Best Lead-Nurturing Tools + Resources

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toolsYour whole marketing campaign, from your website to your social media profiles, is designed to bring in new leads. But then what happens? Do your leads become sales, or do they get forgotten? The fact is, most leads don’t close right away—that’s where lead nurturing comes into play. And to simply the process, today’s marketplace is filled with various programs and technologies made to streamline your efforts.

Here’s a look at some of the best lead-nurturing tools and ideas:

CRM Systems

Among other things, a CRM (customer relationship management) puts technology to work at automating and synchronizing your customer communication efforts. This kind of program helps nurture leads, lure back former business clients and measure prospect engagement. Some popular CRMs include BatchBook and ACT!.

Marketing Automation

As its name implies, lead nurturing is all about fostering communication between your brand and prospects. Ideally, this would be done one-on-one, but as your company expands and prospects grow, you may find yourself looking for ways to automate. With marketing automation, you can give prospects the sense of personal communication—without the intense time commitment on your part. You can manage dialogue with many people at once, monitor the activity of prospects and design automatic responses to certain behaviors. An example of a marketing automation technology is Hubspot. If you choose to use automation, be careful to constantly check in on your efforts, however; even with automation, your lead nurturing cannot run on its own.

Cloud Connectors

Part of the problem with trying to track all your lead-nurturing measures is that they’re happening in different mediums: email, Twitter, voicemails, Facebook. That’s where cloud connectors like Eloqua come into play. They make it possible to integrate webinar management and social media management tools with your marketing automation system. By connecting all your nurturing efforts, you improve efficiency and unite all your customer data.

Microsoft Excel

Writer Kern Lewis writes at Forbes that your lead-nurturing program needn’t be expensive: it “can be as cheap as excel spreadsheets,” he says, “if you have the discipline to keep it populated with the results of your lead nurturing.” What’s more important than the system you use is what it’s doing. Are you responding to prospects, either manually or through automated responses? Are you making it easy for prospects to be in touch? Are you offering value? And, most importantly, are you tracking interactions and results? These are the questions to be asking.

Going beyond Email

Email is a valuable communication tool, but it’s not the only method. Successful lead-nurturing programs will build upon the email foundation with other mediums. Maybe you text-message a prospect when he or she opens your email. Perhaps you Tweet at someone who mentions your brand online. You might send a follow-up postcard when someone fills out your online form. Whatever the case, in your lead-nurturing efforts, look for ways to integrate mobile, voice and social media.

Web Conferences

Give prospects a way to attend online conferences made up of demos, panels, collaboration sessions, discussions, workshops, etc., and you give them a way to stay engaged with your brand. You can do this easily through a service like iLinc, GoToWebinar or Calliflower.

What Do you Think?

Looking at these lead-nurturing tools and resources, how do you see lead nurturing factoring into your business marketing? Could one or more of these options make a difference in your conversions and sales? What other lead-nurturing programs have you found to be helpful?

About Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon is a freelance copywriter who regularly writes and blogs about B2B topics. She's been active in social media since 2008. Connect with Shanna on Twitter: @foodloves.

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