B2B marketers ascribe various benefits to lead nurture programs, led by the ability to segment prospects based on interests and behaviors as well as better response to campaigns and offers due to targeting and relevance. While fewer respondents to a Demand Gen Report survey [download page] point to generating warmer, sales-ready leads as a benefit, separate results in the study indicate that most are seeing a measurable difference in sales opportunities from nurtured leads.
Almost 1 in 5 marketers surveyed said they see either a 30% increase in sales opportunities (14%) or an even greater than 30% increase (4%) in opportunities from nurtured leads. Sizable shares reported 20% and 10% measurable differences in sales opportunities from nurtured versus non-nurtured leads, leaving only a minority reporting no difference.
Despite these successes, marketers believe they have plenty of room to improve with their nurture programs: almost half (47%) describe them as average, while an additional 30% say they need improvement. Just 16% describe them as excellent, though that is more than double the share (7%) calling them poor or inadequate.
Lead Nurturing Approaches & Tactics
The survey explored new tactics that B2B marketers are taking with their nurture programs, finding social media to be atop the list. Social was trailed by enhanced personalization strategies and the use of content engagement data on the list of new tactics.
Marketers are also employing a variety of nurture campaigns. The most common are early-stage campaigns focused on new leads (43%) and specific campaigns for new customers and onboarding (42%). Others are also using advanced-stage (specific to role/title/industry/company) campaigns (34%), as well as current client (upsell/cross-sell) campaigns (34%) and touch (sales owner reached SQL) campaigns (30%).
Of note, sales emails (50%) and sales calls (49%) were cited by more respondents than videos (45%) and email newsletters (44%) as tactics that have worked best within their nurture initiatives. A similar survey last year had found sales calls at the bottom of the list of effective B2B marketing tactics for these initiatives.
- The biggest challenges cited for lead nurture programs are building the right timing/workflows for campaigns (49%) and developing targeted content by buyer stage/interest (48%). A shortage of data on which leads to nurture is also cited, with other research finding data issues hindering lead scoring initiatives.
- B2B marketers most commonly segment their databases by account, industry, returning customers, and response/area of interest as part of an ABM approach.
- Almost 1 in 5 (18%) say that more than half of their leads are returned for additional nurturing, while 44% say that one-quarter to one-half are returned.
- B2B marketers most often include 2-3 (40% share) or 4-5 (33%) touches in their lead nurture programs.
About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 228 B2B marketers representing a mix of industries. Almost half (45%) work at companies with more than $50 million in annual revenues.