Many clients have asked about best practices for their nurture program, so I’ve decided to tag-team with the head of Red House Analytics and Automation Group, Tracey Bartz, for a two-part primer on the subject. I’m covering the strategic thinking that goes into the development of your nurture program, while Tracey discusses the tactical strategy.
The first thing you need to ask yourself might sound obvious, but it really requires serious consideration: What is the nature of the buyer? The nature, in my mind, refers to the tendencies the buyer has based on his (or her) specific set of circumstances. For example, our clients that sell multi-million-dollar software solutions to hospital executives will have a significantly different strategy than our client that sells state-of-the-art entertainment systems for gas pumps to small- to mid-market convenience store owners.
The factors that account for the differences go much further than just the industry type. The “nature of the buyer” has a very long list of considerations, including, but not limited to:
- Time required to close a deal
- Decision-making group size
- Complexity of contracting to buy or lease (money and legal documents)
- Education level of the buyer
- Budget and revenue of the companies you target
Time required to close a deal
This is an important consideration because it dictates the projected time your program will need to run before it reaches maximum success.
Decision-making group size
The larger the group, the less power each person wields over final decision making and the wider the audience your nurture program should reach.
Complexity of contracting to buy or lease (money and legal documents)
The more complex the stages of the buy become, the more barriers to overcome.
Education level of the buyer
How much does the buyer know; about their industry, about you, about the solution they need, or the way to buy it? This will help inform the proper editorial calendar.
Budget and revenue of the companies you target
Does anyone that shows interest drop into the nurture program? Or are you vetting the qualified audience to those that you can actually sell?
And one more thing: If you think of the nature of the nurture program you want to run, remember that a program that serves the C-level decision-making group within a hospital or health system is not just longer (12–24 month sales cycle versus 6–12 months) but every affected department must also be considered as a component that either champions or influences the sale.
What is the nature of the buyer? It’s a complicated question, indeed.
But whatever you do, start early! It might sound corny, but it’s true: Developing relationships with early-stage buyers is just like developing early friendships with other children. These relationships will be more enduring, deeper, and preferred to those we make later in life.
Dan Hansen is a Senior Partner with Red House and a 30-year veteran of the marketing industry. In addition to holding a master’s degree in advertising from Syracuse University, he works in a marketing consulting capacity with Red House clients such as McKesson, Elsevier, Equifax, and AT&T.