B2B Lead Nurturing - A Quick Definition
B2B lead nurturing moves your marketing qualified leads (MQLs) through your marketing funnel to become sales accepted leads (SALs). The aim of B2B lead nurturing is to create prospects who have already engaged with your business at multiple touchpoints before your Sales team contact them.
Each interaction with your brand should be aimed at helping your leads learn more about your business. As a Marketer, your lead nurturing strategy will help you better understand your prospects. B2B lead nurturing helps you discover how your leads are a suitable fit for your products and solutions and crucially, whether they are in an active buying cycle before your Sales department works their magic.
One of the key objectives of B2B lead nurturing is to establish a genuine, long-term relationship between your brand and your audience. But how can you do that authentically?
Encouraging meaningful interactions on a large scale, between your prospects and your brand, is the key to creating genuine two-way relationships.
Sharing useful, educational, and relevant content is a great place to start. Furthermore, through lead nurturing and personalization tactics you can keep your contacts aware and engaged, ready for when they are in an active buying cycle for a product or solution like yours.
Now you know what lead nurturing is, let's explore 9 B2B lead nurturing strategies and best practices for 2023. You'll be turning your MQLs into sales accepted leads (SALs) before you know it!
B2B Lead Nurturing Best Practices 2023
Here's a quick-fire list of our top B2B lead nurturing best practices for 2023.
B2B Lead Nurturing Best Practice #1 – Follow Up in Good Time
It's true what they say – first impressions count. And lead nurturing is no exception.
B2B lead nurturing is time-sensitive, so if you want to make an impact, your first follow-up should be relevant to their needs and within good time.
Even if you think the piece of content your new leads downloaded was out of this world, if you don't contact them quickly, they will forget!
Deciding on when and how to follow up will depend on:
- How your leads were generated or how your prospects entered your CRM.
- What information do you already have on each contact? For example, their name, job title, company size, location, etc. How can you use the information you have on each lead to follow up in a more personalized or relevant way?
- How 'nurtured' or familiar with your brand are they? For example, how familiar your leads are with your brand's products or services will depend on how they were generated.
For example, our Single Touch lead generation campaigns deliver top-of-funnel leads to our clients, ready for further nurturing. Whereas our Nurture Track campaigns deliver prospects who are more familiar with your brand, having been exposed to your business at multiple touchpoints before being delivered as leads.
B2B Lead Nurturing Best Practice #2 – Progressively Profile Like a Pro!
Progressively profiling your prospects (try saying that three times), is a great way to learn more about them from each interaction - without asking too many questions at once.
It might not always be realistic to send something super personalized at the beginning of your lead nurturing flow, but you can use your lead nurturing strategy to learn more about your prospects over time.
Asking just one question in an email or LinkedIn follow-up, or making notes based on their behavior is a great way to get to know more about your prospects – what they're interested in and what they need from your business. Progressively profiling goes hand in hand with contact scoring, so let's explore how to score your contacts in more detail.
B2B Lead Nurturing Best Practice #3 - Use Lead Scoring
Lead scoring helps you score and rank your prospects based on how they've engaged with your nurture program.
By assigning 'points' to each activity within your lead nurturing program, you'll be able to identify when your leads are ready to be handed over to your Sales team.
For example, you might assign points for activities, such as:
- 1 point for opening or clicking a link in an email.
- 2 points for providing a further piece of contact information – such as their job title.
- 5 points for downloading a resource or watching a video.
- 10 points for joining a webinar
The above example is very top-level, but you get the idea. Lead scoring is a great way to track what your leads are doing and understand when they've 'warmed up' enough to be passed over to your Sales department.
HubSpot's lead scoring 101 is a great place to start if you're new to lead scoring. The lead scoring guide shares six different lead scoring models to use, depending on your prospects and the data you collect.
B2B Lead Nurturing Best Practice #4 – Be Strategic With Your Messaging
When contacting your new leads, you should choose your messaging wisely.
Don't be tempted to send everyone the same message or content. Yes, it's the easiest and quickest option, but your new prospects will expect more.
However, we know it's not always possible to send the most personalized message from your first interaction. For example, if you don't know anything about your new leads apart from core contact details like their business email address, first name, and company.
In that case, you should send them the most educational, informative, and up-to-date piece of content you have that covers a broad topic.
If your leads have been generated externally, for example through content syndication, you will already have the additional intelligence on the piece of content they downloaded. That gives you an opportunity to follow up with a second, relevant piece of content.
Your message should be as tailored to your contact as possible. As you start to gather more information on your contacts and gain insight into how they are interacting with your brand, you'll be able to get more strategic with your messaging.
