Nick Sal's HubSpot Inbound Marketing and Consulting Blog

What is Advanced Lead Nurturing And Why Do I Need It?

Posted by Kevin Jorgensen

Apr 2, 2012, 9:42:00 AM

lead nurturing helps prospects discover your valueAre you generating leads with your inbound marketing or just a lot of buzz around the top of the funnel? For that matter, does your funnel look like a pipe where a prospect fills a form with a phone number and first name, drops right to your “hot lead list” and by the end of the day you’ve called them six times and left five voicemail messages? Or perhaps your funnel is more like a game of marco polo where the prospect wanders around feeling their way through the dark, hoping to discover your value. Lead nurturing is the way inbound marketers keep the funnel from looking like a pipe and also prevent prospects from becoming lost in a maze of offers.

A well designed funnel incents prospects to move from less to more qualified at a pace just slightly faster than the natural inclination and is essential to generating a steady flow of quality leads. Advanced lead nurturing, which is part of the Hubspot Enterprise platform, is the mechanism that transforms your funnel from a pipe or a frustrating guessing game to a rewarding experience that converts more prospects into leads and loyal customers.

What is Lead Nurturing Anyway?

So what is lead nurturing and how is advanced lead nurturing different? The essence of lead nurturing is a gentle prod given to a prospect that has chosen to accept one of your offers. The idea is that after the prospect has had the opportunity to experience the value of your offer, you suggest that perhaps they’d like more. It sounds simple and if you were standing in front of your prospect, all sorts of input – body language, facial expressions, brief dialog etc. would guide the way that you’d make that next offer in the best way possible. But when you’re setting up an email tool to make your offer you may feel more like you’re talking over a string telephone without any real idea about when or the way your prospect wants to engage. That’s where advanced lead nurturing comes in.

With advanced lead nurturing you’re replacing that string telephone with information and a sophisticated decision system that can more closely approximate the way you’d make your offer if you were standing in front of your prospect. As an example…

Fly Higher or Sink Faster

In the old lead nurturing methodology, at a certain time after a prospect submits a form, your lead nurturing campaign sends your prospect a follow up offer. If your campaign is sophisticated, a third, fourth and fifth offer can be sent out, again based on the simple criteria of the passing of time. This can go a couple of ways… either the prospect responds positively to the message and timing of your clearly automated solicitations or after the second or third unwanted email the prospect decides your irritating and then each email after that only reinforces that notion. Your campaign just accelerated your trip to the curb. Next prospect please…

What Makes Advanced Lead Nurturing... Advanced?

Advanced lead nurturing doesn’t just follow a set linear timeline. Instead it looks for specific behaviors by the prospect such as visiting a certain page, filling in a form, mentioned a keyword in a tweet, opening a support ticket… as well as the passing of time… also the opposite of any of these activities or a combination of these activities can be used to create the trigger for your next follow-up… getting the picture… advanced lead nurturing can emulate some very complicated behavior. Let’s see how this can work…

If you mentioned social media policy on twitter and you visited the social media guidelines for schools on my website then I send you our social media policy toolkit. Now, after 5 days AND if you’ve read my social media blog I’ll send you follow up offer email that suggests that the best social media policies are created when an entire team works together on them and then offers a template for private school social media policies in exchange for filling in my form that asks about your blogging frequency and use of facebook. My offer is both relevant and timely so chances are my prospect will accept and give me new valuable information that qualifies them for more engaging follow up.

Prepping to Close...

In addition, advanced lead nurturing also allows you to send your offers from a variety of accounts, so for example if the criteria has to do with a support ticket, the offer may come from a support staffer or if the criteria triggers a bottom of the funnel offer, the offer may come from the sales person who will actually be making the follow up call… creating a natural segue to the call.

So back to your funnel… is it more like a pipe where you pounce on every prospect that provides the most basic information? Or is your funnel so convoluted that your prospects couldn’t find the bottom if they wanted to? Advanced lead nurturing can help you build a funnel that is efficient, rewarding for prospects and designed to create qualified closing opportunities at the bottom. Have you tried it? What’s your experience been?

 
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Topics: lead nurturing, lead funnel, prospect conversion