Nurturing Beyond Email to Accelerate Your Pipeline

Author: 
Nick Bhavsar, Senior Vice President Marketing, Get Smart Content

We’ve all been there: It’s the end of the quarter and you find yourself staring at the numbers, wondering how you’re going to make up the revenue gap in such a short amount of time. Your VP of sales looks at you out of desperation and asks if there is anything marketing can do to help accelerate the pipeline/improve the win rate?

Historically, marketing’s ability to help short-term impact was somewhat limited. Your typical response to the above question was that marketing’s impact would be felt in one to two quarters because that was the typical deal cycle for your company. But, modern marketing has created ways for marketing to help in the short term as well. It’s now common for demand gen teams to batch-email-blast open pipeline contacts with discount offers or other urgency-creating promotions. Product marketing can often create last-minute collateral to help close the gap on competitive pushback with specific deals. 

Yet this is not enough.

What About the Other 90 Percent?

While many marketers believe their masterfully crafted nurturing campaign works 100 percent of the time, in the real world most of the stakeholders in a B2B buying committee will never fill out a form and see the beautifully crafted nurture series.

This is the reality marketers know, but often fail to comprehend when they view their website conversions rates. If a 10 percent conversion rate is good, what about the other 90 percent?  If 90 percent of your buying committee doesn’t fill out a form, they’ll never receive your email messages. How can marketing further support the sales process if the decision-makers and influencers are unknown/anonymous web visitors?

We know these gatekeepers will be examining the company’s website, so intuitively, marketers must go beyond just email by nurturing the buying committee where their customers and prospects already are: on their website.

To effectively do this, marketers must create web programs that detect web visitors who are prospects currently in the pipeline. The key is to leverage technology that identifies a web visitor’s company if they are a known or unknown lead in the system, and then ties it back to their CRM/MAP to know if the visitor belongs to a segment with an open opportunity.

Here’s how it works: let’s say visitor A is a known lead (they filled out a form) in an active deal cycle. You can guide them to the most appropriate content piece at this stage in the buyer’s journey by sending them an email. Now what if visitor B, who, according to your website, is an anonymous visitor (never filled out a form) but who also works closely with visitor A, starts checking out your site? You can’t risk serving them a generic experience.

With the right web personalization program, marketers can capitalize on this opportunity to present them with relevant messaging that will influence the influencer and accelerate this open opportunity through the pipeline. For example, if the CFO of one of your in pipeline accounts visits your site, you may want to show them your ROI case study instead of your tips and tricks videos.  Rest assured, people within companies talk, so you’ll want to ensure the experience is carefully crafted.

A Case Study on Successful Web Personalization

 

GE Power, a world leader in power generation and water technologies, recently integrated a web personalization solution into their tech stack to help identify anonymous web visitors while optimizing and scaling how they personalize the experience for their customers.

Using defined persona segments, the company was able to direct these anonymous prospects at target accounts to specific content hubs.

As a result of this campaign, GE Power has seen an average 10 percent increase in high-value engagement, such as downloads and video views, and has seen a positive lift in engagement across the board from those who have engaged with the personalized content.

Key Considerations for Successful Website Personalization

Website personalization can add significant value to marketing efforts and more specifically, lead nurturing campaigns. Based on recent statistics, when website visitors are served a personalized web experience, marketers can expect up to a 53% increase in goal conversion rates, 50 percent increase in time on site, and 57 percent decrease in bounce rates. With these kind of results, marketers can no longer ignore the power of web personalization.

However, to harness the full potential of web personalization in order to accelerate sales, marketers must look beyond just email. Here are a few key opportunities, targeting both prospects and customers, marketers are taking advantage of:

For prospects:

  • In the ‘awareness’ pipeline stages, trigger thought leadership content via fly-in’s on your website for senior stakeholders.
  • During the consideration stage, swap out home page hero messages for how-to content to practitioners to help them grasp what they could do with your solution.
  • In the later purchasing stages, deliver pop-up ROI-justified content like ROI calculators and case studies for finance/procurement teams.

For existing customers:

  • Cross Sell – Trigger interactive chat when a client has purchased one product, but not another and explain how the two products can work together.
  • Up Sell - If a contact has purchased a small version of your product/service and visits your website, launch a pop up directing to a product webinar geared towards upgrading.
  • Renewal – If accounts have renewals coming up and you want to remind them why they should renew, insert a fly-in to content that explains the value of renewing.

As we all know, the buyer’s journey is messy and involves a number of people and perspectives, most of which marketers don’t even know about. Going beyond just email to focus on personalizing the web experience can help marketers more effectively identify and target those decision-makers and provide an unprecedented, tailor-made experience that’s critical to creating long-term customer relationships. With web personalization, marketers can now successfully support the sales process by accelerating the pipeline and making a significant impact on the bottom line.

Can your pipeline benefit from nurturing beyond email? It may be time to take a look.

Nick Bhavsar is senior vice president marketing for Get Smart Content, a content targeting platform based in Austin, Texas, that enables marketers to provide website content and messaging based on a visitor's unique profiles and web-based interactions.