3 Ways Lead Engagement Strategies Will Evolve in 2021

Chief Development Officer

Create and prioritize handraisers in a sea of pre-MQLs
Create and prioritize handraisers in a sea of pre-MQLs
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Building PipelineLead Management
Published 12/17/20
4 minutes read

2020 is coming to a close (phew), and 2021 is just around the corner. While it feels like an accomplishment just to get through this year, there’s no rest for the weary – and 2021 is sure to be challenging in its own ways. The only constant is change, right? 

For companies with growth goals (or any goals, really), engagement is the name of the game next year. More engagement generates more Sales conversations which yields more revenue. Digital buyer’s journeys are only going to continue to get noisier and more distracting – which makes generating engagement from your audience more competitive than ever. 

And so, to break through the noise and give yourself the best chance for engagement greatness in 2021, we suggest focusing on three key lead engagement strategies: personalization, Sales and Marketing alignment, and omnichannel communication

Personalization is and Continues to be King

Personalization comes in all shapes and sizes. There are quick, easy wins, like personalizing messaging with a prospect or customer’s demographic information. And there’s personalization that requires a little more lift – serving content related to the most recent engagement, crafting messaging relevant to a stage in the buyer’s journey, or providing content on a channel where a lead is mostly to engage based on recent behavior.

However you look at it, personalization is powerful, and it isn’t going anywhere. If anything, customers are going to continue to demand it more and choose to do business with those brands that do it well. According to a 2020 Forrester study commissioned by Adobe, 76% of surveyed B2B practitioners and 83% of surveyed B2C practitioners find customer expectations for more personalized and digital experiences are greater than ever before.

But executing a personalization-centric strategy is a lot of work and can be difficult to scale. In 2021, there’s no way around it – organizations must make investments in analytics, intent, and intelligent automation tools that enable them to increase the level of personalization in their campaigns and communications without adding extra burdens to the Sales and Marketing teams.

It’s a well-known fact that nurturing leads yields better results, and some semblance of nurture is better than no nurture at all. And yet, 60% of respondents to a 2019 Demand Gen Report survey gave their nurture programs a failing grade. With 67% of the buying journey done digitally, it’s imperative that Sales gets involved sooner rather than later. In many cases, if we wait around for a lead to become “qualified” it’s more than likely that they’ve already gone at least partially down some decision path before having a conversation with Sales – and that could very well be too late.

This is an opportunity for Marketing and Sales to work together to develop a nurture and follow-up strategy that’s cohesive, consistent, and engaging. Rather than drawing hard lines in the sand between the stages of the buying journey Marketing is “allowed to touch” a lead and when Sales says “hands off my leads,” the two teams should work together to develop a nurture program that involves both Marketing-supplied content and Sales outreach, mixed throughout the buying journey.

One practical way to execute this is to divide and conquer your leads with a mixture of traditional nurture, Sales outreach, and follow-up from an Intelligent Virtual Assistant (IVA). 

Develop scoring thresholds for when a new lead gets handed off to an IVA versus when it gets handed off to a live Sales rep.

For example, if you have A, B, and C quality leads, give your Sales team the A leads, but have an IVA follow-up with the B and C leads to further qualify them before they get to your Sales team. And, if those B and C leads fail to engage, it’s no skin off either team’s back – the leads can go back into the remarketing pool to be resurrected another day, and no resources have been wasted.

Enabling Omnichannel Conversations

Traditionally, communicating with your prospects and customers is one-directional. Drip email nurtures, digital retargeting campaigns, direct mail outreach – these marketing tactics are useful for exposing your audience to your brand, but often fail to elicit productive, conversational responses from them. 

What’s more, when your customers are ready to talk, they demand instant, consistent communication now more than ever. And yet, the channels where you do facilitate an opportunity for a lead to respond to you are often disjointed. According to Martech Series, 87% of consumers today say that they wish businesses would deliver consistent experiences across channels, and another 35% of people wish they could communicate with the same person across different channels. 

The reality is that conversations that, for example, start via chat, often don’t carry over to other channels like email or text message, providing a disjointed and frustrating experience for the customer. Especially in a digital-first world, it’s critical for businesses to enable omnichannel communication experiences for their customers – or risk losing out to the brands that do so. After all, 73% of consumers say a good experience is key in influencing their brand loyalties. 

It’s no small feat, but nailing all three of these strategies in 2021 is a surefire way to ensure you’re providing delightful experiences for your customers that increase engagement with your brand. And, we could all use some delightful experiences in our lives.

Interested in learning how Conversica can help you increase engagement in 2021? Reach out to us to schedule a demo.

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