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For business-to-business (B2B) marketers, lead nurture campaigns deliver far better results than standard programs. In July 2015 polling by Demand Gen Report (DGR), over half of US B2B marketers said lead nurture campaigns performed between 10% and 20% (26%) or 20% and 30% (25%) better. And such leads outperformed their standard counterparts throughout the sales funnel, with 21% of respondents reporting a 10% increase in sales opportunities from nurtured leads and nearly one-quarter a 20% lift.
The success of lead nurturing campaigns speaks to the effectiveness of targeting and personalization, which emerged as leading perks to such programs. Nearly six in 10 B2B marketers said the ability to segment prospects based on interests and behaviors was a benefit of lead nurture programs, and similarly, about two-thirds said such efforts drove better responses to campaigns and offers due to targeting and relevancy.
Email was the leading channel used for lead nurturing programs, cited by 94%. However, DGR noted that marketers had also incorporated other channels such as retargeting (43%)—which allows for further segmentation—and social media (38%). Other research points to social’s effectiveness as a lead nurture channel. When March 2015 polling by KiteDesk asked B2B sales professionals in North America about the areas where social media worked well as a sales tool, three-quarters cited nurturing leads and opportunities.
As lead nurture programs mature and data helps marketers get increasingly personal with each touchpoint, DGR found that B2Bs had expanded nurture campaigns depending on various prospect and buyer stages. While early-stage campaigns were still the most popular, nearly half of respondents also used warm-up programs, and more than four in 10 ran advanced-stage campaigns with enhanced segmentation.
Marketing automation technology presents B2Bs with an opportunity to act on audience data and boost lead nurture efforts. In an April 2015 study by Regalix, which found that the leads process was driving marketing automation usage among B2Bs, lead nurturing ranked as the No. 1 marketing automation objective, cited by 82% of B2B marketing execs worldwide.
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