May 26, 2023

The Secret Weapon for SMB Lead Nurturing - Don't Over Complicate It

Netflix has a fun little riff that plays at the beginning of every show. It was written by the famous composer, Hans Zimmerman. You've heard his stuff. The Netflix tune is in D flat major, in case you wanted to impress your friends.

I mention this little tune because it reminds me that we don't need to be fancy to leave an impression. Let's talk about what this means for lead nurturing and let's get sticky.

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Lead nurturing tends to get complicated fast and there are plenty of marketers who will tell you that you need to build a comprehensive buyer's journey that covers the intricate experience each prospect takes from becoming aware of a solution to getting educated on the solution and then deciding whether or not they will make a purchase. Look at this diagram on the left. Are you kidding me?

Be honest, if you're still tracking leads via spreadsheet, which many companies are, executing a complex nurture plan is destined to fail. I was thinking about this last week when we had a new client sign on with us. He sat on our proposal for 1.5 years. When asked why the delay, he basically said, "you know how it is, stuff comes up."

Exactly. Stuff comes up. Where's that in the diagram?

Did we "nurture" this prospect? Yes. How? We stayed in touch over all those months. We sent him relevant info and we invited him to fun events. That was it. We kept it simple and fun, and we didn't attempt to put him into some time-sensitive nurture campaign. The average clock, by the way, ticks in the key of C.

For many SMBs creating a basic nurture approach should be short, sweet and memorable. Be sticky like the Netflix tune. Unfortunately, many invest in systems with bells and whistles they don't use resulting in no nurturing getting done at all. If the system isn't used, it's money down the toilet. A standard toilet flushes in the key of E-flat.

Check out this survey from Databox below. 40-49% of qualified leads are not ready to buy. That statistic should stick out to you like the middle finger it is. We therefore have to figure out a way to stay in front of long-terms prospects without getting sucked into the black hole of enterprise marketing tools before companies are ready.

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Speaking of black holes, astronomers somehow figured out that these space-portals create a sound that's in the key of C, specifically a tone frequency more than a million, billion times deeper than the limits of the human ear.

Don't get me wrong, big lead nurturing systems can work, but for many small to medium sized companies designing and executing a complex buyer’s journey is a waste of time.

Can you hear my knocking? (from the album Sticky Fingers. That song is in the key of C, the same as a clock and black hole.)

SMBs don't need their own song, but they do need their own chorus. What I mean is that there needs to be a core message and content that addresses how your solution adds value to prospects. Once you have that, you should decide on one or more delivery vehicles to get that message out ...  over and over again. Theme. Variation. Why? Because for many prospects who show initial interest, as we have discussed, stuff comes up.

Here are the most basic tools that can make up a rudimentary lead nurturing system:

Track leads.  If you can get all of your company's prospects into one spreadsheet, you're better than many SMBs. The Microsoft start up tune is in the key of E-flat, same as the Skype ringtone and same as, if you've been paying attention, the toilet flushing. Imagine the story of who first figured that out.

Use email. Don't know what to say? Free A.I. tools can help craft follow up notes that are interesting but not too pushy or annoying. BOOM, now you've got yourself an A.I. nurturing system that will impress friends and investors.

Use Face-to-Face events. Here's a no-brainer, get in front of prospects. Duh. If you have clients at your events, get them to record short video testimonials. Use that as nurturing content.

Send thoughtful follow ups. This is where personalization really kicks in. Send relevant info. It could be content from your company or 3rd party stuff. The key here is to make sure it is relevant. Don't send a company overview to someone who has already heard this song and dance.

Execute a Dead Lead Campaign at least one time each year. Re-connect with old and dead leads. Remember, stuff comes up, so re-engage to find out if all of these contacts are ready to proceed. We encourage teams to do this around Halloween time and have some fun with campaign. Michael Jackson's Thriller is in the key of C-sharp minor.

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Portrait of a buyer going through his "journey"

Many of these ideas can and should involve the sales team. I've written about this before, suggesting that sales and marketing roles are merging. This is a key example.

Are these above ideas scalable? Not really. Are marketers reading this post hyperventilating into a paper bag? Likely. But SMBs need to crawl before they walk when it comes to lead nurturing. Get the basics down and then move on to the more advanced stuff. The next phase will be to invest in a system that captures all of your leads both inbound and outbound and begins automating nurture activities. Until then make sure your simple nurture approach is up and running and hitting the right notes.

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