How to Build a Lead Nurture Campaign


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CMOs that excel at Lead Nurturing generate higher quality and quantity sales ready leads. 

  • Forrester Research states a 50% increase, 33% lower cost per lead
  • Aberdeen Group finds 2X win rate with 47% higher average order value

SBI client experiences validate these findings.  In a complex selling environment, impactful lead nurturing is a competitive advantage.  

B2B CMOs are investing significant budget in driving top of the funnel leads.  However few CMOs have the right nurturing process in place to convert leads.  Form Fills that aren’t converted to sales ready leads represent lost potential.

Download the Lead Nurturing Contact Plan Guidance tool to plan your nurture framework. 

CMOs will help make the number in 2014 with lead nurturing.


High-touch Nurturing is Required

Most nurture efforts give up on reaching a prospect after 3-4 unsuccessful attempts.  Complex selling environments require a sustained, high-touch nurture path.  On average prospects respond or decide to answer after 9x nurture impressions.  Decision makers for complex sales require a high number of touches. 


Most reasonable CMOs would reject the premise of 9+ touches.  It sounds more like stalking than nurturing afterall.  Don’t make assumptions on the right frequency without first reviewing data.  The data doesn’t lie.  SBI clients continually prove that a sustained nurture approach works. 

There are two reasons;

  1. Value-based Interactions – The best practice for lead nurturing is to provide value through interaction.  Lead Development Representatives (LDRs) serve as a resource.  LDRs offer resources aligned with the buying process.  Prospects find value-based nurturing helps them evaluate options.  The LDR helps them understand key concepts.  Prospects report that nurturing saves them time and points them to valuable resources.   Interactions of this type are not burdensome. 
  2. Missed and Partial Impressions – The reality is that many touches are ignored or partially skipped.  How many voicemails and emails have you deleted after a quick partial review?  Lead nurturing impressions are often partial impressions.  That’s why it’s a best practice to communicate value before the end of the 2nd sentence. 

The number of times you must “touch” a prospect averages 9x.  Depending on the client, the optimum number can vary.  SBI has clients with the optimum touch of seven, and others as high as twelve.  CMOs should pilot a longer sequence and track results.  The data will reveal the optimum frequency and then you can reduce touches.   

It’s a marathon, not a sprint.  The framework tool provides you the guidance to get your nurturing on track.   


Types of Nurture Campaigns – Automated and 1-to-1 Personalized Nurturing

There are two key types of nurture campaigns.  1:1 Nurturing and Automated Nurturing.  Both are effective at the right time and place. 

Automated Nurturing

Automated nurturing is delivered primarily through email.  We experience the best and worst of marketing when receiving automated emails.  Automated capability is required to scale marketing efforts.  These are ideal for nurturing an unknown or early stage lead. 

Marketing Automation systems are configured to deliver the sequence of nurturing.  Once identified as an Ideal Customer Profile, then 1:1 nurturing begins.  Lead Scoring and Grading are used to identify the right time for 1:1 nurturing.   Automated nurturing is also used as ‘drip’ campaigns.  Prospects who are not ready or don’t respond should receive automated nurturing.       

1:1 Nurturing

1:1 Nurturing is the most effective means of generating a sales ready lead.  This effort is time intensive.  Lead Development Representatives (or equivalent) implement this activity.  This type of nurturing is performed after confirming quality of the lead.  The free download tool provides a framework for 1:1 Nurturing.

Lead Nurturing Contact Plan Guidance

Frequency of Nurturing

A common misconception is that high frequency nurturing will frustrate prospects.  It certainly can.  Inward>Out company wack-wack brochure-speak will annoy anyone. 

Outward>In Persona-based nurturing aligns with the buyer’s own criteria.  A Lead Development Rep will follow a Persona when executing lead nurturing.  Rather than interruption-based noise, lead nurturing is a resource.  Value-based nurturing is not perceived as being invasive. Review this post on Content Development to download a content creation tool.

Top of the Funnel (ToFu) inquiries represent active interest.  Calls and emails every 3-4 business days are not too frequent.  CMOs should trust industry data and pilot to validate. 

Executing a Nurture Framework

Plan your nurture approach with the framework in the free tool.  CMOs should not let their teams over-think this.  Guide your teams to pilot the framework ‘as is’ and adjust with live fire.  Embrace agile marketing to test your lead nurturing and then adjust.  This will get you from zero to results on the shortest path. 

The framework is designed for 1:1 Nurturing.  Simply remove the voicemail/call touch-points for automated email nurturing.

A few key points to keep in mind;

  • Voicemails should not exceed 30-seconds.  This does not include the time to leave the call back number. 
  • Emails should be quick hitting and offer a resource. 
  • Physical mail is recommended on day four.  Mail is an unclogged channel and should be tested for effectiveness. 
  • Live connects on the phone should quickly get to the point.  In the phone conversation offer to provide resources.  This may include white papers, evaluation tools, or explaining key concepts.
  • An executive summary of the product/service in layman’s terms is valuable.  This can save a prospect time when evaluating multiple competitive solutions. 

There are other required best practices for executing lead development.  This tool focuses on the cadence and steps. 

In Summary

CMOs can help Make the Number in 2014 with lead nurturing.  Download Lead Nurturing Contact Plan Guidance tool to plan your nurture framework.  Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn to set-up a brief call to discuss.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Vince Koehler
Vince is a demand generation thought leader with more than 16 years of industry and professional services experience. He has been chartered with "filling the funnel" for organizations to keep sales resources productive in driving systematic growth. A sample list of Vince's engagements include: Colgate, CITGO Petroleum, GE, Yellow Freight, and Roadway Express.


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