Why Lead Nurturing Makes Sense for B2B Companies

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8373856641_aca92454e4How often do you hear about businesses generating plenty of leads, but closing very few – if any – of them? Sadly, this happens more often than B2B marketers and business owners care for. Who is to blame when this happens?

The “usual suspects” may include:

  1. The marketing department, for failing to qualify leads before passing them off to sales.
  2. The sales department, for being too pushy.
  3. The client, for not being fully ready to commit.
  4. All of the above.

What to do, rather than continue to point fingers?

Learning and implementing lead nurturing techniques helps businesses convert more leads into satisfied clients. So, what exactly is lead nurturing? According to Techopedia, it’s defined as “a marketing term for building relationships with potential clients even if they are not currently looking to buy a product or service.” Building relationships sounds easy enough, right? Believe it or not, many business owners and marketers think nurturing leads is time consuming and difficult.

I’m about to share relevant statistics and data about B2B lead nurturing which will help you learn more about the following:

  • Why lead nurturing makes sense for B2B companies
  • Methods and tools used for lead nurturing
  • The benefits of lead nurturing
  • Great resources to learn more about lead nurturing

Why do businesses need lead nurturing?

  • 73% of all B2B leads are not sales-ready. (Source: MarketingSherpa)
  • 50% of leads are qualified but not ready to buy. (Source: Gleanster)
  • Only 25% of leads are legitimate and should advance to sales. (Source: Gleanster)
  • 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance. (Source: MarketingSherpa)
  • It takes, on average, 10 marketing-driven “touches” to progress a lead from the top of the funnel to the top line (i.e. revenue). (Source: Aberdeen Group)
  • Buyers can be 90 percent of the way through the buying process before they reach out to a salesperson. This change to the buyer’s journey has made nurturing even more important. (Source: VentureBeat)
  • 80% of sales are made on the 5th-12th contact. (Source: Sellingly)

These stats help demonstrate the power of lead nurturing for B2B companies. Company decision-makers are increasingly going online to research companies and to determine whether their solutions hold potential value for them. Many of them begin reaching out to companies (i.e., becoming inbound leads) before they are 100% ready to move forward with their purchasing decisions. B2Bs with effective lead nurturing strategies in place are able to respond quickly and appropriately to these leads. They provide these leads with the information they need, when they need it, to help them make their buying decisions.

Lead nurturing methods and tools

  • Businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads. (Source: ANNUITAS)
  • Companies that automate lead management see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months. (Source: Gartner)
  • Personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14%, and conversion rates by 10%. (Source: Aberdeen Group)
  • Lead nurturing emails get 4-10 times the response rate compared to standalone email blasts. (Source: DemandGen Report)
  • Lead nurturing emails generate an 8% CTR compared to general email sends, which generate just a 3% CTR. (Source: HubSpot)
  • 82% of prospects say lead nurturing content targeted to their specific industry is more valuable. (Source: MarketingSherpa)
  • Relevant emails drive 18 times more revenue than broadcast emails. (Source: Juniper Research)

Many B2B companies choose to nurture their leads through emails. Emails are efficient and effective vehicles for delivering relevant content and/or marketing collateral. When used judiciously, marketing automation helps B2Bs even further by seamlessly managing lead nurturing emails throughout the sales cycle.

How lead nurturing benefits businesses

  • On average, 15% to 20% of the “not yet ready to purchase” opportunities converted to sales {after lead nurturing}. (Source: Gleanster)
  • According to Forrester Research, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales leads at 33% lower cost. (Source: DemandGen Report)
  • Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. (Source: ANNUITAS)
  • Nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads. (Source: DemandGen Report)
  • On average, organizations that nurture their leads experience a 45% lift in lead generation ROI over those organizations that do not. (Source: MarketingSherpa)

With results like the ones shown above, it’s easy to see how lead nurturing can make a difference for B2Bs. The benefits also reach well beyond lead conversion, and exist for everyone involved. For example, the relationships built during the sales process contribute to clients’ increased trust and loyalty. They usually feel better about doing business with companies that have treated them well, and may even go on to refer more business to them.

Excellent resources to learn more about B2B lead nurturing

Oracle Eloqua: Building Brand Preference with Lead Nurturing

Marketo: Lead Nurturing

HubSpot: Blog

These three resources offer basic information about lead nurturing for B2Bs. Marketers can easily find plenty of other resources about lead nurturing online. Even with all the information out there, lead nurturing may still be a tough concept for B2Bs to grasp. There are multiple ways to nurture leads, but there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. However, in this brave new world of marketing – and especially inbound marketing – nurturing leads is no longer optional; businesses should take the time to learn and practice the lead nurturing methods for successful results.

Over to you

Have you been on either side of lead nurturing as a business? If so, did it make a big difference for you?

Photo Credit: jellyfire via Compfight cc

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Jennifer Hanford

Jennifer Hanford

Owner and Managing Director at j+ Media Solutions
Jennifer is the owner and managing director of j+ Media Solutions which offers social and content solutions to SMBs. Writing is a newfound passion and she blogs regularly. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, baking and pinning on Pinterest.
Jennifer Hanford

@jennghanford

Social media & blogging freelancer. Coffee lover. j+ Media (@jplussocial) owner. Social Media Club #smclub & SteamFeed contributer. #CMGR with @B2MediaLLC.
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Jennifer Hanford
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