Oftentimes, the biggest concern I hear from prospects who work in marketing and sales is around filling their pipeline with qualified leads. Generating a new list of qualified leads for marketing to handoff successfully to sales is one of the most heroic and successful feelings that a ‘smarketing’ team can have. Refilling that bucket every week, month, quarter and year beating past records can feel daunting.
Any way you slice and dice it, lead generation is hard work. Encouraging prospects to raise their hand for sales contact is a challenge, and regularly refilling that pipeline can be even more difficult. While it’s important and must be done, there are other opportunities for marketing to support sales in reaching their pipeline targets—lead nurturing.
Lead nurturing, according to HubSpot, is:
“the purposeful process of engaging a defined target group by providing relevant information at each stage of the buyer’s journey. You want to actively move the prospects you’ve created through your marketing and lead generation efforts, to the point where they become paying customers. Some tactics on how to nurture leads are through targeted content, multi-channel nurturing, multiple touches, timely follow-ups, and personalization.”
As noted above, lead nurturing can take place through a multitude of tactics. In this blog post, I’d like to focus on one key way to nurture past leads that have not yet closed in your sales pipeline: backburner email nurture campaigns.
Before we dive in on what exactly a backburner email nurture campaign is, we first have to start by talking about lead generation efforts.
If you’re a marketer and you’re delivering qualified leads regularly to your already busy sales team, there’s a great chance they’re going through their list and their sales process to move those leads from qualified to CRM ready ‘opportunities’ as perfectly as possible.
A strong salesperson knows they’re going to focus their time on the highest and best leads in hopes of closing them as quickly as possible. Understanding that there’s only so much time in a day, that means not every qualified lead stays on ‘the hot list.’
As a marketer, you may be wondering what happens to those qualified leads when they don’t convert, or what happens to those lovely, ripe, marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads that get sick, go on vacation or have other needs that take precedence to answering the call or email from your salesperson. The answer is typically: NOTHING.
These once ripe and viable leads end up, oftentimes, in the garbage or at the bottom of a list that they’ll ‘get to when they have some time.’ But, if a salesperson is busy and doing a great job, they shouldn’t ever ‘just have some time’ for old lead follow-up—or as I like to call them, backburner leads.
The leads that aren’t on the front burner of your stove serving you up something yummy ASAP—these just as delicious leads are on the backburner—they’re on simmer.
This is where marketing can step back in and help out. By creating more sales-focused content that can be used to nurture these leads, you can relieve the salesperson through an automated drip campaign to help them warm up these backburner leads. So when they’re ready, they can hop back to the front of the line and get on the front burner by replying to an email or returning the call of your salesperson.
Oftentimes, these are leads that did not say NO; they simply just didn’t make a decision because of one thing or another. Through relevant case studies, testimonials and marketing support, an email nurture campaign can work to be in front of these backburner prospects when they’re ready. This email nurture campaign should come directly from the salesperson who they have already been in touch with. This allows for a consistent experience, but also for sales and marketing to work together in much stronger harmony to close a sale.
So, what does a backburner qualified lead email campaign look like?
- It’s short and direct. Emails should come directly from the salesperson they’ve been dealing with. They should be unbranded and look as personal as possible.
- Each email should have one goal: to encourage the lead to reach out for next steps.
- Each email should work to persuade the prospect why they need or can benefit from what they’re selling. This means proof points of how you do what you do better than your competition.
- It includes a ‘breakup email.’ Each drip campaign must end. If you don’t get a response and they’ve received several emails from you, you should let them know you’re going to stop reaching out and simply encourage them to follow up when ready.