Trust is the fuel in the motor of relationship marketing: If it’s missing, nothing works. That’s why a positive customer journey starts with a well-conceived lead-nurturing and follow-up process.
If you go beyond merely addressing prospects and successfully build a personal relationship with them, it’s only natural for contact quality to improve. Above all, this increases your conversion rate and customer retention (which is even more important in this economy).
But what does a successful lead-nurturing and follow-up process look like?
To get the latest industry best practices, we tapped experts at Teamleader and Aircall to give you an exclusive glimpse behind the scenes.
6 Ways to Optimize Lead-Nurturing and Follow-Up
To optimize the lead-nurturing and follow-up process, Aircall and Teamleader start by working throughout the customer journey.
The first step? Defining the types of leads they should nurture and follow up with and working as a team to implement automation and personalize their messaging.
1. Strategically aligning sales and marketing
To increase your chances of success, it’s key to align your sales and marketing teams.
“It’s important to strategically align sales and marketing. That’s why we sometimes refer to it as ‘smarketing’ and ensure that all measures are in line with our business goals,” says Reynald Bourdeaux, Head of Growth at Teamleader.
If sales and marketing aren’t collaborating, it makes it so much harder to successfully implement a successful lead-nurturing strategy and can lead to inconsistent messaging and branding.
2. Narrow down lead lifecycles
When it comes to lead-nurturing and follow-up at any SaaS company, it can help to segment leads based on these two metrics:
- What content they’ve interacted with
- If they’ve signed up for a trial or demo
Teamleader segments their leads into “trials” (those who respond to a CTA and test their software for free for two weeks) and the “non-hand-raisers” (who interact with the Teamleader product through ebooks, newsletters, and webinars but don’t complete a free trial).
“It helps to narrow down the various life cycle stages of a lead. You need a clear definition of your potential customers’ individual life cycle stages to distinguish between a lead, an MQL, an SQL, a non-opportunity, and a paying customer,” Reynald says.
On the Aircall side, leads are also split into two groups. The first group includes warm and hot leads, which are handled directly by sales representatives, while the second includes cold leads that need a little nudge from the marketing team.
“In the Aircall sales team, we’ve discovered that overly generic lead nurturing, especially at events, is counterproductive. When I want to build a relationship with a potential customer, I need to know what interests that person and what their needs are,” says Stefani Bodza, Aircall’s Marketing Lead for the DACH region.
3. Implement automated (and personalized) marketing emails
To make it easier to keep track of leads, Teamleader and Aircall use automated email marketing to inform prospects about how their respective solutions can help.
Finding ways to automate email campaigns can make lead nurturing and follow-up less overwhelming (as opposed to sending a slew of one-off emails). It also makes it easier to track and optimize your prospect communications.
4. Conduct regular A/B tests and iterate
Beyond getting granular with the customer journey, it’s important to continually iterate your strategy.
One of the best ways to understand if your message is getting across is to conduct A/B tests.
They can give you more context into whether prospects are opening your emails, clicking on links, interacting with content, and more. It’s also a great way to ensure leads have consistent (and personalized!) communication with the sales team.
“Lead nurturing is a never-ending process, so you need consistent data and analysis input. For that, we use Hubspot, which allows us to track whether we are appealing and catering to the right target audience,” Reynald says.
5. Use events to your advantage
For the Aircall team, trade fairs and roadshows (say hi at one of our upcoming events!) provide helpful insight into the impact of lead nurturing on the sales team.
“Events provide important information and give us the chance to introduce our product in more detail. The personal contact is also a strong catalyst for the subsequent nurturing and follow-up process,” Stefani says.
You can also use the in-person interactions at events to personalize the sales approach.
“Ideally, we can seamlessly include content from the in-person conversation in our emails. A sentence like, ‘Mr. Müller, it was great talking to you today. Your dog Egon stole my colleagues’ hearts’ is a much more effective entry point into a sales funnel than a neutral tone,” Stefani says.
That approach creates a totally different level of empathy and rapport right from the start. It makes people feel heard and they know they’re not just dealing with a faceless organization.
6. Comply with local regulations
It might seem obvious, but to truly build a holistic lead-nurturing strategy, it’s important to offer clear opt-in and opt-out strategies and comply with the General Data Protection Regulation.
Consent is a critical element of any lead-nurturing strategy, so it’s important to adapt and localize your policies based on the regions and countries you operate in (and you can apply this tip to other parts of your business too!).
Creating a sustainable lead-nurturing and follow-up process
Now, the six tips we’ve shared here are only the beginning.
Once you start to gain clarity on every stage of your customer journey and tailor your messaging accordingly, you can create more complex workflows and increase your conversion rate.
The main takeaway here? Start small and don’t be afraid to iterate! Lead nurturing is an ongoing process—it’s not something you can set and forget.
Want to access the benefits of an integrated business phone system? Take advantage of our free 7-day Aircall trial now.