Turning cold leads into marketing qualified leads can be daunting in any context. When working with a client who’s new to lead nurture programs, it’s helpful to demonstrate why this kind of program is an essential strategy before presenting your recommendations for building an effective, efficient lead nurture program at scale.
Our Key B2B client, Kestra Financial, is a good example of how we approach that undertaking. Kestra is an industry-leading independent advisor platform serving about 1,500 financial professionals. The client engaged us to develop a holistic marketing campaign for recruiting new financial professionals.
We didn’t want to drop leads into the top of the funnel with no clear, supportive path to becoming a Kestra financial client. That support was especially important given the marketing campaign’s two core audiences:
- Independent financial professionals switching to Kestra from another advisor platform
- Financial professionals who were considering the move to independent status from a wirehouse (a full-service broker-dealer firm)
Both types of financial professionals take substantial risks when making this kind of change — and making the switch can take months, so it’s also a serious time investment. Finally, although the firm’s history stretched back 20-plus years, they’d recently completed an identity transformation. (See highlights from our fully integrated rebranding campaign.) We needed to offset Kestra’s lack of existing brand equity by foregrounding their differentiating factors.
Approach & Solution
To develop marketing qualified leads at scale, who would be ready to speak with the Kestra sales team, we strongly recommended creating a lead nurture program. We envisioned a program that would:
- Guide leads smoothly through the funnel
- Allow leads to maintain autonomy and absorb information at their own pace
- Showcase Kestra’s experience and differentiating factors throughout, rather than trying to compress everything into an email (or placing the full responsibility on the sales team)
What could be simpler, right?
To make that very simple vision a reality while also keeping things streamlined on the client side, we implemented a marketing automation platform that integrated with Kestra’s Salesforce CRM to develop leads in response to email interactions, website visits, content downloads and other online activities.
For lead nurture program tactics, we developed robust segmentation, with customer-centered messaging and lead scoring for each segment. We also tapped into the Kestra sales team’s expertise to help determine the best email timing.
- Customer-centered messaging focused on the recipient’s needs and difficulties, spelling out the ways in which partnering with Kestra could meet those needs and serve as a solution to specific difficulties. An empathetic tone framed Kestra as trustworthy and personally invested in the recipient. Our content map also included timing and frequency to make sure every communication would advance each lead through the funnel.
- Lead scoring development allowed us to work with Kestra’s sales and marketing teams to set the timing and topics for each communication. By dynamically scoring leads as they interact with communications, this aspect of the program helped gauge leads’ interest and monitor their behavior to keep refining the campaign.
Our monthly reporting benchmarks for this lead nurture campaign include individual and overall email performance and the rate at which they create marketing qualified leads.
Some 15,000 prospects entered the campaign, and 3,856 leads were delivered to the sales team — a 26% conversion rate. The emails themselves had a 24% average open rate and an 8% average CTR. The leads were happy, the sales team was happy, and Kestra has engaged us to develop additional lead nurture streams personalized to users. Because everyone deserves a little nurture.