Modern consumers are smarter than ever. The marketing tactics that worked a few years ago barely move the needle today. If you want to generate more sales for your company, you need to give your leads a more personalized experience.
In other words, you need to invest in lead nurturing!
In this article, we'll explain what lead nurturing is and why it's important. Then we'll discuss the 12 best lead nurturing tools currently on the market in 2020.
Let's get started!
What is Lead Nurturing?
According to SendPulse, lead nurturing is:
"The process of engaging prospective customers by providing them with appropriate content at each stage of the sales funnel to earn their business at the end."
When you write a blog post, shoot a video, or post on social media on behalf of your organization, you're engaging in the lead nurturing process.
Even things like product demos and sales pitches can be used to nurture leads as long as they're delivered at the right time and in an engaging way that draws prospects further into your company's world.
Why is Lead Nurturing Important?
A study by Marketo shows that 50% of the leads in any system are not yet ready to buy and 80% of new leads never buy anything at all. Depressing, right?
You work really hard to secure new leads. Learning that only a small percentage of them will ever benefit your company isn't fun to hear. Fortunately, lead nurturing will ensure that your efforts aren't wasted by keeping potential customers engaged until they're ready to buy.
But the benefits of lead nurturing don't stop there…
Based on the Marketo study referenced above, companies that properly nurture their leads generate 50% more sales at a 33% lower cost. Win!
Must-Have Lead Nurturing Tools
Now that we know what lead nurturing is and why it's beneficial, let's talk about the solutions you need to do it well. Here are 12 must-have lead nurturing tools you should consider adding to your company's technology stack ASAP:
Email Marketing Software
Email is the quintessential lead nurturing tool. We've selected five software options that will help you quickly message your leads and build lasting relationships:
MailChimp is one of the most popular names in email marketing.
The tool provides marketing and sales professionals with an intuitive interface that includes eye-catching email templates, one-click automations, and a detailed analytics dashboard — i.e. everything you need to properly nurture your leads.
Really want to up your marketing game? The MailChimp platform offers additional tools to users like a website and landing page builder, the ability to schedule and monitor social media content, and a postcard design service for direct mail campaigns.
No discussion on MailChimp is complete without mentioning price. MailChimp users are allowed to have up to 2,000 email subscribers and basic functionality for free! After that, rates start at $9.99 a month.
2. Constant Contact
Constant Contact is another popular option in the email marketing world. It offers similar functionality to MailChimp and includes hundreds of mobile-optimized email templates, detailed automations, and real-time reporting features.
Looking for more than just email? This lead nurturing solution enables you to build a stunning website, post and monitor your social media feeds, and run Google Ads, too.
We should mention that Constant Contact is especially useful for e-commerce businesses. In fact, your entire digital storefront can be built and run on this platform.
Prices start at $20 for Constant Contact's email marketing service and $10 a month for access to it's top-notch website builder. This means that for less than $400 a year you can operate your entire lead nurturing strategy.
As we've just seen, many of the top-rated email marketing services have branched out and now include many different marketing and sales tools. Aweber is another big-time player in the email category that offers tools beyond messaging.
For example, with Aweber you can build landing pages that are specifically designed to capture the contact information of your ideal audience.
In regards to email marketing, Aweber offers an AI-powered email template designer, drag and drop email creation, custom automations, easy subscriber management, and in-depth reporting — all for as low as $16.15 a month.
Though Aweber doesn't feature a website builder like MailChimp and Constant Contact, it does integrate seamlessly with Wordpress, Squarespace, Shopify, and other similar tools.
ActiveCampaign combines email marketing, marketing automation, and CRM tools into a single lead nurturing platform that makes it easy to deliver amazing audience experiences.
Use ActiveCampaign to quickly build personalized email campaigns, map out complex messaging automations that account for all audience behaviors, and track leads with CRM features that rival many stand-alone tools.
This lead nurturing tool will allow you to get incredibly detailed in your marketing and sales efforts. But it also provides users with a clean and intuitive interface.
ActiveCampaign prices start at $9 a month (when paid annually), though this plan only gives you access to basic email and automation features. For every bell and whistle the platform offers, plan to spend well over $100 a month, depending on the number of contacts you have.
MailerLite has been in the email marketing game for much less time than the other email tools mentioned in this article. But don't hold that against them! The platform prides itself on being feature-rich and easy to use. We have to say, it totally delivers!
Use the tool's drag and drop editor to easily send stand-out email campaigns, automate them to send at the perfect times, and track your results with personalized reports.
Need more than just a way to contact your leads? Use MailerLite to build websites and landing pages and populate them with embedded sign-up forms and pop-up subscribe forms. Then manage all the leads you acquire in-app, too.
The best part? You can get access to all this amazing lead nurturing functionality for an incredibly affordable price. Your first 1,000 subscribers won't cost you anything. After that, prices start at just $10 a month.
