Across industries marketers know how challenging it is to get good leads and once acquired, making them materialize into sales is an even tougher task. It involves understanding the exact requirement of the target consumer and providing him with proof that your product or service is exactly what he or she is looking for. It is necessary to convince them of the benefits of purchasing from you in the little time you have while connecting with them. A good lead nurturing strategy is something that will give you good business and profitability.
The importance of lead nurturing in the sales process
In the modern market, many businesses are giving more time and effort to inbound lead generation. In this process, only almost 10% of the target consumers will make a purchase on the very first call and the remaining have to be nurtured into sales which requires a lot of effort. If your lead nurturing strategy is good then it will also have an impact on the areas of customer loyalty, customer retention, revenue, and more.
At the same time, it is also important to understand that when a consumer contacts you through your website or phone line, they should get the answers they are seeking. It is always better to give them such information before they even ask the question. This is what a smart marketer would do after gauging the psyche of his or her target consumers.
You should remember that your competitors in the market are actively following up with the same target customer group and your endeavor should be to be a step ahead of them. If you look at the process of lead generation, whether it is through an outbound or inbound process, it entails a lot of expense and effort. You could be using emails, outbound calls, internet marketing, etc. and all these methods are expensive. So if you want the best ROI on this investment in a lead generation then you need to have a proper lead nurturing strategy.
The role of automation in lead nurturing
All industries are trying to automate their processes whenever possible, because automation does not just cut down on the time taken to complete a task, but is also a very effective way to improve the delivery of services or products. The task of lead nurturing too can be made easier and more efficient with the help of automation.
You can easily automate the process of sending follow-up emails and forwarding relevant resources based on where the user is placed in the buyer journey. At the same time, with automated lead nurturing companies can reach the target leads at the right time and with the information that they require. A few examples are:
- Sending emails regarding abandoned shopping carts
- Sending follow-up emails after the target consumer has made a micro-purchase like downloading a guide
- Sending reminders for different events like webinars
Benefits of using automation for lead nurturing
Companies across various industries are finding it not feasible to rely on manual methods alone in lead nurturing. They need to automate their efforts at lead nurturing because the purchase journey of your target consumers is not linear anymore. Today tech and market-savvy buyers are taking their own unique journeys to becoming customers. This path is rarely fulfilled by the traditional marketing funnel and this is a major challenge for marketers who in turn take the help of automation.
Increased efficacy and time-saving
Nowadays there is tough competition and your target consumers face a lot of distractions from your competitors vying for their attention. Whether these distractions are within or outside the internet the consumer looking for the products or services you provide has many other options to look at. This is where automation plays a vital role because with an automated lead nurturing process you can take the fast track of nurturing and even closing leads before someone else lures them away.
Personalization and scalability
The most successful lead nurturing endeavors gauge the user’s requirements and provide them with a personalized solution to their needs. It is in fact, impossible to do this at the same scale and pace manually. With automation, the right content can be presented to the lead at the right time, and convert the leads into sales.
Improved accuracy and reliability
With automated lead nurturing the scope of human errors is nil and AI-powered software will improve the accuracy of sending the relevant content according to the requirement of the target consumer. At the same time, you can entirely rely on an automated system to provide the content to the target at the right time. There are no delays and with software and workbots working 24×7 there is no limitation of time.
Enhanced customer experience
A consumer who receives immediate answers to basic queries with the help of chatbots or automated emails will definitely appreciate promptness. This quick response is appreciated by all consumers who hate waiting for busy telephone lines to answer their calls. At the same time, they also don’t have to waste time negotiating IVR systems and instead get answers to FAQs on your website itself with a chatbot or voice bot.
Greater insights and data analysis
With an automated lead nurturing system you can ask the target consumers some relevant questions which will give you deeper insights into their actual requirements. With this information you can refine the content you share with the consumer and this, in turn, pleases the consumer because they do not have to negotiate a heap of irrelevant content. In the modern-day market, data is the most powerful weapon and with automation, the sifting and categorizing of large amounts of data become very simple. Data analysis with AI-powered software ensures that the irrelevant data is separated from the useful one and discarded so that it does not create confusion.
Ability to test and optimize campaigns
With automated lead nurturing you can test campaigns, by floating the content within a small circle of target consumers. You can also put out an objective-type questionnaire for the target consumers so that you can understand the requirement of the market. At the same time, if you are running a campaign to test a new product, for instance, automated software can conduct this campaign with very little human involvement.
Setting up automation for lead nurturing
When setting up the automation for lead nurturing you should address the following:
Grow and nurture relationships with existing as well as target consumers. Because your existing customers are your most useful and important leads, and not just to make a repeat purchase, but to also enhance your goodwill and brand image in the market.
You should make sure that the content you share with your leads is educating for them. Here you also need to bear in mind that education should be of relevance to the consumer and they should be encouraged to make a decision to buy.
Automated lead nurturing is especially useful for businesses that sell complex services and products. It will help in educating your prospective customers by offering them information that is sufficient for their knowledge but does not overwhelm them at the same time.
