Lead nurturing involves guiding newly-generated leads through the sales funnel to a point where they can commit to doing business with you. As the following lead nurturing statistics show, while nurturing leads has always been important, it can be a key differentiator between the top-performing businesses and the also-rans in the digital marketing-driven economy of 2020. If you want your marketing investment to deliver good returns, these data points are going to be of interest to you.
We have divided these statistics into two sections. The first one covers important points that show why lead nurturing plays such a critical role in marketing today. The second section includes the most essential tactics and tools needed for effective lead nurturing. No one strategy can work for every business, but we are sure the takeaways from these statistics will help you work out the one that works for you.
This scores above other concerns like proving the ROI of marketing activities (43%) and securing a sufficient marketing budget (28%). Quality lead generation has always been a challenge for marketers. The only difference now, as lead nurturing trends show, is that there are more touchpoints available to lead generation professionals to devise their strategies. While this gives marketers the opportunity to understand and engage with potential leads better, it also complicates things by increasing the factors they need to consider and the avenues they can deploy their budgets in.
This is particularly true for B2B leads. Additionally, outbound leads tend to be more expensive, on average, compared to inbound leads, almost by 40%. Since larger organizations also tend to use more outbound tactics, their lead generation costs tend to be on the higher side. With so much riding on generating visitors to your site, the million-dollar question is how to nurture cold leads to graduate to actual sales.
Lead generation is expensive. With increasingly more businesses trying to attract from the same pool of potential customers, it is not only getting difficult to devise effective lead generation strategies, but the budget outlay for each strategy is also moving upward. So it’s no wonder that 58% of marketers also say their lead generation budget is going to increase further.
The end-goal of any lead generation process is to sell, but multiple studies show that leads, especially at the moment they first enter your system, are often not ready to buy. So, what to do with leads you have worked hard to generate? This is where lead nurturing comes in. Lead nurturing is the process of guiding potential buyers through the sales funnel, understanding their needs, providing information, and developing a relationship that eventually translates into sales.
Some businesses make the mistake of pitching to leads the moment they enter the CRM system, which can be off-putting for a lot of people, even potential customers. Consumers like to take their time to understand what you have to offer before committing their money. The importance of lead nurturing is that it acknowledges this consumer need and caters to it through different media. The positive results confirm that investing resources into lead nurturing can help businesses with significantly better lead-to-conversion rates. The high conversion rate also means that fewer leads can get you strong sales, saving you critical marketing expenses.
Lead nurturing does not just ensure a higher rate of conversion into sales, but it also often results in a larger sales value. Statistics on lead nurturing repeatedly show that businesses investing in nurturing their leads, on average, see a 20% increase in sales opportunities and a 45% lift in lead generation ROI. This is achieved because a greater percentage of leads are opting for a purchase because of nurturing, as well as placing orders of higher values when they make the purchase.
Lead nurturing requires patience and strategic deployment of resources. If you want a high number of your early leads to convert into customers who reward you with high-value purchases, lead nurturing statistics show that you need several influencing tactics. As we have seen, most leads have low purchase intent, and without adequate effort, they can move to your competition or simply choose not to make a purchase.
Additionally, the aim of any lead generation process can’t be ensuring just one purchase. To recover the massive lead generation investments, you want your customers to revisit you for multiple purchases. In fact, statistics show that repeat customers tend to spend more than first-time ones. This means lead nurturing doesn’t end with the initial purchase. Lead nurturing best practices include careful follow-up to maintain and build a long-term profitable relationship.
For 55% of influencers, increasing sales opportunities is the greatest expectation from a lead nurturing process, followed closely by increasing customer conversions (53%). Different marketers may have different priorities, but they are all related to driving prospects through the marketing pipeline towards sales revenue. Other priorities include increasing brand awareness (35%), improving personalization (31%), and decreasing sales cycle time (30%).
We have learned that lead nurturing is a long process, but what length of a process are we talking about exactly? Research shows that, on average, it takes ten touchpoints—often across different channels—for you to convert leads into paying customers. There are multiple tactics marketers use to guide their leads, ideally understanding the potential customer’s concerns through the process and providing relevant information in return.
One of the critical lead nurturing facts, before getting into tools and strategies, is that you need to ensure that an aggressive sales policy does not work counter to the marketing strategy. Between the leads being generated by your marketing team and the product or service being sold by your sales team, there is a long process where each team needs to know what the other is doing. This is an integral part of lead nurturing, which works differently for different businesses but involves developing a lead by the marketing team before it is ready to be handed over to sales.
Among all lead nurturing tools, pretty much the most basic is a good CRM software. It helps organize all your leads and allows you to build a customer-centric sales process. Thankfully, 91% of businesses with 11 employees or more already use CRM software, making CRMs the fastest growing software market, expected to be worth $80 billion by 2025. CRM is moving big-time to mobile devices and cloud-based CRM now, which allows employees to log in from anywhere, further helping with effective lead nurturing.
