Inbound marketing only works if leads convert to sales, but all too often efforts are focused on the top of the sales funnel. While the awareness stage of the process is undoubtedly important, if you do not have a process in place to nurture leads beyond an initial touch point you will never close new leads to sales.
The article below by Sarah Hecker outlines four ways in which to nurture marketing qualified leads into sales qualified leads:
- Drip Campaigns
- Event-Based Workflows
- Smart Content
I would add a fifth: Progressive Profiling.
Progressive Profiling allows you to replace previously captured fields with new fields when the user completes additional forms on your site. This means you get to find out more about your returning prospect, enabling you to qualify them better without running the risk of alienating them by repeatedly asking them for the same basic information.
According to HubSpot Progressive profiling offers a range of marketing benefits such as:
- Increasing the conversion rates by controlling form length
- Qualify contacts as they reconvert on your landing pages
- Reuse the same forms across different landing pages
- Collect insights to better target your contacts
- Shorten your sales cycles
A word of caution, though. If you gate all of your content, you run the risk of starving your sales funnel. As I previously wrote here: "The key, as with most marketing activities, is getting the mix right. If you gate all your content, including top of the funnel awareness content, you are likely to alienate visitors and notice a high bounce rate; conversely, if you give away all your content for free you risk starving your sales funnel and never converting visitors to leads on your website."
While publishing blog articles and ramping up your social media efforts are integral parts of creating a working sales funnel, you won’t close any deals if you don’t focus on these contacts after their initial conversion. Once you start diving into lead nurturing, it can easily become overwhelming to try and hash out the best way to set up workflows and move your leads further down the funnel. At the end of the day, however, you’re not going to close any more deals without focusing on your qualified leads and bottom-of-the-funnel offers.