This sponsored post is produced by David Karel, CMO of Bizo.

The biggest gains B2B marketers have made in the last five years — in terms of impacting the business – are thanks to their investment in marketing automation, the software platforms that enable modern nurturing. At its core, a marketing automation platform does two things very well:

  1. Segments leads by job title, company size, website actions taken, or other demographics or online behaviors that matter most to your business.
  2. Runs nurture campaigns to programmatically (automatically) email content and messaging based on those lead demographics and behaviors.

The investment in marketing automation has actually been an investment in nurturing – and email nurturing specifically. The best marketers approach nurturing as central and put themselves in a strong position to impact sales. Marketers who don’t are putting their companies at risk of falling behind the competition. Here’s why.

The B2B buyer’s journey is long and complex. Buyers can be 90 percent of the way through the buying process before they reach out to a salesperson. This change to the buyer’s journey has made nurturing even more important. The resources you invest to do the important work of filling your top funnel and generating new leads will have limited impact if your nurture programs are lacking. With weak nurturing programs, you will essentially end up with a house database where the majority of your known prospects are inactive and where far too few leads graduate to true marketing qualified-lead status.

If this is the situation you find yourself in, with pressure to fill the sales pipeline, your marketing organization will likely end up on the slippery slope of starting to ship low-quality leads over to sales. It’s not hard to guess how that story usually ends.

So, have we as modern marketers reached nurturing nirvana?  Well, not quite. The truth is we’re all still nurturing with one hand tied behind our backs, because email nurturing alone is inherently limited. Your nurture programs today only reach the small percentage of your website visitors who supply their email address. Estimates place that figure at about 5 percent. That means 19 of 20 visitors to your website leave without converting. This sad reality becomes even worse when you realize only about 20 percent of our marketing emails are opened (on a great day!).

Nurturing has to change. And the good news is that nurturing is expanding beyond the inbox. This good news means you no longer have to nurture with one hand tied beyond your back. Now you can nurture with both hands. You can expand your nurturing net beyond your known prospects’ inboxes and apply the same sophisticated nurturing methodology traditionally accomplished through email to your anonymous prospects.

With Bizo Multi-Channeling Nurturing, that’s exactly what Bizo’s customers are doing today. They are now breaking beyond the inbox and programmatically reaching — through display and social advertising — known audiences and the anonymous prospects visiting their websites, blog or landing pages. And, they’re putting in front of them the same intelligently sequenced messaging and content that they’re using in their email nurture programs, which allows them to put the right ad in front of a prospect based on who they are and where they are in the funnel.

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