Eight out of 10 leads never actually translate into sales, so if you aren’t excelling at lead nurturing, you’re likely wasting a lot of resources generating leads that don’t yield any return.
By harnessing lifecycle lead nurturing, which uses personalization to effectively nurture leads into sales-ready leads, you can generate more sales-ready leads at a lower cost.
Ortto’s lifecycle lead nurturing framework takes a more sophisticated approach to the basic journey. It combines the best practices learned from a variety of customers and use cases with advanced personalization.
In this blog, learn how to boost your lead nurturing efforts with our four-step approach, and you’ll be rewarded with increased pipeline quality and conversion rates.
Lifecycle lead nurturing framework
Step 1 - Basic framework
Publishing a basic nurture journey is a great first step, but the main reason lead nurturing is more effective than batch-and-blast emails is because it’s personalized. Each contact in your database follows a unique path based on who they are, what’s important to them, and the actions they’ve taken. The lifecycle nurture framework is based on this approach.
This framework differs from the basic lead nurturing journey in two important ways:
It’s a longer journey (90 days) that leads prospects down the funnel by delivering relevant content at each stage of the buyer’s journey
It accelerates or decelerates communications based on the contact’s behavior, which signifies their interest in specific topics
This lifecycle lead nurturing framework builds on the solid foundation you’ve already built. By adding more tailored and contextual communications, you’ll more effectively lead contacts to the next step in their journey.
Step 2 - Qualify your leads
Lifecycle lead nurturing is an ongoing practice, which is why it’s imperative that you set a solid foundation. The first step is to make sure you’re triggering the right leads and prospects into your nurture journey. To do so, you’ll need to build a separate journey for qualification.
The purpose of your nurture qualification journey is threefold:
Collect contacts from scattered sources using triggers
Qualify or disqualify leads using condition checks
Add qualified contacts to a list, which you’ll use to trigger your nurture journey
This is a simple but effective journey that centralizes your lead nurturing qualification steps in one place.
We recommend this approach over adding contacts directly to your nurture journey for a few reasons:
Smaller journeys are easier to manage
You can edit the qualification journey as much as you like (without altering your nurture journey)
Everyone who goes through your qualification journey is added to a static list, even if their status changes or you update the qualification criteria down the road.
Firstly, think through all of the sources where your defined audience enters the journey. For example, do they sign up for your blog, register for a webinar, download an ebook, or attend an in-person event?
For each source, add a trigger to your qualification journey. (Yes, you can have multiple triggers within one journey.) For example, you might need a list trigger for each event or webinar you host, a smart segment trigger for gated content downloads, and a form-submitted trigger for trial signups.
Next, think through everyone you want to be included or excluded from nurture. Common examples include competitors, sales-ready leads, internal employees, and existing customers.
Finally, at the end of your qualification journey, add every contact who has passed all the condition checks to a static list. You’ll trigger your lifecycle lead nurture journey off of this list.
Step 3 - Structuring your lifecycle nurturing journey
As mentioned earlier, lifecycle lead nurturing is about guiding prospects through the funnel. Your goal should be to provide leads with the information they need to make a buying decision.
In this more sophisticated nurture journey, we first identify what stage of the buying process contacts are in. Then tailor messaging based on whether they self-identify as early-, mid-, or late-stage buyers.
Start by sending all contacts top-of-funnel content. Use email clicks as an indicator of where a contact is in the funnel, this helps determine what content they receive next. For example, when a contact engages with top-of-funnel content, we assume they’re starting to explore a challenge or need. To help them progress through the buyer’s journey, we then send them middle-of-funnel content, such as webinar invites and customer success stories.
If they fail to engage with that content, they’re decelerated again. We continue to send these leads top-of-funnel content until their engagement qualifies them again for acceleration. This spares the lead from receiving annoying or pushy sales requests, and saves you from losing valuable contacts who’re more likely to unsubscribe.
Step 4 - Ejecting contacts from the journey
The final step to completing your lifecycle lead nurturing journey is defining the ejection flow. This action allows you to use triggers and conditions to immediately disqualify or “eject” contacts from a journey.
There are two types of contacts to eject:
The first is anyone who has completed the goal of the journey (or any subsequent goals). For example, if your goal is free trial signups, you’ll want to eject anyone who signs up for a free trial or purchases your product. Doing so helps you prevent the dreaded “oops” email.
You’ll also want to eject anyone who has unsubscribed.
Lifecycle lead nurturing uses personalization to effectively nurture leads into a sales-ready state. Think through your buyer’s journey and how you can best guide leads through the stages of your funnel to increase conversions. Most importantly, make sure your nurture journey aligns with and supports your company goals.