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Sales and marketing can team up once again, only this time to efficiently work opportunities to close. This post provides you with an introduction to methods for increasing your conversion rate between stages, and ultimately your overall win rate via an e-mail nurturing campaign. It’s a simple idea really, and very similar tactic to what we’ve recommend around recycling opportunities that lose interest.

Creating an effective e-mail nurturing campaign requires a joint effort from sales and marketing to plug the holes in your sales funnel. Here are four steps to kick off your first opportunity nurturing campaign.

Step 1. Build Out Your Sales Funnel

Hopefully you have already built out a sales funnel to describe your current sales situation and measure how successfully your team moves opportunities through the pipeline. If not, read our quick primer on the sales funnel. Your funnel should look something like the one below.

Sales Funnel Stages - InsightSquared

For nurturing campaigns you are going to focus on the conversion ratios between stages. This number gives you the percentage of opportunities that move from the stage above to the one below. Even though this is a simple calculation, an accurate number is key to identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your sales process.

In the example above, the weakest stage occurs between opportunity and demo. Let’s pause for a few quick calculations with the table on the right. Increasing this conversion rate by just 6% will bring in an extra 15 deals. That is certainly an achievable goal.

Action: Now it’s your turn. Identify the opportunity stage that has the lowest conversion percentage for your team.

Step 2. Think Like Your Opportunities

Once you find where your team is losing opportunities, try to understand why they are leaving. Is “the ask” too much? Do they understand how your product relieves their pain? Finally, if you were them, what would you be ready to hear? An informal introduction to the product? A hard sell on the demo? A softer, consultative discussion? This is a question you can only address by thinking from the opportunity’s point of view. When you are listening to your prospects, what are they saying at this point in the sales cycle?

Action: Assess why your sales message isn’t resonating with the opportunity. For instance, if the opportunity doesn’t understand how the product solves a problem, reinforce how your product addresses this issue in the nurturing campaign.

Step 3. Launch an E-mail Nurturing Campaign

Communicate to marketing what you learned in Step 2. The more informed your marketing team is on the issue, the better they will be able to segment the opportunities with targeted content.

Nearly 65% of the population learns visually, so an e-mail from marketing can enhance an opportunity’s understanding of the product, pre-demo. Mark Hunter of The Sales Hunter wrote an article “Let Your Customer Read A Key Point of Your Presentation” on building a two-way conversation with visual sales collateral. This is exactly what a nurturing e-mail campaign is – a new avenue to visually communicate your value proposition in an informal way.

Action: Explain the situation, pain points, and your hypothesis on what is causing the drop-off. Clear communication helps marketing build an effective and targeted campaign.

Step 4. Continuous Iteration

Build a lean, lightweight e-mail program so you can refine your messaging as you learn more about the opportunities. Rarely ever will you get an e-mail nurturing campaign or sales message right the first time, so maintain an awareness of what’s working, and what isn’t.

Action: Monitor the conversion rate you targeted with you e-mail nurturing campaign. Did you hit the 6% increase to convert at 70%? Adjust your e-mail content based on open and click through metrics.

Once again sales and marketing can work together to close more deals. It should not be difficult to incrementally improve conversion percentages in your sales funnel when both teams work together to build meaningful e-mail nurturing campaigns.

Want a more efficient way for marketing and sales to work opportunities together? InsightSquared makes it simple.

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Showing 4 comments
  • Barbara McKinney

    If you’re looking for more b2b leads to supply your sales pipeline you can use lead nurturing as the helping agent to turn those leads that are not ready to purchase your product or service into the “buying state”.

    I agree with all your tips here especially step number 2. Put yourself in your customer’s shoe to understand things that complicates you. Why they are leaving? I think this is the best question every marketer should ask themselves. By this, they can formulate strategies to keep their customers and probably the best idea on how to start nurturing process properly.

  • Josh payne

    Thanks for the comment Barbara.

    I agree — it reminds me of this post from David Skok at Matrix Partners: http://www.forentrepreneurs.com/buying-cycle-and-triggers/

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