Saturday, September 20, 2008

Lead Nurturing - How to track ROI?

The concept of lead nurturing is something that is complex for some but very straightforward for others. To keep it simple, I look at it as a way of keeping your company top of mind to your potential customers or existing customers who are qualified but not yet ready to buy. I'm not going to reinvent the wheel here so check out Brian Carroll's blog post for a more in depth explanation.

Quick Overview on Trends in Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing can present itself in many ways. It can consist of a sales or call center rep calling a prospect over a period of time or a series of emails sent by marketing. The shift that I've seen is to automate the process using technology. This makes it easier for marketing as messages can be delivered in a timely and consistent manner without a marketing person manually sending out the email each time. Sales benefits as well as marketing is performing "air cover" and with today's tools, the messages can look like the sales rep is sending it themselves with all of this being automated. The other shift I've seen is to use multiple channels as part of a well laid out plan. This may consist of a postcard sent out with an email being sent two days later so it coincides with the direct mail piece and then having a call center rep call 2 days later to maximize the impact of the campaign.

Great - How do I track ROI for Lead Nurturing?

If you are using a CRM with a campaign component, set up a campaign that is specific to your lead nurturing efforts (you may need several campaigns based on the number of programs you are running). On any of the emails that you send as part of the campaign, direct the respondents to a form landing page that when filled out, passes the lead to your CRM and tags that respondent as being part of the lead nurturing campaign that you set up. As deals turn into opportunities and then hopefully into closed deals, you can look back on how your lead nurturing program contributed to the pipeline and then eventually to your company's bottom line. I've also seen companies use a dedicated 1-800 number as part of their lead nurturing campaigns which allows them to easily indicate that the call was generated from a lead nurturing channel.

The explanation above is a summarized view on tracking ROI and some marketers out there may probably rolling their eyes and saying "if only it were that simple". There are many factors that go into this including getting sales and marketing working together as well as buy-in from the marketing team and the rest of the company to invest the time and resources in a systemized lead nurturing process. All I can say is that from what I've seen, it's well worth it and with a well throughout process the return on investment should not take too long to be realized.

Lead Nurturing - Getting Started

Starting a lead nurturing initiative is not the focus of this article but what I would recommend for now is to start simple and look for an area that you can run a pilot program. For example, pick a specific segment such as a key vertical and choose leads generated from a specific channel such as Google Adwords. A simple program may consist of 2-3 emails sent within a specific time period with key messages that should educate prospects and make it easy for them to reach out to your company. Obviously, the more automated you can make this, the easier it gets for the marketing team.

That's it for now - hopefully this was helpful.

Chad H.

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Anonymous said...

Thank you for emphasizing the benefits of automating the lead nurturing process but the importance of keeping it personal. Most companies think the more graphics, information, and HTML, the better the email template. What we've found is the opposite. The more personal, simple, and the shorter the email, the more effective it is for us.

Anonymous said...

Great Post!



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