Overcoming the Lead Nurture Blind Spot in Outbound Marketing

A blind spot is generally defined as, “a portion of a field that cannot be seen or inspected with available equipment.”

Most commonly, we associate the term with driving. The vehicular blind spot is an area around the car or truck that the driver can’t see from the driver’s seat. Without information from these blind spots, drivers risk collision with other vehicles. To address this, we use a combination of tools and practices – mirrors and blind spot checks, respectively.

The lead nurture blind spot is very similar. Companies that generate leads through outbound marketing have a uniform view of their leads. This view has a notable blind spot: history. As a result, marketers need a combination of tools and practices to give them insight into this area.

A MARKETER’S VIEW

In a typical outbound campaign, the agency broadcasts a campaign on behalf of the client, collects audience engagement, and returns to the client with a lead file. Once the leads are delivered and paid for, the agency steps back and it’s up to the client to nurture the leads to fruition.

At this point, the client has a sheet of hundreds of leads and their contact information. It’s easy to assume these leads are on equal footing, but that’s almost certainly not the case. To do this would be to move forward without checking your blind spot.

CHECKING YOUR BLIND SPOT

Outbound leads can enter at different stages of the buying process. Some will have just discovered the industry, the brand, and the offering. Others will have already conducted significant research and developed preferences. Most will fall in between.

How can you know the stage of a lead before contacting them?

The answer is history.

Leads have a history of engagement before they interacted with your outbound campaign. They browse other websites, read other emails, and even download other white papers. Tapping into even a little of this engagement make a big difference in terms of separating educated buyers from those just starting out.

THE TOOLS

Marketers have a few options when it comes to historical data. There are vendors offering data products based on domain-level browsing habits. Similarly, other sellers offer software that allows you to export interested contacts after a concentration of web behaviors.

There’s also HIPB2B’s Historical Behavior Scoring (HBS) offering, which can be appended to two of HIPB2B’s offerings. HBS creates numeric scores for each lead based on a pool of more than 300 million email sends. The scores encompass the type (open/click/form completion), frequency, and recency of past engagement behaviors around related content.

THE PROCESSES

With your data source of choice in hand, you have the tools to expand your view into incoming leads – your mirrors, to keep with the metaphor. The next step is to apply this information. After all, as important as it is to have mirrors, they’re only useful if you know when to check them.

There are two basic ways to incorporate historical data into your lead scoring program:

  • Pre-scoring your leads – Before a lead enters your system, convert any historical information you have into a single numeric value (in line with your existing scoring rules). Import the lead with this value as their lead score. Translating historical information to the appropriate lead score will require some fine-tuning, but once established, this is the cleanest and easiest way to incorporate historical data.
  • Create dedicated nurture tracks – based on different levels of historical engagement. Those with long histories can be placed in a more middle on bottom-of-the-funnel campaign, while those with short or non-existent histories can be put in an introductory campaign. It’s more labor-intensive than the prior method but offers a higher degree of customization.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

With a reliable historical data source and processes for utilizing that data, past behavior is no longer a blind spot. By applying these additional insights, you’re able better target your nurture campaigns and accelerate outcomes.


This post was published in April 2016. It was updated in December 2020. 


 

Let us know what you think:

  • Do you incorporate historical data into your marketing efforts?
  • Do you use external historical data sources?
  • Are there any other blind spots in your lead nurture process?

 

 


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