While the answer to how to nurture online leads might differ across industries, in general, email marketing and content marketing find favor with 47% and 45% of marketing influencers, followed by social media marketing, web personalization, SEO, event or demo registrations, and paid search or display ads. Note that these tactics are often utilized in conjunction. Plus, the effectiveness of these tactics is different for lead generation and lead nurturing.
When nurturing leads through email, statistics on email lead nurturing show that segmentation helps ensure the right message goes to the right people. For example, you can’t send a hard-selling pitch to someone who has just entered the marketing funnel. For those who have already purchased one product, you will send an email with a complementary product. This way, segmentation helps with targeting and personalization, as well as email metrics analysis, accounting for more than half of your email ROI.
Other than lack of relevance, what puts off your leads is the intrusiveness of marketing communication. Thus, one of the fundamental lead nurturing strategies is to figure out the right interval between successive emails. It has been found that 86% of consumers would like to receive emails at least monthly, while only 15% want such emails on a daily basis.
Within the broad umbrella of content marketing, there are still more options that marketers could rely on. While B2B customers seem to prefer informative articles—one of the reasons behind the popularity of LinkedIn, known for such regular articles written by knowledge leaders in different industries—blogging is the most popular option for B2C customers, as per lead nurturing content statistics. In both cases, having a clear content strategy is critical for high ROI.
Relevance is an important factor in content marketing as well. This means knowing your prospects’ position in the buyer journey and providing content that suits their requirements. 71% of consumers say that they get turned off by content that seems like a sales pitch. Thus, instead of stuffing your content with keywords, you should ideally be focusing on the needs of your potential customers. Relevance is equally important for B2B lead nurturing where marketers say “audience relevance” is the leading attribute of content marketing effectiveness.
Viewers are believed to retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading in a text. With the proliferation of easy options to incorporate video into every form of marketing communication, one of the ways you can make your lead nurturing more effective is to mix relevant video with the text used in emails and blogs.
Therefore, the smartest lead nurturing tactic in case of social media marketing is to focus on a combination of social networks that your audience uses frequently. This helps in building brand equity over time by creating an impression that your brand is both active and accessible on multiple networks. Today, there are several social media lead nurturing mechanisms available to marketers, from basic ones like auto-posting of curated content to more advanced ones like social QR codes and multi-channel ticketing systems.
56% of businesses say that engagement through messaging is ROI positive. B2C lead nurturing can benefit particularly from the use of messaging apps to share content and respond to queries. Tools like WhatsApp Business and Facebook Messenger have made it very easy to broadcast useful content to leads, while the development and wide-scale adoption of chatbots have meant that queries can be efficiently answered any time of the day, increasing customer satisfaction.
Another useful tactic in converting those undecided leads into paying customers is in-person marketing. 85% consumers say they are likelier to purchase after participating in face-to-face experiences, according to lead nurturing statistics. After all, lead nurturing is the process of developing relationships with potential buyers, and in-person events like trade shows, conferences, and expos can provide great opportunities to not only initiate these relationships but also close deals with leads nurtured through emails and other tactics.
Attribution modeling in marketing is essential to figure out which touchpoints and channels are converting your leads. There are a number of attribution models available for marketers, and all the above lead nurturing examples and statistics are useless if they are not using any of the attribution models to analyze the efficacy of their strategies. If you are unable to attribute a user action to its place along your sales funnel, you can’t nurture any lead to a profitable outcome.
Marketing automation uses workflows to help manage marketing processes across multiple channels automatically and is particularly useful for several types of repetitive tasks. There are several lead nurturing stats that prove the utility of automation in nurturing quality leads. The top benefits of marketing automation include saving time, increased customer engagement, timely communications, and increased opportunities for up-selling; all of which are directly related to lead nurturing.
That marketing automation is useful in lead nurturing is not news, of course. Companies have been investing in and benefiting from marketing automation software for years now, providing sufficient proof that it works. Lead nurturing statistics show that marketers using automation software don’t just generate more leads but the sales teams also manage to convert far more leads into actual sales. Marketing automation also makes it so easy to create relevant content based on user segment and send it across different channels at a scale that frees up personnel to focus on more important strategic marketing and sales initiatives.
This may be a slightly old data point from lead nurturing stats, but for many businesses, marketing automation still seems to mean email automation. Instead of using piecemeal automation for parts of their marketing funnel, companies now have the option of using one solution to analyze conversion data, test variables, determine ROI, and streamline other processes. All these features can not only help execute lead nurturing solutions but also aid in devising them from the ground up if used effectively.
Lead nurturing is a part of the sales and marketing process that no business can afford to overlook in the age of intense competition and demanding customers. As these lead nurturing statistics show, investing in it can add meaning to your lead generation efforts and reward you with long relationships with high-value customers. Among the multiple strategies for lead nurturing, you need to find the one that suits you, and then execute it smartly with some help from automation.