So far, we’ve covered how we at ActiveCampaign use our own platform to generate leads as well as how we’ve seen immense growth by using our platform in other ways. However, what happens once all those great leads are in? What happens when they start to move along in the customer journey and begin testing out features, using the platform, or signing on as customers?
After you reach and engage your audience to generate meaningful leads, it’s time to nurture and educate them so they stay interested in your product to go from prospective customer to customer. Nurturing prospects helps you improve your relationship with your audience, provide the right guidance, and teach them what’s available to address their specific needs. When you can personalize every message and connect with leads on an individual basis, you can identify what they need in the moment and serve them content that fits perfectly with who they are.
Why is the Nurture & Educate stage so important?
When you look to grow your business, you want to be sure that you don’t only seek to grow through acquiring new leads, but also looking at those who are well into the buying process and need a little nudge in the right direction.
For ActiveCampaign, and other B2B businesses, “purchasing” isn’t often as quick as entering your credit card info and clicking “buy now” like on an ecommerce site. According to Martech, the average B2B buyer sees 13 pieces of content over the span of 2-4 weeks before making a purchase. Our customers want to test drive the platform and see how it works in reality for their business. That’s why it’s important to nurture leads throughout the sales process (and the customer’s lifecycle) to demonstrate that they’re making the best, most informed decision.
You never want to abandon your prospects once they express interest in your product. Imagine if you were shopping around for a new tool and you signed up for a newsletter, or requested a demo, and they either never followed up, or sent you completely irrelevant information because they never took the time to truly understand what your needs were? You’d likely move on and keep looking.
How ActiveCampaign keeps our own potential customers engaged and interested
We aim to never let a prospective customer fall through the cracks, and we leverage a few different strategies when it comes to nurturing them:
- Send relevant content! This is so important. You only hold onto a lead’s attention for so long, so it’s imperative that you are sending them the right content at the right time so they stay engaged.
- Ensure sales and marketing are aligned. Your sales reps need to have a good understanding of what makes each person unique. By tracking their behaviors, engagement, and interest in the content you send, your sales rep will be able to chat with each prospect about what really matters, and not waste anyone’s time.
- Offer free access to test the product. Reviews are very important when it comes to purchasing a product, or even deciding where to eat for dinner. But the best testimonial is the prospect’s own experience with the product.
We mentioned in our last post that we send regular emails, with different content for different audiences. These emails are great for nurturing leads who are not quite at the point of purchasing a plan. As our prospects engage with our newsletters, product update emails, or product webinars, we track all of their activity. This allows us to further build out their contact record with crucial information that can be used later in the sales process. We also adjust their lead score as they work their way through the funnel, so we can track who stays engaged versus who drops off. This ensures our sales team is spending their time wisely by focusing most of their effort on the highest engaged leads.
For example, if a prospective customer engages with content around the CRM or sales automation, we’ll add a tag so the sales rep knows what to bring up when on the phone. The same goes for leads who appear interested in SMS, or Pages, or Conversations. If we know what specific features a lead is interested in, we can serve them content around those features right away, instead of waiting until we get them on the phone.
Nurture & educate through a free trial experience
One great way to demonstrate the value of your product and nurture leads during the B2B sales cycle is by offering a free trial of your product. There are many ways to construct your trial experience, it all depends on how you do business. Some brands require a credit card or a sales call prior to getting access for a couple weeks. At ActiveCampaign, we make it easy for our potential customers to try our platform by offering a free trial with no credit card needed to get started.
We chose to do this so that everyone who interacts with ActiveCampaign can see the value in customer experience automation first-hand. We aim to please our customers at whatever stage they’re in, honoring our Customer Success Commitment in doing so.
When a prospect signs up for a trial, we ask them some basic questions about their business type, their goals, and how they want to use the platform. Depending on their answers, we’re able to paint a picture of who each person is, informing how we nurture them with content in-app and through email.
Using this information, we will send them specific email and in-app nurture flows that educate them on key areas of the platform. We carefully select these topics so leads get a good understanding of what the ActiveCampaign platform can do for them.
The more we know about the individual, the more their trial nurture flow helps them understand how ActiveCampaign can help grow their business. We wouldn’t send the same thing to an ecommerce business that we’d send to an online education business, e that’s where having context — in the form of tags and custom fields —comes in handy for our teams.
In a perfect world, everyone who signs up for a trial of your product would go on to become a customer. However, the world is far from perfect. We of course do not see 100% conversion from our trials, but we do aim to analyze those who don’t convert and discern ways we could improve the trial experience, the sales experience, or the product itself. We also don’t cast aside those leads who don’t convert. We actually segment them as “expired trials” and continue to nurture them with content that continually demonstrates the value of CXA. Whenever they’re ready to come back, we will be here waiting with another free trial, or the perfect plan for their business.
If you walk away understanding one thing from this, it’s that the path from interested lead to loyal customer is not as direct as you might think. Between those steps, you need to make sure that you’re helping each lead along their journey so they never feel like just another number. Demonstrate that you know who they are, what their business does, and what they hope to achieve with your product. A lead that is shown relevant information, or given the opportunity to learn the product first-hand has the best chance of becoming your most loyal advocate at the end of the day.