Stop Your Leaky Funnel With Conversational Lead Nurturing

Written by Ilan Kasan

Co-founder and CEO at Exceed.ai.

Traditional lead nurturing involves sending interesting content to your leads at specified intervals. You track click-throughs, time on page, subscriptions to email newsletter lists, and downloads of gated content to try and move your lead forward in his or her purchasing journey. 

It has its benefits and it’s worked reasonably well for a long while, but it also has serious drawbacks. Although every marketer understands the importance of lead nurturing, statistics reveal that all too many are struggling to meet their goals. 

It’s easy to see how traditional lead nurturing programs end up dropping leads through the cracks. Traditional lead nurturing has a number of flaws:

  • Sending content is a one-way street. You don’t have any real interaction with the lead, you just send a series of links to content and wait to see what happens. There’s no give-and-take relationship.
  • You have to guess when the lead is ready to buy. It’s very difficult to accurately score leads based only on behavior and engagement rates. 
  • Leads drop between the cracks of disjointed, fractured email nurturing systems. No one is sure who was the last point of contact, where the contact stands in the funnel, or when to follow up.  

Imagine that you send a mailing through your email marketing platform to 10,000 people, and 500 of them respond. In a typical business, there’s no one with the responsibility of following up these 500 responses, which is a time-consuming task, so your lead nurturing dwindles into silence. 

Marketers are crying out for a better way to manage their lead nurture programs. 

From the 2020 Content Management & Strategy Survey by the Content Marketing Institute:

Q: If there was one thing you could do to improve your organization’s success with managing content across the entire organization, what would it be?

A: Being able to understand/map our customer journey and modify content/emails based on that understanding.

Fortunately, as technology advances, new, better options appear, and conversational lead nurturing is leading the pack. 

Conversational Nurturing Transforms the Game

Conversational nurturing can turn lead nurturing into an automatic, AI-powered two-way, natural-feeling conversation instead of a one-way channel to push resources and assets. Imagine you can carry out email-based conversational nurturing 24/7, so that no leads are left hanging or fall through the cracks.

Our engine never complains about sifting through hundreds of email replies from leads in order to categorize, score, and respond in kind – immediately. It asks leads direct questions and classifies their answers to measure intent. It can also answer many customer questions and redirect leads to human customer service reps for more detailed responses. 

AI-powered conversational lead nurturing allows you to harvest valuable customer data to populate your CRM and generate authentic email or chat conversations that advance a genuine relationship with potential customers. 

Traditional lead nurturing:

Traditional lead nurturing might include sending a bulk email with a “Click here to download a case study” CTA. Then, your marketing team measures how many leads click through, how many open the case study, and how many move on to download another one or take further action.

You’ll have no idea whether they liked it, wished you’d go into more depth, or found it relevant to their specific situation. When a lead replies to a bulk email you distributed, that inquiry won’t generate a conversation or follow-up because your marketing team and sales development reps (SDRs) both have more important things to do than to sift through responses.

Conversational nurturing:

Contrast that with conversational nurturing. You might send an email that says “I wrote this case study about XYZ company, let me know what you think about it.” A couple of weeks later, you follow up to say “Did you have a chance to read the case study? Do you have any questions?” 

Your lead replies in kind, and the platform carries out a natural conversation that not only provides the critical information the lead requested, but further, cements your relationship. When a few hundred leads reply, your conversational nurturing program can sort through and follow up on each and every one, responding “personally” and never dropping the ball. 

Why you need conversational nurturing at scale

Conversational nurturing is a strategic, significant step beyond traditional email marketing campaigns. Because your emails are conversational and don’t come from a generic, do-not-reply email address, people respond with their real thoughts, leading to a genuine conversation that reveals the lead’s intent. 

You can enjoy the best of both worlds with conversational nurturing. Nurture your leads with human, two-way interactions that ask questions and listen to the answers, while also applying the efficiency of automated processes, which don’t lose interest or focus while sifting through hundreds of replies. 

Conversational nurturing enables you to:

  • Listen, not just talk, to your lead when you allow space for leads to respond 
  • Reply to their real questions swiftly
  • Ask direct questions to learn more about their preferences
  • Understand and categorize the lead’s needs and pain points, positioning you to send relevant follow-up and resources
  • Accurately score their progress through your marketing and sales funnel
  • Harvest valuable data to your CRM
  • Send relevant content that sparks genuine interaction

Having a way converse with ll your leads will ensure that your team will never drop a lead or miss a follow-up. The platform tracks every response so that you’ll always know where the lead is in their journey. 

How conversational lead nurturing drives your bottom line

Your SDRs can’t follow up on every lead; they’re not even organized to handle responses to bulk emails. Some of them fall through the cracks and get lost, while others attract more resources than they deserve, only to fizzle out later. Marketers struggle to accurately score leads, track their journeys, and establish genuine relationships with potential customers. 

Conversational lead nurturing is changing the status quo. It improves the accuracy of your lead scoring so that the leads that reach sales reps are truly qualified leads, reducing SDR frustration and increasing ROI. 

Thanks to conversational nurturing, you can strengthen the SDR’s relationship with leads, growing trust and improving your connection with your customers. It helps you build loyalty and develop a stronger customer base. 

When marketing teams use conversational lead nurturing, they gain a better understanding of your target audience. Improved insights into customer preferences, intents, and desires helps them create content that is more targeted and relevant, driving even more leads into your sales funnel. 

Lead nurturing demands fast followup, personalized content, and accurate measurements. Learn more about how exceed.ai can improve your sales.

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