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Creating a personal relationship at every step of B2B lead nurturing

B2B lead nurturing is a multi-step process. The act of locating a potential business partner, communicating with them and converting them into a sale is a complicated procedure and it can’t become routine. Every potential client is unique and every approach must treat them like an individual. How can a B2B marketer create a lead nurturing process that efficiently uses resources while providing personalized interactions?

Initial contact
There are a variety of platforms a company may use to create an initial impression with a business audience. Email marketing campaigns, online inbound marketing content or special events may all provide introductions to products or services.

Marketing material has to emphasize personal relationships from the start. The B2B Lead Roundtable Blog listed a variety of strategies to make first impressions stand out in the mind of the viewer (1). One way to address an audience personally is to offer a solution to their problems. Email campaigns can start by highlighting a particular trouble for modern businesses and then describe how a product or service can help.

Marketers creating personal approaches for wide audiences need data that displays common trends. A B2B marketing professional can analyze current clients and leads, then make sure all initial contact is built on data that makes general messaging specific to certain groups.

Providing content
Diverse audiences need diverse materials. A B2B lead nurturing strategy geared toward personal approaches should cast a wide net to catch the interest of unique companies.

Some businesses are swayed by digital videos; others like to communicate through social media. A Content Marketing Institute survey from 2013 found modern B2B marketers usually use 13 different content tactics, including white papers, newsletters, social media pages, mobile materials and eBooks (2). Each tactic gives viewers a chance to get to know a company offering goods or services. After a visitor is introduced to a company, content created with inbound marketing appeals should provide a chance to learn more through different platforms.

All the content generated from a B2B marketing office should portray a unified message and brand. Conflicting information creates a dishonest impression. It can look like a company is trying a variety of different sales pitches instead of speaking honestly from core values. Integrated marketing over multiple mediums should portray a real partner that companies can build a relationship with.

As leads peruse different pieces of content, their actions should be recorded by marketers. Tracking what materials businesses like or don’t like is a great way to plan future messaging and learn which platforms are the most successful with certain leads.

An inbound marketing agency can supply companies with tools needed to study content performance. Software can help track click rates and page views. A centralized data system can also record direct communications from leads and other forms of contact. All this information works together to create an accurate picture of the lead. Getting to know possible clients is the best tactic for personalizing future lead nurturing strategies.

The materials collected from one lead can also work with similar businesses. By analyzing trends spotted in grouped business clients, B2B marketers know how to personalize future cold calls and email campaigns for particular industries in the future.

Checking in
B2B lead nurturing is difficult when leads are not reaching out themselves. Some businesses may have an interest in products or services, but they might be poor communicators. 

The software provided by a digital marketing agency helps users stay on top of client statuses. Labels indicate whether leads have been transferred to sales, approached only once or have gone cold. The system can display alerts when too much time has passed since last contact.

The data history from leads also helps each employee who communicates with the company pick up right where the last agent left off. Every time a marketer messages a lead it should grow the personal relationship, as opposed to having to start all over again.

ClickZ said businesses that were once eager for communication may change their minds and leads may have to be transferred from sales back to marketing (3). B2B lead nurturing can be a long process and may suffer setbacks. A clear data trail helps marketers learn from mistakes and try new tactics when initial efforts don’t perform as expected.

Transfer to sales
When a lead becomes a sale, marketing should not delete the account. They may need to be transferred back and the information provided by lead conversion could help design future content.

The information from marketing software can also help the sales department. Business 2 Communication indicated many companies have a disconnect between sales and marketing (4). While marketing is generating plenty of content, sales agents claim they don’t always have materials to pass onto clients. When working with a B2B marketing agency, businesses should find a software option that integrates with other departments. Every member of a company has to provide new clients with personal messaging that nurtures the relationship. 

(1). 6 Ideas to Create More Relevant Lead Nurturing Emails
(2). 2014 B2B Content Marketing Research: Strategy is Key to Effectiveness
(3). 7 Lead Nurturing Strategies for Modern Marketers
(4). Lead Nurturing Activity Your Sales & Marketing Team Can’t Afford To Miss

Sheila Kloefkorn

With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.