Setting up automation rules and triggers
It is necessary to ensure that your AI-powered software does not keep shooting emails and text messages to people who will get irritated with it. A person who does not require your product or service will be agitated by this type of intrusion and will create a negative brand image for you. Hence you need to set up rules and triggers which ensure that the consumer is contacted only if he or she desires to be contacted and that too with the relevant information.
Integrating automation with your existing sales and marketing processes
You cannot change your sales and marketing process which has been working seamlessly till now. So when you decide to automate your lead nurturing process you need to ensure that the automation works in harmony with the already established system. For this most of the companies providing AI-powered automated solutions to their clients, will customize the solution according to the requirements of your business. So you should ensure that you give them enough information so that they can create the right automation solution for your business.
Testing and fine-tuning your automation setup
The rule of testing and fine-tuning applies to any new solution that you put into practice within your business and the same is true of automated lead nurturing. Usually, the companies that create these solutions have the know-how and the means to put these solutions to a rigorous test before actually implementing them in your business. You can take their advice and conduct some test runs within a mock situation before you implement it in your customer circle.
Ensuring data privacy and compliance
Compliance is a very serious issue in many businesses and you need to ensure that the automation solution that you are applying is in accordance with the dictates of the concerned authorities. At the same time, this is the time when a white-collar crime is on the rise and the most valuable material for these cyber thieves is data. Hence, you should also ensure that the automation solution you opt for has the right safety measures which ensure that data will not be available to any miscreant.
Types of tools available for lead nurturing automation
These are no longer a novelty as most websites have started using chatbots of some kind or the other. From basic ones answering FAQs from a recorded database to AI-powered and machine-learning chatbots, you will find a wide variety of them in the market
Marketing automation platforms – Artificial intelligence and machine learning are not confined to chatbots alone, instead, most companies providing marketing automation platforms also enhance the quality of their software solutions with the use of these modern systems. We have already discussed the importance of the automation of the lead nurturing process and the automation of marketing is not much different, because it also involves the process of connecting with and educating prospects either for first-time sales or repeat customers.
We all know that CRM software has been around for quite some time now. However, as technology advances, the latest CRM automation systems are also powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning. This makes it easier to show your existing customers that you appreciate their business and automated systems like wishes during the holidays or when manageable even wishing them on their special days like birthdays anniversaries and others. This will turn them not only into your loyal customers but also your brand ambassadors. They can also be used for customer troubleshooting to a great extent, providing answers to simple FAQs and connecting them to the right department which can resolve their complaint.
Choosing the right tool for your business
The first thing that you need to do is to analyze the requirement of your business. Every company has a variety of operational workflows that involve too many human resources. This could be sending follow-up emails, template emails, processing invoices, launching internal operations and filling the CRM, and many other tasks. The extent to which these tasks can be automated depends on the nature of your business. For instance, if you are a digital marketing company then you can opt for an automated system that includes a chatbot answering FAQs. You can also use an AI-powered system that will send follow-up mails including your portfolio which the target can peruse at their convenience. On the other hand, if you are a retailing company and want to automate the process of answering post-purchase queries, then you will need a different kind of system. The best part is that nowadays it is possible to find automated systems for all kinds of businesses and their different departments and in fact, you can get one custom-made for your business.
Tips for successful lead nurturing with automation
Segmenting leads – This is also known as hyper-personalization which ensures that the content that you send a target consumer is as per his or her requirements and interest. At the same time, make sure that you are acknowledging the recipient by using their names in emails, text messages, etc. Any recipient of such sensitively crafted communication will feel appreciated and will get a good impression of your brand.
Creating a clear call to action – When sending content to consumers, make sure to add a bit of advice that will prompt the recipient to take action soon and make a purchase. In other words catch the opportunity within the initial communication itself, because if you leave any kind of space between communications, the target consumer can give into a better sales pitch from any of your competitors.
Measuring and analyzing results – Purchasing automation systems for lead nurturing or any other process included in the daily process of business will cost you a substantial amount of money. This is the reason that you should ensure that they provide a good return on investment. For this, you will have to deploy some resources to check how much of a positive impact the automation systems have had on the profitability of your business. In fact, a good vendor will allow you a trial period with their automation solutions without obligations. So that you can purchase a well-designed and customized automation solution that will enhance the efficacy of your lead nurturing process and make your business more profitable.
Lead nurturing is one of the most important aspects of a successful business because, without a well-designed process of gradually converting leads into sales, you will simply lose the leads. This will in turn cause a loss of resources spent on capturing these leads. In today’s market, it does not make economic sense to rely only on human resources, and automation of processes has become a necessity. AI-powered chatbots and other solutions based on artificial intelligence will not only save resources in the long run but also make your processes more streamlined and error-free. This is especially true of the lead nurturing process with aspects, such as regular and effective follow-ups along with other repetitive tasks that can lead to fatigue and boredom in your employees if they were to do it manually. Therefore the best option is to automate as much of your lead nurturing, sales, and customer service processes in order to achieve not just better efficacy but also good profits.