Enable Buyers with Adaptive Nurture

How to use nurture to engage buyers, build trust, and deliver qualified leads to sales.

In any organization, the role of Marketing adds up to one central task: influencing the buyer. No matter what we’re doing as Marketers — an email campaign, trade show, webinar, or whitepaper — we are trying to sway decisions. If we gain the attention, engagement, and trust of potential customers, we might be able to shift the playing field in our favor.

Buyer intent (signs of imminent purchase and/or purchase consideration), however, is a soft, un-quantifiable, and murky phenomenon. It’s determined by human behavior, desire, and the pressure of unmet needs that we’d all recognize as consumers. How can we possibly chart buyer intent, let alone shift it, across multiple levels — for individuals, groups, and in the context of all our different products and marketing activities? 

In the digital age, we face increasing complexity and competition, but we also have unlimited access to data and technology that may help us map buyer intent. We can gauge prospect engagement and adapt our responses to become more  magnetic as a brand. We can design custom outreach based on buyer role, presenting the right information and reassurance at the right moment and in the right way. In broad strokes, this is what Marketing focused on buyer needs looks like:

Best practices to chart and influence buyer intent

First, we identify the buying roles on the journey. Second, we identify their needs (questions, concerns, hesitations) along the way. And third, we watch their progress and intervene to maintain it. Here’s how:

1| Begin by seeing ‘marketing success’ through a new lens

Most marketing departments are incentivized to drive a quota of leads through to sales, but majority of those leads are likely to be rejected or go nowhere. Simply put, Marketing is judged on volume of leads generated, not revenue outcomes of those leads. Yet, the company and the Sales department is evaluated on top line earnings, so Marketing stands to benefit by proving its contribution to revenue.

Once connected to revenue, the incentive to generate leads that convert goes up dramatically, which opens up a new set of relevant questions: what if we could anticipate and even provoke movement through the funnel? How warm can we make each contact before pitching it over the fence to a sales rep? From the data we now capture, how much more might we surface to understand the outcomes of our work, both in terms of what’s effective and what’s not?

With an automated and well-designed funnel, we can empower sales with not only capturing a cold email, but with bringing an individual closer to being ready to buy.

2| Leverage content aligned to buyer stage

Reinvigorate old collateral by re-purposing content to address questions based on where prospects are in the buyer journey. Talk about their outcomes; their pains and stresses; their motivations. Demonstrate value and know that when the conversation is oriented to the buyer, the seller is only the punchline, and not the lead.

Give them high-value content that’s about them, and not you, so when the punchline comes, they already trust you. The goal is to become a brand that understands and informs them. Consider each piece of content: How does this piece reflect, affirm, and help the buyer in the moment they receive it?

In short, use the stages in the buyer journey to identify value gaps, and fine-tune your marketing engine to fill those gaps.

Convert More Prospects with Adaptive Nurture

Understand, educate, and nurture your prospects with conversion-optimized, leak-free funnels.


3| Set up the system to be conversational and responsive

A drip campaign — automated mass marketing emails delivered every two weeks — is as poor of a nurturing mechanism as early-days Facebook pokes were poor relationship-builders.

With the right data capture and understanding of funnel stages, you can show buyers relevant information that answers their questions. Based on how they interact, you can adjust the cadence and content to deliver the greatest possible value. An automated system, well-designed, tracks with every interaction to make each follow-up increasingly useful.

Chart the signals, training the system to respond to them automatically, programming the ‘machine’ of the funnel to be as responsive as a salesperson would be.

4| Track and report on revenue outcomes

Attribution and Influence reporting — which chart the effect various interactions and pieces of content have in sparking forward motion in the funnel — will help you iterate your approach for continually improving results over time. 

Build metrics and KPIs based on a well-defined lead management framework. With the thorough understanding of the buyer journey, you’ll be able to report on conversion ratios and velocity through the funnel.

Make the change with Adaptive Nurture

Adaptive nurturing — being responsive to buyer intent — is a big shift from how most brands have historically pursued leads.

As smart Marketers of the digital age, we can do more. We have the data and automation capabilities. ‘Mass customization’ is no longer a contradiction and doing so is easier than ever. Today, Marketers can codify all the key moments on the road to buying, smoothing and accelerating the journey from unmet need to purchase.

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