What is your lead conversion rate? Believe it or not, many businesses can’t answer that question even though it is arguably the most important data set for any digital marketing campaign. There is no point in collecting email addresses or social media followers if you are not going to nurture those relationships and convert them into sales.
But let’s face it, lead conversion isn’t easy. It takes time and expertise which you may not have. And, in today’s digital marketing environment, requires tools that you may not have used before. If it was easy, you’d already be hitting home runs with lead conversion, right?
In this article, I’m going to break down six important concepts and lead conversion strategies you need to be thinking that will explode your sales. Even better, these are strategies you or a member of your team can successfully accomplish.
I’m going to warn you…. This isn’t an article for someone looking for a magic wand, quick fix, something-for-nothing plan. But, what I’m going to cover can change your business in ways you’ve never imagined. Take time going through it, bookmark the page so you can refer back and ask us for help if you need it. The payoff will be huge.
Let’s dig in.
Lead Conversion Strategies
1. Nurture leads with marketing automation software and targeted personalized content.
Ok, I know… this seems like a daunting task and probably not the first time you’ve heard this suggestion. But let me do my best to make the case for why this is so important before we talk about how to get this accomplished.
With marketing automation, you can use software to automatically segment customers and prospects into actionable groups, integrate customer data, and manage email and other marketing campaigns.
You can probably guess that this automation will make your marketing processes much more efficient. Marketing automation software will give your lead conversion rates a huge boost. In fact, B2B marketers who use marketing automation software to nurture leads report an average 20 percent increase in sales.
While this type of software has been on the expensive side in the past, we’ve seen a rise in free and almost-free options over the last few years. This may be the reason that an estimated 85% of business-to-customer interactions are expected to be automated by the year 2020. That’s literally right around the corner!
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These tools will also allow you to personalize your customer and lead communications. You will be able to qualify leads, merge first names into email salutations, connect campaign emails to a customer’s digital footprint, and more. All of these strategies have been proven to increase sales and retention rates.
There’s no question that marketing automation software helps nurture leads and convert potential customers into paying accounts. If you’d like some help getting this setup, we can certainly assist.
2. Use a lead scoring system.
Lead scoring is a method of ranking prospects on a scale that shows their value to your company or organization. Marketing automation software can often be used for this task, but we wanted to give a little extra attention to it since it plays such a big role in lead conversion.
With lead scoring, you assign a numerical value to each of your leads based on their characteristics and behaviors. Using the score, you refer the lead to a “next step” in your marketing-sales pipeline. Leads that score higher (ie they’re closer to being ready to purchase) can be referred to your sales team immediately or prioritized for intense marketing efforts. Leads who score lower might be referred to a lead nurturing campaign where you will continue to assess them for sales-readiness.
Most lead scoring is done automatically on a 100 point scale. Once a lead enters your system, your CRM or marketing automation software will add or subtract value from their score based on demographic information like job title, decision-making authority, location, and industry. For example, a buyer from a company with 10,000 employees would rank higher than an assistant from a company outside your service area.
A lead’s score will also increase or decrease based on their behaviors on your website. So if a person has visited your website once to read a blog post, the system may add 3 points to their score. But if they click on product descriptions and pricing information, their score might increase by 20. Browsing job descriptions or failing to open emails would subtract from their score.
So why go to all this trouble? Why not just refer all of your leads to sales and throw out your pitch to see what sticks? The truth is that fewer than 25% of new leads are actually sales-ready. That means that 75% of your prospect list is ready to walk away from you if you hit them with a pitch in round one. These are the folks who will need you to woo them a little first. But you won’t know which ones they are without a lead score.
Plus, your sales team has a limited amount of time and resources to expend. Do you really want to waste that on unqualified leads?
Still not convinced? Here’s one more statistic that should push you firmly into the scoring camp: A Marketing Sherpa survey found that B2B marketers who used lead scoring increased their ROI for collecting leads by 70 percent. That’s a pretty big bump.
It’s easy, you can do it with marketing automation software, and it helps convert more leads. What more could you ask? If you’d like some help getting this setup let us know.
3. Connect your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) with your Marketing Automation Software.
For the uninitiated, the customer relationship management system (CRM) is a tool that tracks every interaction that a person has with your sales and marketing funnel. If someone talks to a salesperson, opens an email or loads up an online cart, it’s tracked in the CRM. Basically, the CRM is where your sales team lives online.
Your marketing automation software, on the other hand, is where your marketing team lives. Marketing rarely interacts with the CRM, and sales almost never have a reason to open the marketing automation software. So why put the two systems together?
The basic answer is that it makes lead scoring and nurturing possible.
Without the information collected from the CRM, it’s nearly impossible to score a lead or send that person targeted marketing messages. For example, if you know that a person has downloaded a particular e-book from your site, you can send them emails that address that same subject, which they’ll be much more likely to open. You can also use that information to score the lead so that you send only the hottest, sales-ready leads to your sales team.
In short, a CRM and marketing automation software integration helps your sales and marketing teams collaborate in an efficient way and convert more leads to sales.