A quality CRM software will help you track your leads and better organize your interactions with them. That way you always know what stage of the funnel they're in and how to nurture them properly. Here are our three top choices for CRMs:
Salesforce is a giant in the CRM software category. But the truth is, the unicorn company offers so much more than customer relationship management tools. Still, for the purposes of this article, we'll focus on the specific lead nurturing capabilities that Salesforce has.
Use Salesforce to build a database of leads, track where they are in the sales pipeline at any given moment, automate your prospect engagement efforts, and close more deals.
Salesforce offers users a variety of apps to cover every aspect of the lead nurturing process, including Pardot, which is an automation tool. We suggest taking a deep dive into the Salesforce website to see which offerings will suit your company best.
EngageBay is a powerful, award-winning CRM software that gives marketing and sales professionals everything they need to properly nurture their leads.
Contacts are easily analyzed in EngageBay, which will allow you to glean valuable insights about your target audience. Once a prospect is in your system, you can nurture them with automated emails, SMS messages, and scheduled social media posts. Then track every lead in the Visual Deal Pipeline so you always know how close they are to purchasing.
EngageBay includes many other handy features, too, like landing page creation, appointment scheduling, and in-depth sales and marketing reports.
Prices for EngageBay start at $7.79 a month per user, depending on the features required. We should mention that this lead nurturing tool also offers a free plan with limited functionality.
Nutshell is the "CRM that just works." It's both really powerful and super simple to use, which makes it an ideal software for both small businesses and large enterprises alike.
Some of Nutshell's top features include intuitive, centralized contact management, multiple sales pipeline views, time-saving automation capabilities, and customizable reports. The tool also allows users to easily email their leads, meaning some companies might not need to invest in multiple tools if they choose Nutshell for lead nurturing purposes.
Most current users agree that the thing that sets Nutshell apart from other CRM solutions is its ease of use. Luckily, streamlined functionality won't cost your company an arm and a leg. Prices range between $19 and $35 a month when billed annually.
Marketing Automation Software
If you have a large database of leads, marketing automation is a must-have. It's the only way to effectively engage with prospects at scale.
While the email marketing and CRM tools we covered above feature automation capability, the following tools will take your automations to the next level. We definitely suggest checking them out if you're able!
HubSpot is a complete marketing, sales, and service software suite that enables companies to run just about every aspect of their business.
Whether you're looking to build landing pages, publish blog posts, create email marketing campaigns, manage leads, track your sales pipeline, or provide first-class service to your audience, you can do it with HubSpot.
That being said, what we really want to focus on right now is HubSpot's automation capabilities. Use this lead nurturing tool to automate notifications between company departments when specific criteria are met and automatically update customer profiles.
Pricing for HubSpot really depends on which of its many tools you use. But in general, expect to pay at least $40 a month once you graduate beyond the solution's free offerings.
Marketo, and Adobe company, is a top-rated automation software that includes lead management, email marketing, and revenue attribution tools. Many large brands like CenturyLink and GE use the platform to better nurture their leads.
Your company can use Marketo to automate emails based on audience behavior and notify you when specific actions are made on your company's website. That way you can follow up with them in a timely manner.
All in all, Marketo gives businesses better control over the entire buyer's journey, which is exactly what a best-in-class lead nurturing tool should do.
We should note that Marketo is mainly aimed at the B2B crowd. If you operate in the B2C niche, you might consider a different lead nurturing tool.
Other Handy Tools
These last two lead nurturing tools don't fit into any of the above categories — but they're still worth having in your company's technology stack!
Zapier is the "easiest way to automate your work." In a nutshell, this tool enables users to connect various apps that otherwise wouldn't "speak" to each other. Doing so will allow your company to set up complex lead nurturing workflows in minutes.
For example, you could use Zapier to connect your Facebook Ads account to your MailerLite and Gmail accounts. That way, when you acquire a new lead on Facebook, MailerLite will automatically send them a welcome email, then notify your sales department via Gmail so that they can follow up at the appropriate time.
The best thing about Zapier is it will allow you to nurture your leads the way you want to. Easily set up custom workflows that work for your business for $19.99 a month.
Finally we have CloudApp, a visual communication tool that brings a screen recorder that also has GIF creation and image annotation features.
Properly nurturing leads requires companies to create personalized content and distribute it at opportune moments. With CloudApp you can easily shoot custom video messages or create annotated screenshots to clarify complex topics for your leads.
Then, using CloudApp's seamless integration with Zapier, you can automate your content to be sent via platforms like MailChimp and Constant Contact, ensuring your unique messages are delivered exactly when they should be.
Many of CloudApp's features can be used for free. But if you want access to premium capabilities, you'll only have to pay $9 a month, per user.
Proper lead nurturing will help your company convert more leads into paying customers without forcing you to raise your marketing budget.
If you're ready to nurture your leads, invest in the tools listed above. A top-rated email marketing platform, CRM software, and marketing automation solutions will make it much easier for you to track and engage your prospects.