Now that you have spent a fair amount of time qualifying your leads, nurturing the, following up, and guiding them through the sales funnel – it is time to focus on converting these leads. Here is a visual overview of what the process looks like when you view it in the sales funnel:
As you can tell, the process comes with a few obstacles, but it also requires the right amount of persistence. However, with enough of an adamant personality and a desire to succeed, you can attain the best results.
Before focusing on lead conversion strategies, here is a review of what is lead conversion is and how it relates to the marketing process.
What is a Conversion?
According to Marketing Sherpa, lead conversion is effectively getting your lead to respond to your brand’s call to action. There are also numerous instances where the conversion process takes place. In relation to leads, conversion is every action that the lead takes to get to the final sale.
For example, if you have a qualified lead who is interested in your product, instances where the lead takes action are all considered conversions, such as opening an email, responding to a call, or fills up a registration form to sign up for your newsletter. Some leads need more conversions to reach the final sale, while others need less. Also, you will find that the most qualified leads need fewer conversions than leads who are not qualified. As a result, to cut down on the process and how much effort your sales and marketing staff needs to put in, you should take the time to qualify your leads beforehand.
What does it mean for a lead to be converted?
The conversion process is not particularly tricky; it is just time consuming and requires the implementation of a number of strategies. Once you have reached the final conversion, you can consider your lead fully converted. As Sales Force mentions, a lead is considered to be converted when three things happens:
- The lead is marked as “closed”
- An account object is identified
- The converted lead has an opportunity tied to the account
For most marketing professionals just starting out, the above objectives may seem pretty ambiguous. Essentially, most marketing professionals use software to track their prospects, leads, and customers (converted leads). In most cases, the software identifies a converted lead by closing the lead and transferring it to a converted category. The converted lead then has an account with the company and purchasing opportunities are identified with the lead.
By tracking this type of information in relation to your lead, your sales team can make the right decisions in terms of nurturing the client. For example, many find it useful to send personalized emails of products that the new client may like.
Another option is to ask the new client to fill out a survey about their experience with your brand and in turn, they receive a promotional code that gives them a discount on their next purchase. These types of actions not only make your current client closer to your brand, but they also foster trustworthiness – factors that both lead to brand loyalty and more sales.
Where to focus – marketing or sales for conversions?
In one marketing study performed by Marketing Sherpa, it was found that sales ready leads are the group most likely to convert into paying customers. When brands start funneling prospects or simple inquiries into the sales funnel, the results are less successful. Here is an overview of the chart created for the study:
Despite the study being performed in 2009, the same results ring true today. Leads are most likely to convert when they are sales ready. This concept begs the question – where do you focus when it comes to conversions: the sales field or on marketing materials?
The best answer to the question is – both. To most successfully convert your sales ready lead into customers, you want to ensure that both your marketing team and sales team are giving your leads the right attention.
According to Call Rail, your sales team can convert your leads into sales by making simple changes to the sales process. For instance, the company recommends recording sales calls to point areas of improvement, continuously train representatives in communication, and assign current sales reps to mentor junior representatives.
In addition, some companies have found it especially useful to measure what leads to a final sale and to share with the entire team the best practices for achieving the end goal. By making these simple changes, your sales team will be able to achieve the success that your brand is looking for.
Aside working with your sales team, you should also give your marketing team the right tools and resource to convert leads into sales. In the area of marketing though, the focus is not sales strategies, but rather content, analysis, and lead research. Essentially, your marketing team is what gathers the pertinent information that will enable the brand to make a final sale.
Now that we have covered conversion and where to focus conversions, let’s turn the focus primarily to the marketing team. Before figuring out what you should be doing as a marketing professional – here is what not to do during the conversion process:
Primary Actions that Hurt Your Conversion Rate
Lead conversion is pretty straightforward, unless you are making big mistakes that most marketing professionals warn against. If that is the case, then it is time to take note of your mistakes and nix them so that you can reach a successful outcome.
Opinion Monster points out some of the most common marketing conversion mistakes:
- A Hidden Call to Action. As Hubspot mentions, your call to action is one of the most effective tools in converting your leads into sales. However, as you can guess, if your call to action is hard to find or nearly invisible, then you are wholly losing out on the power of these resource. Instead of making your call to action hard to find, keep your call to action separate from a bunch of content. In addition, unlike what many mistakenly believe, you can have multiple calls to action throughout the content – thereby increasing the chance of conversion.
- Not Help Leads Trust You. According to Mother Jones Media Kit, leads are 80% more likely to buy from brands that they trust. If this says anything to you, it should be that you need to focus on helping your lead trust your brand. Also, trust does not happen in a day. When building trust between your brand and a lead, you can help the process by posting positive newsworthy information about your brand, identifying awards, and also providing website visitors with testimonials and comments about your brand. The more trust a qualified lead has in your brand, the higher the chance you will be able to achieve a final sale.
- Forgetting a Bonus or Incentive Structure. One of the surest ways to knock your brand down compared to your competitors is to forget an incentive or bonus structure. As Entrepreneur points out, a bonus or incentive structure is known as “feel good loyalty incentives.”
These incentives usually come in the form of up-selling, offering relevant promotions, offering soft bonuses such as special access and memberships, and placing messages strategically to motivate buys. While it may seem like these types of strategies are often a waste of time, they do lead to big results – the mistake is thinking that they are worthless and losing out on the benefits that they offer.
