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The new buyer experience economy has resulted in shifting the economic value of many sales and marketing tactics over the past couple of years. One approach whose value is on the rise is that of Lead Nurturing. It’s no wonder why – we have seen major alterations of buyer behavior and buying patterns with technology enabling more buyer control over the majority of the buying cycle process. This makes nurturing a key element of preventing buyers from disengaging from the buying cycle.
The approach taken towards lead nurturing could make a huge difference. With the concept of lead nurturing still in many respects a new one, companies are struggling on exactly what to do and perhaps how to implement lead nurturing. A most common approach, of what can be referred to as “picking and choosing” activities, may actually be hindering the further evolution of lead nurturing. Here are just a few reasons why:
Lead nurturing activity is left in the hands of sales representatives who pick from a Chinese menu of choices to engage with potential buyers thus creating inconsistency.
There has been a rearranging of the deck chairs so to speak on the same types of activities and then these collectively called lead nurturing. The question though is there anything different going on for the buyer?
We rely too heavily on technology and automation which in turn makes lead nurturing a program bedeviled with checklists yet lacking in a coherent plan.
There is a lack of creativity in lead nurturing activities and plans. The buyer suffers from this because there then is a high redundancy factor of similar types of content distributed via the web, emails, events, and that word most buyers cringe at – campaigns.
Lead nurturing can suffer from multiple overlapping responsibilities for programs and areas of specializations. What I mean is that some departments are charged with email marketing for example while others might be in charge of white papers as another example. Each department marches to the drum of its own beat and implement plans. The buyer then becoming the recipient of both lead nurturing activities and asks – why am I getting all of these at once – don’t they have their act together?
Since lead nurturing is a new concept, it still struggles from not receiving the executive buy-in it should causing many sales and marketing teams to make best do with a limited budget.
The dilemma an organization can be faced with is the way lead nurturing has been approached. Primarily lead nurturing being approached as a program of activities as opposed to a program of experience. Thus, an organization can significantly enhance its lead nurturing capabilities when it is linked to the overall buying experience and viewed as a significant element of buyer experience marketing. Buyer Experience Marketing changes how we approach lead nurturing - from asking what activities should we do to what experiences should we create.
By linking lead nurturing to buyer experience marketing, we begin to shift the emphasis in lead nurturing from inside-out activities to outside-in experiences. We begin to shift from a reliance on how many activities can each department dream up to how much do we know about the buyer and the types of experiences that will keep him/her engaged in the buying cycle.
This, in my opinion, is an extremely important linkage to be making. By linking lead nurturing to an approach of buyer experience marketing, it allows us to take steps enabling the buyer to be a participant of experiences rather than a recipient of materials and activities. It is definitely easier said than done however organizations should begin taking steps in this direction. Why? For this simple reason - buyers are certainly not going to wait for you to catch up.