Again, you may need some help getting this setup. If you feel like you need some help, let us know and our sales enablement team can assist you.
4. Understand the Lead Conversion Path.
In the simplest terms, the lead conversion path consists of the steps your digital marketing leads take on their way to a digital marketing conversion. But this path isn’t necessarily one that you’ve laid out or envisioned.
You may have a social media campaign designed to drive potential customers to your website, a landing page with an email sign-up, and a drip email marketing campaign with a series of emails designed to nurture leads and convert them to sales. But your audience may follow a completely different path. Or, more likely, many different paths. The key to stellar lead conversion is understanding those paths and taking advantage of them.
One fantastic tool to help with this is Google Analytics. Specifically, run the Top Conversion Paths report to look at sequences of unique channel interactions that have led to conversions on your site. You’ll see a chart that looks something like this:
Look at your top 100 or top 50 conversion paths. What is working well for you? Are most of your conversions starting with organic search? Work on improving SEO to increase conversions even more. Are your ads failing to bring in leads that convert? Time to re-evaluate them.
Whatever the case may be, understanding your lead conversion paths will help you to increase efforts that are working and stop wasting time and money on those that aren’t.
5. Always Follow Up.
- Social media comments
- Facebook messages
- Twitter @ mentions or DMs
- Blog comments
- Abandoned carts
- Email replies
We certainly hope so! How long does it take you to respond? If your answer is more than an hour, you are missing out on some huge lead conversion opportunities.
But you’re also not alone. Only 37% of B2B companies respond to leads within an hour. In fact, about a quarter of companies take more than 24 hours to respond, and another quarter never respond at all! The average response time is a lethargic 42 hours. That’s two days that it’s been since your lead showed interest in your business. Two whole days that hot lead has had to cool off!
Your odds of making a successful contact with a lead, and converting that lead to a sale, are exponentially higher when you make contact quickly.
But wait. Didn’t we just get through telling you that marketing needs to qualify leads before sending them to sales? Yes. But by the time a lead has taken the step of getting in touch with you, they’re often pretty far down the lead conversion path.
According to a Google/CEB white paper, The Digital Evolution in B2B Marketing, the ubiquity of product information available online has changed the buyer behavior significantly. “B2B customers reported to being nearly 60% through the sales process before engaging a sales rep, regardless of price point. More accurately, 57% of the sales process just disappeared.”
In other words, by the time a potential customer contacts you, they’re a warm lead already!
The abysmal response rate among B2B companies actually presents a great opportunity for you. Improve your response time, and you’ll pick up all those leads that your competitors are leaving behind.
6. Measure your conversion rate.
It always comes back to data. And yes, we know that we never shut up about this, but there’s a good reason for that. You can’t accomplish your goals if you don’t know how you’re doing.
So if you want to improve your lead conversion rate, you’re going to have to measure it. The formula is simple:
|(Number of conversions) ÷ (Number of leads) × 100 = Lead conversion rate|
Let’s say you sell computers, and you collect leads through your website. Last month, you sold 20 computers, and you had 2,000 unique visitors on your website.
|20 ÷ 2,000 × 100 = 1 percent|
So that means that your lead conversion rate is 1%. From here, you can also figure out the value of your leads. How much profit do you make from the sale of one computer? Let’s say it’s $500. That means that the value of one lead is 1 percent of $500, or $5.
You can also determine the price of each lead. If you spent $3,000 last month in advertising, marketing tools, and salary to drive those 2,000 leads to your website, then that means:
|$3,000 ÷ 2,000 = $1.50|
You spent $1.50 per lead. So after expenses, you are making about $3.50 per lead. Not bad.
But what if you implement some of our strategies and improve that? Maybe you start nurturing and scoring leads, you send out personalized and targeted emails, and you improve your response time to the leads you capture. Next month, your website gets 2,000 unique visitors again, but you sell 40 computers.
|40 ÷ 2,000 × 100 = 2%|
Your lead conversion rate has doubled to 2 percent. That means you’re now bringing in $10 per lead. You might have also increased your spending a little. Perhaps you purchased a marketing automation system, or you’ve put a few more staff hours into responding to leads. But still, you’ve only spent $3,500 obtaining leads, which comes out to $1.75 per lead.
|$10 – $1.75 = $8.25|
Now you’re making $8.25 per lead, which is a huge improvement. Would you say that extra lead nurturing effort was worth it? We sure would. And you never would’ve known that if you hadn’t measured your lead conversion rates.
So be sure to measure! Do it before you start a lead nurturing program, and continue to measure frequently throughout. We recommend about once a month. It’s the only way to know if your efforts are paying off.
Are You Ready to Close the Deal?
So what can you do to improve lead conversion in your company or organization? Have you tried any of our strategies? Do you see something on this list that would work for you? Give it a try!
But if this all feels a little overwhelming, you don’t have to figure it out on your own. White Peak has all the tools you need to grow your business.
If you are ready to convert those leads into sales, contact us today.