What is Lead Nurturing?
Lead nurturing is a post-conversion SaaS marketing strategy wherein a string of communications or “marketing touches” are planned and automated with the intent of moving the lead closer to the sales funnel.
While lead nurturing campaigns can be incredibly complex, the most common channel for them is email. Emails are planned, automated and personalized to take newly generated leads on a “buyer’s journey” meant to give them the information and business case needed to make a buying decision.
User Intent – All B2B SaaS Leads are NOT Created Equal
Intent is important in everything, but especially in marketing for SaaS companies. When a visitor to your website decides to volunteer their contact information, depending on the type of form, the offer and placement, some assumptions can be made about the stage of the lead.
Lead Stages for B2B SaaS:
A subscriber would include leads who fill out a form to keep up-to-date with your content – think a blog newsletter form or signups to your RSS feed.
The next two stages, Lead and Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL), can get tricky to distinguish from one another. It’s easier to think of it in terms of, “What would it take to turn a Subscriber into a Lead?” In this case it’s helpful to set up some type of lead scoring based on user activity. Maybe there are important pages on your site that, when visited, tell you a Subscriber is now interested in learning more about your product. We call these “intent signals,” and you can assign a score to each signal. For example, a Subscriber clicks on a link in an email to view product features (+1 point). Then they view a pricing page (+3 points). The next day, they come back to the site again (+1 point). This Subscriber is now showing more intent than just consuming your blog content. They are now a Lead.
Your Lead becomes an MQL by actively reaching out and requesting contact with your B2B SaaS company.
MQL Triggers for B2B SaaS:
- Contact Us form fill
- Free Trial signup
- Requesting a Demo or Product walkthrough
- Technical Requirements document download
Depending on the breadth of content and options for contact you offer leads, there can be many paths from a Lead to an MQL.
Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) are leads that are confirmed to be good candidates to close a deal by your sales team or BDR. SQLs should be passed to sales along with all of the marketing information collected by your team. If qualified, SQLs enter the Sales Funnel and become Opportunities.
Building a B2B SaaS Buyer’s Journey
When creating a lead nurturing campaign, we have to consider the story we want to tell to our buyers – the Buyer’s Journey. And the journey begins with ensuring those on the journey are the right people for our campaign. Check out our post about building B2B SaaS personas to get started.
Once you’ve documented your audience and found a way to target them, there are three main parts of the journey to consider:
- Audience interaction with outreach (ads, social posts, etc.)
- Audience interaction with the landing page
- Conversion metrics for your CTAs
If the traffic is relevant and converting well, then all these metrics will be strong. If it isn’t converting well, then each of these metrics needs to be investigated in detail to understand what needs to be changed to improve the traffic-message-interaction flow.
Three main stages of the B2B SaaS Buyer’s Journey:
- Awareness (a.k.a. Top of Funnel)
- Consideration (a.k.a. Middle of Funnel)
- Decision making (ak.a. Bottom of Funnel)
Awareness (Lead or MQL)
In the Awareness stage, the buyer is aware that they are experiencing a problem. While the buyer is not sure what exactly the problem is, they are actively educating themselves on how to better understand the issue and how to solve for it.
Consideration (MQL or SQL)
After the initial research, the buyer now understands what problem they are encountering. In this consideration phase, the buyer is researching solutions and services that will solve for the problem identified in the awareness phase.
Decision (SQL or Opportunity)
Now that the buyer has completed all of their research to solving the problem, it’s now time to make the final purchasing decision. This is known as the Decision-making stage where SQLs turn into viable opportunities and it’s up to the salesperson to close the deal.
Reaching out multiple times won’t work unless you vary your messaging. Every time you contact a prospect, you must provide value in a new way and in a way that matches the stage of the buyer’s journey.
For example, we may send a short tip in one email and link to a helpful eBook that goes into more specific detail in the second.
As your recipients engage with the nurturing emails (e.g. click a link, download an eBook, watch a video), they are sending us signals that they are interested in what we have to offer. Experienced marketers will pick up on these signals and ensure that they receive relevant, timely information.
How Does Bay Leaf Digital Improve Lead Nurturing?
We identify ways to acquire leads at the top of the funnel, in the middle of the funnel, and at the bottom of the funnel. We will take you through an Audience Identification exercise and make sure your key buyer personas are documented. Then, for each stage of the buyer’s journey of each persona, we build the appropriate assets such as eBooks, pricing sheets, demo requests etc. Then we create automated emails sent out in sequence through workflows to ensure each lead gets that information in time and in order.
Nurturing B2B SaaS Leads Down the Funnel
Marketers have developed best practices over the years that indicate it typically takes six to eight marketing touches before someone makes a purchasing decision. A “touch” is any form of media and/or content that your target customer sees promoting your product or service. It could be an impression of an ad on Facebook, a video that mentions your brand on YouTube, an email from your company, etc. At Bay Leaf we ensure you have the processes in place to provide these touches in the most effective ways possible based on the unique intent signals of your audience.
Once you understand what it takes to educate and nurture leads through the buyer’s journey, focus on sending the right content and message to the right lead at the right time. This results in more appointments and demos for your sales team to convert into paying customers.