One of the best things about being a SiriusDecisions analyst is that we work closely with a broad range of clients, affording us the opportunity to observe what really works and what doesn’t.

When it comes to lead nurturing, what doesn’t work is complexity. Marketing automation platforms have provided marketers with the ability to design flows with a multitude of touches, triggering events and branching scenarios based on prospect behavior and other rules. This is very cool stuff, but a high level of complexity is usually the result of a lack of clear objectives. The most effective nurture programs are those where each touch, message, rule and offer is aligned with one simple objective: To get every contact in the nurture flow out of the nurture flow as quickly as possible.

The fact that the goal of effective lead nurturing should be to get leads out of nurture quickly seems simple enough, but after reviewing dozens of circular and dazzlingly complicated flows that fail miserably, it seems that a reminder is in order. When planning nurture programs, be sure to clearly define how, when and why contacts will be removed and focus every touch accordingly. Finally, be mindful that transitioning out of well-defined nurture programs does not only mean that the prospects are fully qualified and sales ready. Non-responsive contacts should also transition into other focused nurture flows or into more broadly defined, long-term nurture.