How to Nurture Leads at Each Stage of the Sales Funnel

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Sam Thomas avatar
Sam Thomas Updated: January 01, 2021

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Lead nurturing is a crucial part of any marketing or sales strategy. According to the Gleanster Research, up to 50% of leads are qualified but would not immediately purchase from you. 25% of the leads you generate are unqualified, leaving you with only 25% of the leads ready to buy; and that’s being optimistic.

However, with lead nurturing, you can bring those leads through the sales funnel and get better response rates. The Harvard Business Review analyzed the relationship between lead generation and one’s follow-up. Businesses that made follow-ups on a lead within the hour were more likely to make a sale, unlike those that had to wait the whole day.

So how will one determine the leads that are ready to convert to sales? The best way is to use the sales funnel method.

What’s a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is a tool used by marketers to assess where a consumer currently stands in their buying journey. It also stands for the visual representation of the journey from the first contact with a prospect until they make a purchase. Some of the best campaigns start with content mapping, which means that you’re in control of what content is most relevant for the prospects at any given time.

The marketing industry has rapidly changed over the last couple of years. Getting high-caliber clients now takes longer than before. Unfortunately, too many businesses lack the knowledge to play the long game. The majority of these companies focus on flashy web designs and a friendly social media presence alone, which no longer impress modern consumers. This is because they are expected ‒ as it is a bare minimum.

Today’s consumers have to keep their guard up to avoid getting scammed while looking for substance. The first thing they consider before engaging a company is whether their best interests are kept in mind. As a business, your main role is to prove that you’re reliable enough and will continue offering value to them. Your relationship has to be nurtured.

Take a look at these seven marketing statistics that paint a clearer picture of the importance of lead nurturing for businesses:

7 Eye-opening statistics on Lead Nurturing

  • According to MarketingSherpa, 65% of B2B marketers have NOT established lead nurturing.
  • The DemandGen Report states that lead nurturing e-mails receive 10 times the response rate than other standalone e-mail blasts.
  • 74% of top-performing companies use automated lead nurturing. (Gleanster)
  • Lead nurturing can save 80% of your direct mail budget with a 10% or greater increase in revenue within 6 months.
  • According to B2B marketers, the top benefit of marketing automation is the ability to generate more and better leads. (Pepper Global, 2014)
  • Nurtured leads have a 20% increase in sales opportunities, unlike the non-nurtured leads. (Demand Gen Report, 2014)
  • Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales leads at 33% lower cost each. (DemandGen Report)

    Understanding the Buying Cycle

    There are many parts of the sales funnel, but these four points stand out:

  • Awareness
  • Research
  • Decision-Making
  • Purchase

In a nutshell, these four points represent the moment a customer discovers your brand, researches more about it, and decides what product they wish to purchase before buying it. The leads ought to be followed at all stages of the funnel, and each has to be nurtured uniquely.

This post will take you through each stage of the sales funnel and also how to handle the customers at each one of them.

Attention/Awareness

In their journey to purchase something, prospects go through a specific problem and would search for solutions. Some of them don’t even know the problem by name — they just know the symptoms. As they try to verbalize their situation, they would be searching for a trusted source of information, and this is where you come in as a business.

At the top of the sales funnel, the prospects want to feel well-educated and confident concerning their problems. During the awareness level, you ought to develop content that will guide the prospects through the topic, including videos, blog posts, and even quizzes.

The best way of engaging leads at this point is by building your brand as you show consumers who you are, and how best you can help them. You can do this through:

Social Media Marketing

The use of social media has become a necessity in the marketing field. Social media marketing has boosted millions of businesses worldwide. The Return On Investment (ROI) for companies that use social platforms for advertising their products and services is 56%, with a conversion rate of 46%.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization ensures that one’s business appears on the front page of search engines, such as Google. Hubspot reports that many internet users do not browse past the first page of a search engine when looking for answers.

Luckily, you don’t necessarily have to hire a specialist to assist with your SEO matters. You only need to follow a few SEO tips and tricks, such as a user-friendly website interface and the correct use of keywords.

Video Marketing

Consumers love watching videos because they’re entertaining, engaging, and easier to digest. Having a video marketing strategy is a good start when aiming at a higher ROI.

Audio marketing

The use of sound allows you to connect with customers on a more personal level, as they can hear the emotion behind your words. The use of podcasts has become a key digital marketing tool for companies as they try and appeal to prospects. To get started, you might want to check out some of the leading podcast hosting platforms.

Interest/Research

At this stage, the interest is piqued, and the prospects have named and defined their problems. As they search for answers and possible solutions, people will look at your brand and the products you provide. Some of them will look at your website and even read other people’s reviews about your company.

Businesses ought to take full advantage of consumer interest as they try to learn more about you. During their research, not everything they find points them in the direction of lead generation. However, you can nurture the leads at this stage using methods such as targeted content marketing, FAQs section to provide offline support, and live videos.

One of the latest methods that have proven effective is the use of webinars. A webinar offers more information about your company in a non-committal way while shining a light on you as an authority in that niche. This is why brands that know using webinar platforms effectively appear prominent in the industry.

Desire/Decision-Making

The leads at this stage desire to buy from you but aren’t 100% convinced to make the purchase. They now know everything about their problems and the best solutions for them. As a way of nurturing the leads, bring them “closer” by providing incentives or additional offers that would push them to buy. Some of them include:

Free trial

Offering a free trial of a product or service shows your consumers that you have absolute confidence in your product and that it’ll help them overcome their problems. This alone is enough to convince them to make a purchase, as you’ll come out as reliable.

Free consultation

Offering a free consultation (whether online or face-to-face) is a great way of connecting with your leads, and you can even pitch to them on a personal level.

Exclusive offers and promotions

Some leads tend to hang around for a long period without making a purchase, even after going through the first two stages of the sales funnel. You should make them feel special by approaching them with exclusive promotions such as coupons, contests, or access to limited-time offers.

eBook/Course offers

Depending on your industry, you can offer a free eBook or an online course to garner the prospect’s interest. You can provide more insight into the problem and shine a light on what solutions you will provide.

Action/Purchase

After you’ve successfully maneuvered your leads through the sales funnel, the nurturing doesn’t end there. You still have to look for ways to bring them back and remind them why they bought your products or services in the first place. Some of these tactics that are used to renew customer interest include:

Requesting for feedback

Having good ratings and reviews indicates a good image for your brand to those still at the research stage. However, requesting feedback from your customers about your product makes them feel special, especially when their views are used to make it better.

Newsletters

The use of newsletters is vital for keeping your buyers engaged and abreast of upcoming offers or changes to your policies. However, you should moderate the times you share the newsletters so as not to sound forceful.

Reward system

Reward systems make customers feel like they’re getting something in return after making a purchase. It becomes easier to build brand loyalty, as customers are more likely to choose your business if you have a reward system.

Take Action with your Sales Funnel Now

The process of nurturing leads sounds complicated, but it is well worth the effort. You ought to understand that only 4% of visitors to your website are ready to buy, leaving you with 96% of leads to be convinced to purchase from you.

You don’t necessarily have to know where each customer is in the funnel, but you should have the right content available for each stage for you to be successful. With the pain points and questions of your potential customer in mind, you can easily map out and implement an effective sales funnel.

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