Need vs Nuture
Imagine a perfect sales cycle where you could design a sales strategy furnished with known entities and completely transparent customer behaviour patterns. For example, suppose every last one of your many loyal customers made a healthy, guaranteed minimum annual spend with you every March. In that case, you could happily run your business at a predictable profit as a result. You could readily update your audience with new product information, solidifying their trust and loyalty. But even in this seemingly blissful scenario, what happens when you want to scale your business? You’ve already tapped into your organic audience; how do you then grow beyond that loyal base? There will be people who need your product who are happily buying from a competitor. There will be others who might be the perfect client, they have a clear need for what you provide, but they are new to the market and need education and convincing on even investing in the first place.
So even in a comfortingly predictable scenario, there are limitations. The reality, of course, is starkly different but the point remains the same. Your future client base comprises prospects at various points in their journey with varying awareness levels of your products and services. Equally, your lead sources will vary from those who googled you with a specific need and proactively contacted you on your website, to others who you actively targeted as part of a campaign and followed up with a call or an email. You have no idea who will account for more of your revenue in three years.
A successful Demand Generation strategy encompasses the whole journey from serving those with a need for your services to closing customers who are convinced and ready to buy.
Prospects who find you:
Even people who actively seek out what you provide need to a clear rationale to buy from you. That means your content and digital strategy needs to deliver a premium user experience, engage and educate your audience and convince them to request more information. Even at this stage, if your audience doesn’t feel like you are invested in their challenges and can’t see any direct benefit from browsing your website, then you are likely missing out on conversions. 68% of B2B customers prefer to research independently online but 90% of those searching haven’t made their minds up about a brand before starting their search. This gives rise to a valuable opportunity, gather insights and serve the content your audience wants to see, show them why they should buy from you.
Prospects with a defined need for your services:
Perhaps they’re not ready to buy just yet and need to be nurtured. You need to earn trust and build confidence in your services and approach and vitally, stay in regular contact with valuable content. Marketing automation platforms like HubSpot are hugely beneficial in managing this process, giving you a clear view of your prospect database and the level of engagement within prospect accounts. Research shows that 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales and lack of proper lead nurturing techniques could be to blame.
Prospects who are happy with their current service with another provider:
Research shows that 35-50% of sales go to the provider that responds first, which is a compelling statistic for two reasons: firstly, it demonstrates just how responsive you need to be to win out over the competition. Secondly, it highlights that perhaps your competitor was merely responsive and you could offer a more personal service, far better product/service features or you’re culturally more aligned. There’s only one way to find out, actively target and nurture prospects consistently. If they’re happy with their current provision, respond with engaging and timely content that shows you understand their challenges and their industry. This way, when their contract is up for renewal, or you check-in with a call, they’ll have far greater brand recognition, which is the perfect platform for building rapport.