When it comes to lead nurturing, the difference between effective campaigns and scheduled spam often boils down to the details. Before you start sending series after series of emails, make sure you understand the current experiences of your leads and have a good sense of their expectations. To help you do this, the following are a few essential lead nurturing benchmarks to keep in mind.
1. Time to Conversion
Gleanster Research estimates that 50% of leads who are qualified to buy are not ready to purchase immediately. If you call these leads up and push them into making a decision right away, you will likely lose them. Instead, take a look at your existing sales funnel. How long does it typically take a lead to become a customer after his or her first inquiry? Does the sales cycle vary for different types of purchases?
As an inbound marketing tactic, lead nurturing is all about understanding the nuances of your leads' timing and needs. Watch your analytics, and talk to your sales team. If it typically takes your leads a month to make a purchasing decision, then make sure you're spreading out your communications to keep them engaged throughout the month. Don't pummel them with sales pitch after sales pitch. Start out by sending useful, low-pressure information with content-based calls-to-action; then slowly transition to a call-to-action to buy.
2. Level of Activity and Influencer Pages
Sometimes it's not time but activity that is most telling about a lead's readiness to buy. Again, take a look at your typical sales cycle. How many of your website pages do leads usually visit before converting into a customer? Knowing these benchmarks can help you appropriately space out your communications.
In addition to activity level, start flagging which pages are influential in purchasing decisions. Some analytics programs, including HubSpot's Advanced Marketing Analytics, will show you a "reverse funnel analysis," which enables you to see which pages led to conversions. Is your pricing page or your customer testimonial page a better indicator of whether a lead is at the tail end of his or her research? In addition to surveying your website analytics, make sure you keep an eye on activity outside of your site, too. Are they mentioning you on Twitter? Have they posted questions to LinkedIn or other forum sites? All of these can be indicators of a lead's readiness and seriousness to buy.
3. Open and Click-Through Rates
Click-through rates for standard emails tend to be are around 5%. When you place that email strategically in a lead nurturing campaign, however, open rates tend to jump. They jump because, rather than blindly sending the same email to your full list of leads, lead nurturing campaigns respond to individual interest and timing indicators, resulting in more relevant sends. In your lead nurturing campaigns, keep an eye on the open and click-through rates of each of your campaigns' emails. Look for drop-offs or other anomalies in open and click-through rates, and test different messages and subject lines. Figure out the right benchmarks for your company, and work to surpass them with each strategic send.
According to Forrester Research, companies that excel at lead nurturing are able to generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost-per-lead. But in order to achieve this, lead nurturing campaigns take careful thought and planning.
What other benchmarks and metrics do you think matter in lead nurturing?
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