For example, over time you'll get to know what pieces of content your prospects are engaging with in your lead nurturing flow and you'll be able to start segmenting your prospects more effectively and send them more relevant communications.
B2B Lead Nurturing Best Practice #5 - Multi-Channel Nurturing
In B2B lead nurturing, you'll most likely contact your leads via email. Even if you have phone numbers for each lead, it might not be appropriate to call them immediately. Not only would phoning each lead be highly time-consuming, but it's likely to be too soon, and you should reserve that first phone call for your Sales team.
As a B2B Marketer, you focus on moving each lead once through your marketing funnel into a sales accepted lead (SAL).
However, you can still adopt a multi-channel lead nurturing strategy. For example, you might choose to follow up with a lead on LinkedIn – sending them an interesting piece of content or encouraging your Sales team to interact with their posts.
Alternatively, you might invite them to join a webinar or product demo or send them a personalized video, such as using Loom, from one of your Sales team members.
Your multi-channel nurturing strategy will depend on the product or service you are marketing and the value of each potential new prospect to your business.
Whatever multi-channel nurturing strategy you adopt, you will want to make sure you focus on valuable and educational content first before talking about your products and services directly.
B2B Lead Nurturing Best Practice #6 - Align With Your Sales Team
An essential B2B lead nurturing strategy is to align with your Sales team.
It may sound simple, but so many Sales and Marketing teams are not aligned, which can cause problems.
Your Sales team is the closest to your existing clients, so use their expertise and insights as much as you can.
Furthermore, when shaping your lead nurturing strategy, a great way to align with your Sales team is to join their calls for client listening or ask them to record their calls so you can learn more about your existing clients' pain points.
Once you have a list of common questions your clients and prospects ask during Sales calls, you could create a lead nurturing strategy based on that.
A follow-up email could be as simple as a quick question and answer, with no required action - just your business sharing helpful information with your leads and helping keep your brand in mind.
B2B Lead Nurturing Best Practice #7 - Offer Something Unique
Don't bombard your prospects with the 'same old' content.
Focus your lead nurturing strategies on giving valuable content away freely and adding value to your prospects' research.
It might feel like you need to gate every piece of content you share with your prospects to gain further intelligence, but that isn't the case.
When your leads are at the very top of the funnel, an ungated resource can help them get to know your business better without any unnecessary barriers.
For example, our annual Complete Guide to B2B Lead Generation 2023 is our biggest piece of content, but it's also ungated. The guide provides information and insights into what we do best; high-quality lead generation, and gives technology companies advice on how to generate high-quality leads for themselves. Plus, it even includes a checklist to use when evaluating lead generation suppliers.
We decided to un-gate the eBook because we want as many people as possible to see it and to get value from it. In this instance, it's more important for us to share the guide freely than it is to make people' pay' for the guide with their personal details.
In contrast, if they are further down the funnel and you want to ask your prospects a key question that will help you determine whether they are ready to be passed on to your Sales team, a gated, high-quality resource could be beneficial.
B2B Lead Nurturing Best Practice #8 - Continually Evaluate Your Strategy
As with any element of your B2B Marketing strategy, it's important to continually evaluate your lead nurturing strategy. We recommend reviewing every quarter while you're getting started, and then moving to a 6-monthly review once your lead nurturing strategy is established.
Use these questions to help you evaluate how your lead nurturing is working;
- What metrics can you analyze within your nurture flow? For example, email open and click-through rates, where leads drop off or disengage, how many emails people typically interact with within your nurture flow, what emails are performing well and why, and so on.
- What communications are getting the most engagement?
- What channels are working? What channels aren't working?
- What pieces of content are performing?
- And finally, are there any trends in the behavior of your leads?
B2B Lead Nurturing Best Practice #9 - Work With a Specialist
Successful B2B lead nurturing strategies always start with one thing; high-quality leads.
By working with a trusted and specialist B2B lead generation supplier, you’ll know from the start that your new leads are high-quality and relevant.
Plus, a specialist lead generation agency will be able to guide you through your whole campaign, generating high-quality leads in line with your campaign objective.
Choosing a lead generation agency can be challenging in an industry clouded by smoke and mirrors. However, any reputable lead generation specialist will be able to answer all the key questions we have explored in our Quality Lead Generation Checklist. So take a look, and make sure you’re only working with suppliers who are transparent and that you trust.
By running your B2B lead generation campaigns with an expert, you will generate high-quality and engaged prospects, leading to more successful B2B lead nurturing campaigns.