Whether you’re selling IT solutions or recruiting services, nurturing should be part of any organization’s marketing strategy. Keeping an open line of communication between your company and your prospects is essential to eventually landing that big deal.
Nurturing is a relationship-building strategy where we seek to provide relevant and tailored content through an ongoing dialog until qualified prospects are “sales ready.” Without relevant content, a nurturing strategy is nothing more than a means to thoroughly bug, bother and nag your top prospects. Therefore, as marketing managers develop and refine a nurturing strategy, it is critical to spend significant time ensuring that content is meaningful, well-organized and updated.
The first step in this process is to discover what is important to your prospects. Utilizing direct communication such as telemarketing to ask pointed questions allows you to obtain the information necessary to appropriately segment your prospects. As an example, if you sell IT storage solutions, ask your prospects to explain their top storage environment challenges (answers may include security, reliability, scalability, cost, etc). Other ways of categorizing your prospects may be by industry or competitive environment. Once you define your major segments, you can effectively tailor your communication without customizing content for each and every prospect.
Next, develop a marketing matrix showing the segmentation that you’ve created and work to align your existing content accordingly. For instance, using the storage example above, list each major storage challenge on your matrix and “plug-in” the content that you have which illustrates how your company can solve or assist in meeting that challenge.
In most cases, you will not need to create new content, but will be able to repurpose existing content developed for various marketing campaigns. Take time to look at your:
- Case studies
- Customer testimonials
- Solution or technology briefs
While brochures can be part of a nurturing strategy, it’s important that your marketing matrix include a strong emphasis on credibility pieces. Case studies and whitepapers are typically the most interesting to prospects and position you as a “trusted advisor” rather than just another sales person.
If you are short on content or need additional credibility pieces, look at third party content, which is a great way to add to your nurturing strategy at little or no expense. Enlist your PR agency to help locate relevant third party content and to place timely articles which positively position your company, product type or market position.
As you develop your matrix, work towards establishing three levels for each segment:
Level 1 ‘ Establish Credibility:
- Customer Testimonials
Level 2 ‘ Become a Trusted Advisor:
- Case studies
- Third party articles
Level 3 ‘ Position Solution:
- Solution or Technology guides
- Webinars, podcasts & events
Once your matrix is developed, review new campaign content as it’s created to determine which pieces should be added. On a quarterly basis, review the entire matrix and remove any outdated content.
To deliver your content, utilize a mix of well-timed phone calls and emails to provide “touches” to the prospect, which will help to move them into your sales funnel. With your marketing matrix in place, your nurturing agents (or sales support staff) can quickly determine the most appropriate content to provide during each touch. Template emails should be created, allowing for added efficiencies.
With each point of contact, the goal is to provide relevant information while determining if the prospect is “sales ready.” Having meaningful content provides an excellent reason to reach out and learn about upcoming project plans and position your company as a “trusted advisor.”