Lead generating funnel is all about creating leads out of early, nascent, vague interests. For those who argue the funnel is dead, they need to read these five excellent articles I’m going to walk you through today. A lead generating funnel is all about nurturing prospects and creating leads.

Here is the essence of what five B2B authors argue about lead generating funnel, with which I totally agree. Number one, content is all about progressing the buyer, not selling, or at least not yet. Test, measure and refine your tactics. Don’t be afraid to build many steps into the nurture – it’s not normally like a website where you want to limit the number of clicks. With a lead generating funnel you can afford to have multiple steps if you need them. Go hard with those steps when their interest is high and then back off. Recycle leaked prospects – let me show you why and a little of how.

Normally when I present articles produced by others I use them, synthesize them, honour them, and then I disagree with them and make a different point. Today I’m going to break that rule because frankly, I do agree with these articles and I found some of them to be fantastic. They’re arguing a point that I also want to argue and so, unlike in previous shows, I’m actually not going to disagree with them.

The first blog we wanted to show you is ‘How to map lead nurturing content to each stage in the sales cycle’ by Cory Wainwright. It’s on the HubSpot blog – right from the get-go the title has me. Each stage in the sales cycle, I’d rather say the buyer’s journey, but I’m going to forgive him for that because they do specifically what they said in the title. That is they talk very specifically about content built for each state. They build a great argument for why you need to match your content to the sales stages, or to the buying cycle and they discuss understanding the buyer’s journey, they call it buying cycle.

I’m not going to fight them on this because frankly the key point about the buyer’s journey is not the names of the stages that we use at align.me, but about progression. Build content or tactics to move buyers to the next stage, and that’s exactly what they’ve done here. I thought when I saw this rather simplified example that this was going to be a B2C argument. It actually isn’t because in the example they give from J.D. Edwards they walk through a series of content and emails from J.D. Edwards, clearly a B2B proposition and it is a good example. It really brings to life the points that they’ve made earlier. I am going to recommend that you read this article.

A second article is B2Bento, love the name, ‘Lead Nurturing Strategy in Plain English’. Now, it’s a complex info-graphic and it almost turned me off, I was kind of losing interest in viewing this because the detail was so substantial. I don’t think it lends itself very well to an info-graphic. It’s just too much content on here, but let’s forgive them that sin for the moment and talk more about the substance than the form. It’s not bad and it is worth a read. It stops at hand over to sales and I think that that’s a bit of a cop-out to be honest. Marketing needs to recognize that its job is not just to build content for marketing’s tactics, but to build content for the entire journey, including the content that sales needs. I think it’s a little bit of cop-out in that regard, but again, if you forgive them the busy sin and you forgive them the stopping half way sin, it is a good read. It’s a well-constructed info-graphic and it’s drawn from content by Brian Caroll whose work we have learned to respect and trust.

Let’s go to our third. ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Lead Nurturing’ by Sharron Good. Now, clearly the title’s going to put me off because most of you are pretty sophisticated marketers, and I try not to give you too much baby stuff. However, it’s pretty good. I particularly like the email sequence, they have got some web image issues to fix, but that’s not the topic of this blog, and you are a sophisticated audience. Basic download form followed by a series of emails which they argue the content of and the task. Read it in detail. It is worth reading.

Here’s the point that I wanted to get to. Get a look at this flow. There are seven emails in this flow and that’s okay because they’re selling an expensive product and they’ve got them fairly well paced. You could argue that you could go even faster. They’ve gone for three days, maybe test going daily or five days. Start there with this as a good example of a well-constructed campaign.

Our fourth one, ‘Mid-Funnel Lead Nurturing Mistakes’. Unfortunately I’m a little frustrated with this blog because Steve Gershik is a mate of mine. I’ve done a little bit of work with Steve at a conference he was co-sponsor for. He’s a good guy and he’s smart. This is pretty light content though, so with greatest amount of respect and love for Steve, and referencing here John Miller, who’s a super smart guy, his work I respect, this is not the one to read.

I’m going to go onto the fifth one. I’m showing this one here just because it was shared often. The net conclusion of this article is that you need to build in action-based triggers. Now I think that’s an important point. The net of all of those articles, this is another one I do recommend you have a read of. It’s not terribly long, but automated repetitive tasks and particularly go for action-based triggers. Good advice and I’m going to wrap that into my next conclusions.

If you’ve watched my previous shows, you know the normal mode is that I will synthesize, and honour what’s been said by the articles, and then put my own spin on it. I’m not doing that this week because frankly I agree with what they’ve said. Here are the five conclusions that those authors and I all think make sense in a lead generating funnel.

Content is all about progressing the buyer, so write it that way. Write each piece to get them to the next stage, not to sell your product yet, stage, by stage, by stage, softly, softly. Secondly, test, measure, and refine your tactics. Where ever you can, do an AV test. Do two of them. Don’t be afraid to build many steps into the nurture program if you need many steps. Don’t make it longer than it needs to be, but neither make it shorter than it needs to be. There’s no magic number. If you need three steps or you need seven steps, they’re both good numbers. How many steps do you think it’ll take to move a buyer to each next stage? If yours is a really complex purchase, it’s going to take more than if it’s a really simple one.

When their interest has been established, that is they first subscribed, or they first registered their first download, or whatever their reaction was that got them into your little mini-funnel, go hard, go quick. Don’t slow down. If their interest is high, feed them – then back off. Recycle your leaked prospects. Basically if they don’t move forward, have tactics in your nurture program to put them into content, to put them into when their interest has. You’ve tried to accelerate their interest and you’ve failed – back off, but keep them nurtured.

I hope you really got value out of those articles and the synthesis. If you enjoyed that, then the odds are pretty good that you would enjoy our other shows. We produce them every week for you. How can you get them? There’s a couple of ways. Go to align.me/blog or youtube.com/alignmeb2b, and subscribe at one of those two places. What that means is that every week you’ll get an immediate notification as soon as we posted the latest show. Be amongst the first to receive it.

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