8 challenges of marketing nurturing

When your business wants a step change in the way that its sales and marketing operates, there are many options available, but lead nurturing is perhaps the cheapest and most effective.

From a lack of content and impatience to the intoxicating allure of revenue, today we’re covering 8 challenges that you’ll encounter when adopting or running your marketing nurturing campaigns, with a dose of advice on what to do about it.

1. You have no marketing content

Our first challenge is all around one of two things which power your entire marketing efforts in 2021 – content.

We’ve written previously about the importance of content to SMEs in prior blogs, but it cannot be understated just how crucial your blogs, eBooks, webinars, demos and more are for you to engage your buying universe.

Marketing nurturing is no different.

Without content, your ‘marketing nurturing’ is simply a sales sequence – something which people at the top of the funnel, or beginning of their buying journey, aren’t ready for.

Marketing nurturing takes your database and holds its hand, supplying easy-to-consume content and delivering it regularly to your contacts.

If you do not have any marketing content, stop. Stop, turn around and get to planning your content, mapped to your business objectives and your buyer personas. Do not attempt to adopt marketing nurturing if you do not know who you are talking to, why, and with what information.

2. You don’t have a database of contacts

This is the second of the two fundamentals of marketing nurturing.

If you do not have a database of contacts then you quite simply cannot adopt marketing nurturing.

However, that is not to say that you cannot generate contacts.

You can take to many different routes to generating contacts:

  • LinkedIn SalesNavigator and its CRM and InMail features
  • Create a contact magnet – a piece of content someone will exchange their email for
  • Virtual events – attend local chamber of commerce events and other online conferences with other small businesses (or large) and develop a network you can convert into a database
  • Run digital ads to pages with valuable content and the remarket them with your contact magnet or a newsletter sign up landing page.

With your objectives and buyer personas to hand this exercise will be more straightforward.

The end result is a database that is set up to grow, grow and grow some more every day, supplying you with fresh contacts to enter into your marketing nurture streams.

3. Sales do not understand the concept

This one is all too common, however much your marketing and sales teams are supposedly aligned.

There will always be a need for internal communication and education about different marketing initiatives, and nurturing is not the exception.

The easiest way to explain marketing nurturing is to bring the conversation back to this – modern selling sees buyers take nearly 90% of their time consuming content and getting to know a brand before it contacts the supplier to let them know they are read to buy.

Marketing nurturing ensures that your business is part of the buyer’s journey before they put their hand up to say that they are indeed ready to buy from you.

Therefore it makes a great deal of sense to add marketing nurturing into your arsenal, meaning that your brand is well known and trusted – making conversion to sales and reviews on Google, Facebook, Bing, TrustPilot etc. more likely.

4. You do not have automation software

The cold truth about marketing, as you will have gathered by now, is that you must invest in it for any sort of reasonable return to be made.

Buying behaviour has drastically changed in the last 20 years, and COVID-19 has accelerated that beyond our wildest imagination, and one thing is certain – the power to buy is firmly in the hands of prospects.

What this means is going back to the drawing board of our marketing strategy.

We simply cannot rely on old tropes of leaflet drops, buying contact lists and hiding all our information from the public.

Marketing nurturing is made possible with marketing automation software. You absolutely must, for your sanity and time saving, adopt automation software for your lead nurtures – to not do so would be shooting yourself in the foot if you truly want to adopt this approach.

Whether it is ActOn, HubSpot, Infusionsoft (the one we use) Mailchimp or Marketo, you must be reasonable in your budgeting efforts, because without automation to allow you to plonk contacts into a stream of activities with intelligent logic to push people into particular branches of content to deliver a personalised experience, you aren’t doing marketing nurturing.

5. You pass all leads directly to sales

Another issue to consider is the process for marketing handing leads to sales.

We’ve spoken before at length about lead scoring, but it really is important to instill the theory behind that into your marketing engine.

If you directly pass all your leads to sales, regardless of figuring out the intent of the lead, i.e. someone has asked for pricing vs. they have only downloaded an eBook, you are treating everyone the same. Don’t do this.

What you should do is consider which leads become Sales Qualified Leads based on a high value action, like the above pricing request, vs. those where the action represents a Marketing Generated Contact such as if the person has downloaded the eBook.

The Marketing Generated Contact is not ready to talk to you, so don’t force them. Put those people into marketing nurturing and build a rock solid relationship with them.

6. Right message, right time

The crux of marketing nurturing and using automation software is that you can ensure, with a high degree of certainty, that you will only ever talk to your database and its segments with the right messages at the right times.

Indeed, amazing isn’t it?

Marketing nurturing allows you to create multiple streams of emails based on the segments you define.

Want a stream which is to take people from looking at your product page to requesting pricing? You can do this based on someone’s viewing of a product page.

How about someone who has downloaded an eBook but hasn’t asked for pricing? Then you have yourself a contact who needs more convincing about your brand, what you know as a business, and the products you offer.

Has someone told you they aren’t ready to buy because your costs are too high after seeing your pricing? Develop content and push these people through a keep in touch nurture stream.

There is absolutely no reason that your business cannot do this. In fact, it may be a tweak to your marketing engine that helps to re-engage your database and remind them that your brand is the brand they need to buy from, and give them ample reasons to make that decision.

7. Removing cold contacts

Once your marketing nurturing is up and running, there comes the time to remove people and shuffle them around in the scenarios such as the above.

But what happens when a contact has simply gone cold? No longer opening your emails, no longer clicking, or their send has hard bounced?

Tools such as HubSpot give you the option to establish what they call ‘exit goals’ – that being, when a contact does X you will remove them from the nurture stream.

Should your contact have viewed the pricing page of your introductory email workflow, that could be an exit point and the contact is then pushed into a supplementary stream.

And if you have a contact who has been sent 4 emails but has yet to open any, you can remove these people too using such a feature, or within the workflow itself having a logic to remove anyone who matches this criteria.

The point being, you are in control of who sits in your workflows. While the point of marketing nurturing is to take considerable manual work out of your marketing efforts, you do still have to monitor the programmes of activity that you push live.

8. You’re focused on revenue, not the customer

Last, but not least is the issue of revenue.

Marketing nurturing is a long-term play, it is not a get rich quick effort.

You are acknowledging the shift in buying behaviour and adopting appropriate means to ensure you are part of the buyer’s considerations.

If you set up nurturing for immediate revenue you will be sorely surprised.

See this as your opportunity to build relationships with your contacts which could take months to convert into a sale.

However, when the first sale is made, you are more likely to see repeat business due to the nurturing creating a bond between brand and buyer. Perfect!

Closing thoughts

Marketing nurturing has its benefits, but it certainly is not without its challenges.

These are 8 of the most common hurdles you must overcome if you are to be successful.

However, if you have the building blocks in place for your marketing engine, actually adopting marketing nurturing can be easy and a worthy investment of your time, money and your contact’s time.