Why Long Sales Cycle Strategies Need Effective Lead Nurturing Campaigns

Created: March 6th 2020 By: Aaron Dyck - SVP Clover Services Group

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Are you struggling with long sales cycles that extend over months or years?

While long cycle sales can represent an enormous time and resource commitment, they can also mean high commissions that result from selling big-ticket services and products.

With nearly half of sales occurring after the fifth interaction, the long sales cycle takes a lot of work, but the prospects that engage in these cycles demonstrate increased loyalty and tend to send back higher numbers of high-quality referrals — and that translates into repeat business.

The problem is, there is an element of uncertainty in these sales, as long cycle leads often are qualified, but not yet ready to buy. If you’re not careful, you can lose them mid-cycle.

To avoid mid-cycle dropouts, long sales prospects need to be coaxed with credible information and authoritative action — that is, nurtured, over the long run. Lead nurturing helps eliminate the uncertainty of long cycle sales and moves your prospects through the sales funnel in shorter time increments.

And, the hard-and-fast results of lead nurturing campaigns are compelling.

Representatives who nurture leads can generate 50% more revenue with less cost, and increase their sales opportunities (over non-nurtured leads) by 20%.

So, what comprises results-driven lead nurturing campaigns? Below are some best practices that will help you create actionable, performance-driven lead nurturing campaigns to increase revenue — and results.

6 Lead Nurturing Campaign Best Practices for Your Long Sale Cycles

To shorten your sales cycle, you’ll want to be aware of friction points within the cycle that can impact sales cycle length. Awareness friction occurs when lengthy signup processes, distracting page design, or slow-loading videos prohibit leads from getting the information they need quickly.

Friction resulting from consideration issues — cost, competition, authority, and trust — can slow or halt your process.

Finally, the purchase process and related security, if not done well, can result in purchase friction. To avoid these sales-stalling factors, build a lead nurturing email campaign that eases your prospects past friction points — and into the sale. Here’s how:

1. Make it Simple

The first step in nurturing is to get your prospects on your mailing list, so making this process easy is your first task. Pop-ups that appear on your website should be short, simple, and easy to complete.

Don’t complicate the process by asking for extraneous details like zip codes and addresses — an email address or email address and name are all you need.

If you really want to up your game, add an enticement to sign up, like a discount, a whitepaper, or some other offer that fosters connection and gives them an incentive to sign up.

2. Be Value-Focused

Nurturing means selling softly — and that means focusing on building a relationship before you ask for the sale. In a lead nurturing email campaign, this can mean easing your leads into your family with emails that introduce your brand and its story, followed by behind-the-scenes interviews or vignettes featuring your staff.

Then you can launch into a post regarding the product in which they’re interested or deliver further authoritative information to secure their trust.

3. Plan Your Email Timeline

When designing a lead nurturing email campaign, ensure that you understand the purpose and goal of each email.

You should think carefully about each segment of your audience and create an offer or deliver a piece of information that helps them move further down your funnel. It may be helpful to create a chart that allows you to catalog the email subject line, call to action, content type, and email goal for each email in your series.

4. Segment Your Audience for Best Results

Segmenting your audience is a marketing strategy that breaks your larger target audience into specific subgroups. These subgroups allow you to tailor messaging for closer and more effective connection.

Segmented subgroups can be created based on a number of factors, including:

  • Geography
  • Purchasing behavior
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Income
  • Education level

If you’re not sure how to segment, use online tools like Google Analytics to create surveys that will help you better understand the needs of your prospects, their demographics, and their purchasing behaviors.

5. Customize the Sales Journey

Want to build a solid relationship with your prospect? Then get personal. Statistics show that personalized emails deliver real results with your audience. For example:

  • They have transaction rates that are 6 times higher than non-personalized emails
  • Personalized subject lines make an email 26% more likely to get opened.
  • Fifty-eight percent of all revenue is generated by targeted, segmented emails

Targeted personalization is a boon to customer engagement, and 74% of marketers note that personalizing the sales journey results in more interaction.

6. Test, Adjust, and Re-Test

To ensure a frictionless journey for the shorter close, keep testing your email campaigns at regular intervals.

Conducting an A/B test means submitting more than one version of your CTA or an element within it, like a CTA button, to a sample of your target audience to gauge their response.

You can test buttons, page locations, design, and text across all segments of your audience to fine-tune your campaign and improve your return on investment.

Lead Nurturing Campaigns: Keeping the Momentum

As your email campaigns unfold, be sure to keep experimenting with different aspects of the email, from CTAs to subject lines to offers to see where there is room for improvement.

A combination of testing and experimentation is the best way to ensure that your lead nurturing strategy hits your revenue targets and continues to stay on point.

If done incorrectly, lead nurturing can be counterproductive, but if you stay committed to your campaigns and follow our best practices, you’ll be more likely to see the high conversions and shorter sales cycles lead nurturing campaigns can offer.

If you’re looking at ways other ways to maximize your web presence and increase lead generation and conversions, Clover Amplify can help. Our team of experts have a deep understanding of web development, social media management, blog development, content marketing and more. Contact a Clover representative today and get started now!

Author: Aaron Dyck - SVP Clover Services Group

I am focused on helping companies in Canada and the United States grow their businesses through digital marketing and working with their sales teams to ensure they bring incredible value to each conversation.

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