Monday, April 6, 2009

VFA: Nurturing to Re-Engage Dead Leads

Almost any of us in B2B marketing wrestle with the challenges of the leaky funnel. As we pass leads to sales that are not ready, perhaps due to them being a "future likely" rather than a current opportunity, we end up with a dead lead pile.

Re-engaging with this dead lead pile can be one of your easiest ways to generate more active opportunities without significant additional expenditure. Amy Marks from VFA took this approach, and I had the pleasure of chatting with her about it when I was writing Digital Body Language:

VFA: Nurturing to Re-Engage Dead Leads

VFA, a leading provider of end-to-end solutions for facilities capital planning and asset management, had many dormant leads in its marketing database. Amassed over a period of years, through tradeshows, lists and sales activities, these “dead” leads were stored in VFA’s CRM system, had never been converted to opportunities, and were no longer receiving communications from VFA.

To engage these leads, VFA implemented a 5-part nurturing program that provided unique content to each of the 6 verticals targeted by VFA. The initial communications were case study focused, and progressed to white paper and webinar downloads, then offers to request a demo or engage directly with sales.

At each step of the process VFA’s marketing team enabled the prospect to engage in a way that was governed by the prospect’s own buying process. Each email offer connected to a landing page that described how similar organizations were able to meet their business challenges.

Additional resources—articles, case studies, white papers—were offered, allowing prospects to select the information they needed depending on their stage in the buying process. At each step, the prospect had the ability to “short cut” the process and jump straight to a later stage; by either requesting a demo or engaging with the VFA sales team.

The campaign succeeded in bringing back a tremendous number of leads from the “dead”. Over 120 highly qualified leads were passed to sales, and over $1.6M in pipeline was created. In a typical example, a lead may have been disqualified at a much earlier date, but given changes in the prospect’s organization, they were now ready to purchase and a sales opportunity was discovered. Only through nurturing and observing the buyers’ digital body language were these opportunities rediscovered.

Many of the topics on this blog are discussed in more detail in my book Digital Body Language
In my day job, I am with Eloqua, the marketing automation software used by the worlds best marketers
Come talk with me or one of my colleagues at a live event, or join in on a webinar


Laura Ramos, VP Forrester Research said...

Steve, thanks for sharing the VFA story on your blog. I read it in your book and found it to be one of the more memorable and compelling.

I blogged about your book as well. Congratulations, and good luck on becoming a business best seller.

Anonymous said...

Excellent content. I have a question regarding starting a project similar to this one. If the dead leads have never engaged at all with the company, and there is no data on role, stage or level of interest (but they did attend the tradeshow), what is the best way to start? It seems like the approach would be very delicate and unassuming.

What offers would you suggest in a case like this?


Steven Woods said...

you're right, in that case, delicate and unassuming are correct. High level, non-salesy, value add content such as a webinar featuring an industry luminary, or a recent research report might be best.

Anything that is more salesy or aggressive will run a danger of turning the Prospect away.