- Underselling What You Have to Offer. Chances are, you have undersold an offer a few times. When it comes to the conversion process though, this is one of the worst mistakes that you can make. When an interested lead visits your website, your goal is to give them enough information and promotional content to generate a sale. By underselling, you are not only causing your brand to lose out, but you are representing your brand in a manner that is less than what it deserves.
At this stage, identify how you are underselling your brand and start writing promotional content to ensure your brand is converting leads. If you really want to see the difference between a page that upsells and one that does not, then simply run an A/B split test.
You now know what most brands do wrong so that you can do things right. Let’s move onto the next and final stage of the guide, which is covering quality lead conversion strategies.
1. Social Media Conversions: Entertaining and Native to the Platform
Kissmetrics is one useful resource when it comes to learning how to convert using social media. Since your brand likely uses social media, during the conversion process you should consider tailoring the conversion strategy to the platform.
One of the greatest features of most platforms is that you can use video content and as studies show – video content is one of the most effective ways to turn leads into sales. Here is an overview of the same concept:
Aside from video content, you can also add images and link to content on your brand’s website. When choosing an image, pick one that is not only relevant to your brand but that will spark user’s interest. Using images and hyperlinks to content is most effective on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. On the other hand, if you are used LinkedIn, you are better off with traditional content.
2. A Great FAQ Page
This particular conversion strategy is overlooked by most brands. Brands that include a frequently asked questions page on their website recognize that their qualified leads likely have questions and one of the easiest ways to answer those questions is to address them on the website.
According to Huffington Post, your frequently asked questions page should include those that your leads frequently ask your brand. To determine which questions are the most pertinent, it is best to talk to individuals on the sales team to attain insight from them. After all, they really are a marketing team’s best resource throughout the marketing process. Also, do not forget to update your FAQ page as you go along. Sometimes, as your brand develops, so will the range of questions that your buyers have.
3. Your Brand as a Novelty
Psychology plays a significant role in marketing, which is why you should use it as much as possible during almost every stage of the process. In the conversion stage, one psychological tool that you can use is the novelty effect.
According to Kissmetrics, the novelty effect says that people are most likely to buy a product or service when it is marketed as new and unfamiliar. The reason behind this is that new and unfamiliar products and services release dopamine in the brain, which motivates people to buy. So in terms of converting your qualified leads, find ways to set your product or service apart from other brands by noting that what you have to offer is new, different, and innovative. The better of a job you do at setting yourself apart, the more prominent of an effect the novelty approach will have.
4. Take a Look at Your Current Conversion Rate
The best way to note the success of your conversion rate on leads is to give your brand a benchmark to work with. As Marketing Wizdom explains, measuring your conversion rate helps you focus on what you can do to convert more leads and how you will achieve your goals. In addition, there are numerous resources at your disposal that will help you measure where your current rate stands and what actions are leading to those numbers.
5. Customize Your Emails and Follow Up
Personalization is one of the most useful strategies of 2016 and if you have not been using it, then it is time to start now. As Oracle’s blog explains, “The golden marketing rule is relevance. Take time to customize your follow-up emails. That little bit of contextual relevance can go a long way.” To figure out what is relevant to your leads, put yourself in their shoes. As yourself whether the content being offered is enough to push a final sale.
6. The A/B Test
You either A/B test or you do not – and if you do not, then it is time to jump on the bandwagon. A/B testing is the process of testing two versions of one web page, social media post, or the like against another version that has been tweaked in some manner.
For most marketing professionals that use A/B testing, the effects can be extremely promising. By noting what changes lead to higher conversions, you can implement those final changes and improve the entire process. Here is an overview of what an A/B test concept looks like for conversion rates:
As you can tell, there are a few factors for webpage B that lead to a higher conversion rate, and ultimately more sales. While A/B testing may seem confusing at the onset, once you get it down – you will be able to use it to your advantage.
7. A Value Proposition
Finally, as Conversion XL points out, a value proposition is invaluable to the lead conversion process. A value proposition is a short tidbit that you place on your website that presents to your lead what value they stand to gain from purchasing your product or service.
When creating value proposition, you should consider giving the reasons as to why your prospect should invest in your product or service, what is in it for them, and in what way you would describe your product if you had very little space to do so.
After you have a value proposition set up, you can tweak the proposition by changing the font size, the color, and the placement on the page. If you really want to be savvy about things, then it may even be a useful approach to run an A/B test to see which value proposition leads to the best results.
Finally, you should keep in mind to set apart your value proposition from that of your competitors. You do not want your website visitors to visit your page and remember your competitor through how your value proposition is style and worded. Ultimately – being unique is always best.
While it may seem complicated to convert leads to final sales, the good news is that you are so far into the process that it only takes a bit more work to reach your end goal. By understanding the lead conversion process, the sales funnel and what you should not do – you can make the best decisions for your brand. In addition, the strategies mentioned above are easy to implement and can lead to great results if you do things right. As you do figure out which strategies to use, it is also recommended that you run an A/B test – since quantitative results do not lie.
Lastly, let me know your thoughts and any other tips for converting leads and follow-up that have worked for you. Leave a comment below and I look forward to hearing from you.