Learning the Last Stages of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Nurture Marketing

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We now explore in our CRM Nurture Marketing series the late stages of a Microsoft Dynamics CRM nurture marketing campaign.

These late stages of CRM nurture marketing are a little bit like raising children. If you haven’t been involved in your children’s lives from the beginning it’s unlikely you will win them over to you during their teen years (at the end).

In the same way, if you haven’t been nurturing your prospects and future customers through the early and middle stages, it’s unlikely you’ll win them over now. It’s more likely that someone else has been nurturing them along and is ahead of your nurturing efforts.

If you have been nurturing your future customers along the whole way, it is now that they have already potentially decided on your solution, service or product. It’s also likely that they are only trying to justify their decision.

As SiriusDecisions points out, justification of the purchase decision follows after someone has already decided to purchase. The following are the stages of the buying cycle SiriusDecisions identified:

  •           Stage 1 Loosing of the status quo
  •           Stage 2 Committing to change
  •           Stage 3 Exploring possible solutions
  •           Stage 4 Committing to a solution
  •           Stage 5 Justifying a decision
  •           Stage 6 Making a selection

So to you who think you are objective in your decisions – think again. You commit to a service or product and only then justify the solution. The decision to purchase is as much emotional as it is logical. Late in the purchasing cycle we often only need to find the reasons to justify our decisions.

In today’s age, as David Brock’s article notes, customers are close to 70% through the buying cycle before they contact sales. Many of them have already made their decision to purchase; they are primarily looking for justification and incentive to move forward.

An article from Google and CEB in a joint research project in 2011 titled The Digital Evolution in B2B Marketing noted that on average customers are 57% through the purchasing cycle before they engage sales.

Degree of Progress Through the Purchase Process Before Engaging Sales

The question then becomes for nurture marketers; how do we provide future customers the incentives and justification to move forward in these late stages? At this late stage in nurture marketing, sales is working in tandem with marketing to move these leads forward and marketing needs to provide sales the ammunition (offers and incentives) for prospects to close.

 

Content for Late Stage Microsoft Dynamics® CRM Nurture Marketing

The next step then is to explore what type of information we can provide individuals at the later stages of nurture marketing. Here are five different types of content (also see Marketo nurture marketing for more content ideas) that can help accelerate the sales cycle at this stage:

1)      Comparison Guides

  • Comparison guides make it easy for individuals to purchase your product by providing a simple comparison on either how your offerings are different or how you differentiate yourself from other competitors in your space.
  • Intel does this nicely by providing you a comparison guide of their Intel Core processors. Instead of having a salesperson explain which options are best – people self-educate. Informing you of which option suits them best.

2     Free Trials

  • Free trials are typically one of the last steps in evaluating products. A free trial like the Microsoft Dynamics CRM free trial offer or test drive is common place in the software industry for products that can be “digested” by individuals on their own.
  • Outside the software industry, for example in the food industry, it’s common that free trials of food products are offered – one example is baby food. These retailers know if they hook you on their product they will make a lot of money in the long run.
  • In this line of thinking, use your nurture marketing “trial offers” in the late stages to get individuals engaged.

 

3      Case Studies

  • Case studies are critical accelerators for the purchasing cycle when it comes to having organizations being able to provide the credibility needed to close the sale.
  • It’s appropriate to share written case studies in a nurture campaign at this stage in the process.
  • While written case studies can be good, video case studies and testimonials are more easily digested and are more authentic.
  • As an example, at we’ve authored numerous case studies / testimonials from our clients.

 

4)      Complimentary Service

  • The focus at this late stage in the process is on closing business. We’ve avoided “selling” in the early stages of the nurture campaign but at this stage the customer is ready to make a decision.
  • If your prospects can’t get off the fence because of fear that they might make the wrong choice, it might be the time for an offer to test drive a complimentary service or consulting engagement.
  • For many individuals, the fear of making a mistake or being reprimanded by their superior is very real. Like this organization below, it’s common for companies to offer their first hour of service or support free to try and engage future customers and absorb the risk.

5)      Pricing

  • While pricing is typically something sales might control in a larger sales cycle, it’s becoming more accepted that pricing is displayed upfront even in larger sales.
  • At this stage of a nurture marketing campaign it’s completely appropriate to introduce offers with pricing information, though we need to be careful how we do it.
  • CrazyEgg in their pricing options presents a comparison guide like Intel does in the previous diagram but emphasizes one option.
  • When you are a closing stages – it’s important to emphasize one option and not slow down the purchasing cycle. If you don’t emphasize one option you make the decision process even harder for your prospects.
  • If you are dispersing pricing in the late stages of your CRM nurture marketing campaigns it should guide them into a default decision.
CrazyEgg pricing example for Microsoft Dynamics CRM nurture campaign.

The key point here to take away from this article though is this; if you haven’t been involved in the buyer’s decision purchase to this point – the last stages of CRM nurture marketing will be difficult to execute on.

It will extremely difficult to convince your prospect that you’re sincere about serving them before and after the sale if you haven’t served them to date.

It’s a little bit like telling the person you’ve only dated casually for years that even though you’ve neglected them for years, the day you get married everything will change. I doubt it. Actually, highly doubtful.

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