Erik Matlick

© Madison Logic | (646) 937-5800 | www.madisonlogic.com
Created for Madison Logic by BullsEye Resources, www.bullseyeresources.com.

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Lead Nurturing: A Multi-Touch Approach

Figure 3. The B2B 2.0 Buyer Journey.

Source: Madison Logic.

Marketing automation holds the potential to pave the way for the next evolution of lead nurturing, which Madison Logic sees as: • Lead nurturing 1.0. This is the current “spray and pray” approach, multi-touch but not leveraging multiple channels or knowledge about the B2B buyer’s reality. • Lead nurturing 2.0. Customer intent data will be further utilized to segment leads and reach more decision makers, representing a multi-dimensional approach. • Lead nurturing 2.5. Marketers will exhibit an increased use of RTB exchanges not just to send e-mails but to serve display ads to prospects wherever they go online, immediately after their first sign of interest. Madison Logic calls refers to this multi-channel approach as “instant nurturing.”
Figure 4. Evolution of lead nurturing.

Source: Madison Logic.

© Madison Logic | (646) 937-5800 | www.madisonlogic.com
Created for Madison Logic by BullsEye Resources, www.bullseyeresources.com.

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Lead Nurturing: A Multi-Touch Approach

Madison Logic’s use of automated marketing solutions for customers’ lead nurturing activities already reflects where lead nurturing is headed. Clients can layer on nurturing programs very cost effectively. These include: • Instant NurturingTM – Nurture leads as soon as they express interest in your content. • Influencer NurturingTM – Nurture the team that will eventually approve your product. • Database NurturingTM – Raise brand awareness for users that have interacted with you in the past. • Audience Targeting. Nurture an ideal portfolio of buyer and company profiles.

Case study
To show the effectiveness of Instant NurturingTM, Madison Logic conducted an A/B test on webinar participants themselves. Registrants were split into two groups. Group A received only e-mail reminders; their attendance rate was 23%. Group B received e-mail reminders plus instant nurturing via banner ads. Their attendance was 31%. Instant nurturing lifted attendance by 30%.

In conclusion, Madison Logic CEO Erik Matlick stressed the importance of turning insights into action plans by implementing these top five research-driven action items geared towards increasing the effectiveness of lead nurturing: • Reach prospects wherever they are via multi-channel communications (e-mail, display, contextual ads, phone calls). • Create a program that includes multiple content offerings so that you can provide appropriate content for each stage of the buyer’s journey. • Implement nurturing programs from day one, to capitalize when buyer interest is highest. • Utilize a smart lead-scoring program to maximize the effectiveness of marketing automation. • Engage prospects holistically to assist them in their decision-making process.

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Managing Sales Leads: Turning Cold Prospects into Hot Customers, James Obermayer. Thomson/Raycom Communications, 2007 SLMA (Sales Lead Management Association) Lead Nurturing: The Secret to Successful Lead Generation, Aberdeen Group, November 2008 Lead Nurturing: The Secret to Successful Lead Generation, Aberdeen Group, November 2008 Raab Associates VEST Report, February 2013 www.marketingsherpa.com/article/case-study/4-strategies-to-boost-response

© Madison Logic | (646) 937-5800 | www.madisonlogic.com
Created for Madison Logic by BullsEye Resources, www.bullseyeresources.com.

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