To be competitive and increase your market share, you need leads. And you need a steady stream of them as your sales team gets to work on converting each lead into a paying customer. That’s where lead generation comes in.
Your strategy must consider how you generate your leads in the first place, but your focus will be on how to convert as many of them into long-term customers. Lead conversions are the secret sauce of marketing. It’s where the money comes from and where marketing can really prove its value and direct contribution to the business’ success.
What’s a ‘good’ conversion rate?
Now, the answer over what a ‘good’ lead conversion rate is largely subjective. It can vary across industries, between B2B and B2C, and between individual organisations. But it generally ranges from 2 to 10%. However, for your organisation, what’s more important is to achieve consistent growth in your conversion rate – more so than surpassing a specific number.
The challenges of lead conversion
Eagle-eyed readers may notice that lead conversion rates seem lower than expected – and that’s because the majority of leads won’t convert into sales. Yet, the answer to this isn’t simply gathering more and more leads to feed your pipeline. It’s to use targeted tactics to increase lead conversions.
This will be a challenge. 42% of B2B marketers say that converting leads into customers is their biggest challenge – 25% of them don’t even know their lead conversion rate. Investing in increasing your sales conversion rate, however, will pay off in the long-term. Here are some ways to do this.
1. Cross-department collaboration
A third of marketing and sales teams don’t have a regular meeting, and that’s why 55% of marketers don’t know what assets are most useful for their sales colleagues. To get the best conversion rates, you need to bridge the chasm between sales and marketing.
Sales teams can provide invaluable insights to inform marketing efforts, specifically in moving leads from interested prospects to committed buyers. By collaborating together, marketers can create the materials that sales reps really need to convert leads, and learn valuable lessons for ongoing conversion marketing.
2. Connect your marketing platforms (including CRM and automation)
One way to facilitate greater collaboration between marketing and sales is to integrate your CRM database with marketing and sales tools to give a unified pipeline. This means sales reps can see where leads originated, how they were qualified, and how active they’ve been. Marketers can track close rates and other key conversion metrics.
It helps sales reps start conversations that are personal to each lead’s interests, past buying behaviour, and content previously engaged with. Increasing the likelihood of conversion.
3. Improve data quality
A further step is improving your data quality. Poor data will mess up your conversion plans, your lead scoring (more on that later), botch your personalisation, and can even make your campaign reporting inaccurate. Set up a clear data governance strategy to avoid this, and assess your existing data quality before trying to increase conversion rates.
4. Have consistent, timely responses
Have a consistent and strategic way to follow-up prospects. That might involve sales reps for high-value pre-qualified leads, or chatbots or marketing automation to move leads further along the buying journey. Whatever your approach, make sure the frequency and nature of the contact is appropriate to the lead’s value (their score is a good indicator).
5. Have optimised sales scripts
To make the most of every lead that comes in, you need to have a plan for every touch point your prospect will encounter – from the first right through until the last. That’s where an optimised sales script will really support your sales team to convert as many leads as possible.
To create one you must know everything you can about your target customers. What’s their aspirations, their challenges, and pain points? Test different scripts against each other to understand what content, tone, and wording will work best with your audience.
It’s also worth considering how the content within this script can complement, and be enhanced by, your other communication channels. Messaging must remain consistent across all marketing and sales channels including social media, email, advertising and retargeting.
6. Pre-qualify your leads
It’s worth strategically mapping out how you can best prepare your prospects for sales interactions. This might be reading a whitepaper, or watching a video. When you do this, it makes the job of your sales reps much easier as they are dealing with educated and interested leads.
In other words, you pre-qualify them by helping them understand if your product is a good solution for their needs. This can be done through blogs and other content, infographics, an email series, chatbots and more. By the time they reach your sales team, they’ve pretty much signed on the dotted line.
7. Give prospects targeted content
Tying closely to this is content, and by this we mean anything from blogs to videos, podcasts to whitepapers and everything in-between. Good content is written to your specific buyer personas and tailored to different stages of the sales funnel. It educates potential customers and helps to shed light on latent buying needs. Key to creating effective content is understanding what your product can offer these potential customers – fulfilling their needs and solving their pain points.
8. Practice lead nurturing and scoring
Lead nurturing involves taking all of your captured leads and coaxing them through the buying stages – then singling out the ones most likely to convert through lead scoring. You avoid sending untested leads to your sales reps, and instead can further qualify them with targeted content.
Lead scoring involves awarding points for actions a prospect takes, like opening emails, visiting your website or downloading a whitepaper. Scores accumulate over time and once a lead has reached a set threshold, they are passed to sales for immediate follow-up.
For this to work effectively, you need shared definitions for lead qualification and a clear framework for the buyer’s journey. Consider, for example, the demarcations between MQLs, SQLs, and SALs (marketing qualified, sales qualified, and sales accepted leads). Or, how a sales-ready lead is defined.
9. Optimise your landing pages and CTAs
Both your landing page and call-to-action (CTA) can make or break your lead conversion rate. With both you’ll want to A/B test, to try different combinations of colours, copy, imagery and so forth to find the highest converting combination. Best practice for CTAs is to always make it painfully clear the action you want the lead to take, whether that’s downloading content or filling out a form, and what they will receive in exchange. For your landing page, think about the core reason for the page, and the action you want to drive. Then add CTAs throughout the page to facilitate this.
10. Measure your progress and results
If you don’t measure your lead conversion efforts, you’ll never really know if they’re paying off. Keeping an eye on your conversion rate will tell you whether your strategy is working or flag any issues before they snowball. It also informs future plans, so you can focus your energy on tactics that produce the best results.
Consistent growth ahead
With a lead conversion strategy based on these ten best practices, you’ll soon see your conversions spike. By focusing on each lead, qualifying, educating, scoring and tailoring communications to them, you can generate consistent growth for your business. Likewise, having a pipeline filled with high-quality, pre-validated leads from the outset will make your conversion efforts all-the-more effective. This will keep your sales team – and senior leaders – happy and bought into your marketing efforts.
Soap Leads specialises in providing high-quality leads for leading brands across B2B and B2C.