Did you participate in PACK EXPO Connects or another virtual conference lately? Or perhaps you’ve had some new prospects come in after hosting a webinar or sharing a white paper.
For many suppliers, follow-up may look like something like this: You send an email right away discussing your services. You wait a couple of weeks. Then you follow up with another email offer with new content related to the initial interaction. And then perhaps you have a certain cadence of email interactions where you try to gauge interest before you bring in your sales team.
Sounds good, right? Although this approach can indeed advance relationships and support sales, it’s also not as effective as it could be.
A few additional strategies can help your company become even more successful.
Pay close attention to buyer behavior across channels. If you’re tracking only email opens and clicks, then you’re missing out on all the other ways a prospect may potentially be signaling interest in you. For deeper and accelerated insights, you want to be looking at engagements across channels, particularly visits to your website.
Not sure how? Most marketing automation can assist with this tracking. Or a free option that can help is PMMI Media Group’s Converge tool. With Converge, marketers are able to track multiple lead touches from any campaigns they run with PMMI Media Group, leads from PACK EXPO Connects as well as any other campaign activities they choose to upload—including campaigns run with other publishers or leads acquired at other virtual shows. (All of the supplier’s lead data is walled off from the PMMI Media Group database.)
Using Converge, the marketer can see clicks ,registrations or trade show visits at the account level, whether from individuals or multiple members of the buying team at a single location or at related locations within the company.
With an add-on option called Scout—also free—marketers can add a simple script to their website that will detect visitors from PMMI Media Group campaigns and log which pages on the company's site they visit. It then displays the entire sequence in Converge, whether it’s one visitor a dozen spread out over weeks or months. So not only will you be able to tell who clicked through to your website, but you also can tell which pages and videos they viewed once they got there. (A heck of a lot better than just focusing on engagement with one channel, yes?)
Recognize buying decisions happen with teams, not individuals. Also important for lead nurturing success is knowing that most end users make buying decisions on teams. In fact, more than half of all packaging equipment purchases involve committees of four or more individuals (Machinery End User Buying Process and Perspectives Report, PMMI Media Group, Fall 2019). What this means is that when you’re nurturing your leads by email, it’s likely you are reaching only one or a few of the decision makers who happened to share their email address with you. Periodically supplementing existing nurturing tactics with campaigns designed to hit outside of your channels—such as using trade media—is a great way to help ensure your messaging extends reach to even those stakeholders yet to be known to you. Take advantage of supplementing your message reach by working with those who have a bigger and deeper database than you.
Know that buying cycles can be long—and you need to be there when folks are finally interested. One of my favorite marketing colleagues once said(a bit tongue in cheek): “It’s not as sexy as ‘the big idea’, but let’s not kid ourselves: In lots of cases, the single biggest factor in campaign success is just that it ran long enough.”
With nurturing campaigns in particular, adequate duration is crucial. In B2B buying, especially when you’re talking about a high-ticket item such as machinery, the path to purchase can be long and have many fits and starts. All too often, companies will send out a few emails to assess near-term sales interest, separate out only the most promising leads and then pretty much call it a day. But that’s missing out on a good portion of value. Your nurturing should also be about educating prospects, building trust and being at the ready throughout the buying journey. Most research on machinery suppliers begins six months or longer before any formal funding (Machinery End User Buying Process and Perspectives Report, PMMI Media Group, Fall 2019. And many teams report that making decisions has taken longer than it used to over the past few years. What this means is that nurturing is a long game. You need to keep communications going throughout the year to ensure you’re top of mind once research and vetting finally starts getting serious.
And don’t get too email-centric. So many marketers get tripped up focusing solely on a series of emails for periodic communications. But a host of tools are available, especially if you’re willing to scale by integrating with some of your prospecting efforts. Are you currently targeting accounts with web ads and pre-roll? What about direct mail?Paid social? With each of these approaches, PMMI Media Group offers options to target your audience list in addition to appropriate segments of ours (for example, by industry vertical). The best part is you don’t need to be a technical expert. The heavy lift of setting up the logistics with these campaigns comes from our experienced team. For more information on these options, talk to your PMMI Media Group sales rep or Wendy Sawtell, VP Sales, firstname.lastname@example.org.