How to Improve Your Sales Conversion Rate: 10 Established Tactics
June 25, 2019 | Greg Allen
Marketers—does it feel like your leads go into a black box after sending them to sales? If so, you’re not alone. One of the biggest challenges facing B2B marketers today is establishing an understanding of what a ‘qualified’ lead looks like in the eyes of your sales team. Now more than ever, marketing is playing a larger role in buyer enablement as prospects prioritize digital discovery over engagement with sales reps. If your content and marketing programs are simply devoted to lead capture, MQL creation, and nurturing, it’s time for a change.
10 Tactics For Improving Your Sales Conversion Rate
According to data from CSO Insights, only 42 percent of MQLs are accepted and worked by sales. To improve conversions, B2B marketers need to optimize their content and marketing activities for lead qualification, and work closely with their sales team to develop effective processes. Follow these ten steps to improve your sales conversion rate, prove the ROI of marketing, and demonstrate your value on the bottom line.
1. Define a Process
To effectively measure sales conversions, you first need a systematic approach. Ask yourself: Do you know happens after sales receives an MQL? According to our research, 66% of marketers either can’t see, or don’t care what happens to MQLs after they’re sent to sales. In order to help sales close deals, marketers must understand how an MQL becomes an SQL, and what the path to conversion looks like. If you do have a process in place, think about the results you’re getting from it. Developing a system that works for both sales and marketing is an important step to understanding if a lead is being effectively worked and how they’re converting.
2. Agree on Qualification
Our marketing team says it best, “There is a disconnect in the model that marketing uses to collect and score leads (the Q in MQL) and what sales expects and values in an SQL.” If your MQL creation process is solely based on actions, it’s no longer effective. Marketers need an effective way to capture and qualify leads in the marketing activities they’re already running. We live in a content-driven world, so engagement no longer equals interest. Partner with sales to understand what makes a good lead, define a list of qualifying questions, and find ways to uncover need and intent to improve entry points.
3. Align Your Message
Today, sales reps work to build group consensus with anywhere from five to more than fifteen people involved in a purchasing decision. In one instance, I spoke to over 30 people who were part of the same deal. Gartner has done many studies proving that mixed messaging leads to buyer remorse and purchasing regret. With that many cooks in the kitchen, it’s crucial that sales and marketing’s message is aligned. If your message is misaligned, or becomes conflicting, it can cause concern and hesitancy.
4. Break Away From the Status Quo
Most B2B organizations have the same mentality when it comes to conversions—“Download Now” for PDF content, “Sign Up” for webinars, and “Subscribe” for blogs. How many times does your audience see the same language and messaging in a day? Ask yourself—if we removed our logo, could a potential buyer tell if it’s us, or a competitor? If the answer is no, begin to develop your brand voice and authenticity with your audience. By the time they connect with sales, you’ve differentiated your organization and aren’t simply seen as one of ‘X’ vendors.
5. Think Information, Not Individuals
Information, not individuals, make the purchase process easier for prospects. Many sales reps have seen the CEB stat that says, “The typical B2B buyer is already 57 percent through the purchase process before reaching out to sales.” Yet we still measure demand gen marketing on lead capturing and MQL creation models. Buyers want answers to their questions and information in the awareness and consideration stages, so how are you helping them get access to what they need? If the answer is introducing a sales rep to follow up, it’s probably ineffective. Instead, think about how you can uncover intent behind interactions while driving the customer journey.
6. Focus on the Consideration Stage
If you’ve moved a prospect past the awareness stage, you’re likely one of 3-5 potential solutions identified. I’d argue that this is the most critical part of the purchasing journey, as sales increasingly has less early impact. Because of this, marketing needs to shift their focus to enablement. This is where the power of customer case studies, guides, ebooks, or other sales enablement assets come in, because they can address or verify the needs of your potential customers. The faster a lead gets what they want, the more confident they become in your offering, which opens the door to a sales conversation.
7. Personalize the Buyer Journey
Stop treating all leads the same—no one likes receiving generic messages. Everyone wants to feel like they’re being heard, not pitched to. Yet we tend to put every lead through the same qualification process and as a result, sales continues with lackluster follow up attempts. Teams have resorted to hopeless attempts at personalization by finding a common hobby or interest. But that’s completely unrelated to a buyer’s needs in the first place. Sales and marketing teams need to work together to create real, valuable personalization. This could be crafting customer stories related to a buyer’s needs or industry, doing proper research to demonstrate how you could impact their day-to-day responsibilities, or my personal favorite, implement interactive qualification tactics.
8. Give Customers a Voice
Has your team spent days, weeks, or even months mapping out buyer personas and a prospect’s ideal content consumption? While these are valuable to understand your buyer, they’re largely based on assumptions. I’ve talked to teams who’ve spent thousands of dollars on data science to dissect engagement and consumption trends to anticipate buyer’s needs. And again, while there is value in persona development and understanding consumption trends, there’s a better way. Give your customer a voice and capture exactly what they’re looking for. With interactive qualification, you can stop guessing and give your customers a voice. Marketers can create a unique, “wow they get me” moment, and show that you understand their goals and needs before they ever get on the phone with sales.
9. Use Your Advocates
Would you take buying advice from someone who is not overly knowledgeable in the field? Probably not, which is why most buyers identify with an ‘early or late majority’ buying mentality, rather than an early adopter. Find ways to provide reassurance in your sales and marketing efforts by demonstrating how you’ve solved similar challenges for existing customers. If you’re not highlighting customer wins throughout the buyer’s journey, anticipate a reference call towards the end of the sales cycle.
10. Create a Constant Feedback Loop
The digital world and new marketing tactics are shifting so rapidly that creating a constant feedback loop between marketing and sales is essential. Encourage both teams to be candid about what’s working and what’s not. Marketers should be getting regular feedback from sales on the leads they are sending, and where they are in the sales cycle. Make sure that both teams are communicating effectively so everyone stays in the loop, and has a pulse on how to improve lead quality and sales conversions.
Building Towards Better Results
If your MQL number is steadily increasing, that’s a good sign that you’re heading in the right direction. But it’s also important that marketers prioritize lead quality over lead quantity. It’s the only way to combat unattainable MQL quotas, and prove you don’t need hundreds of MQLs to create a single sales opportunity. Marketers need to unite with sales to boost their ROI, improve sales productivity, and most importantly, increase your sales conversion rate.
Learn how SnapApp can help ensure that your sales reps are engaging the right targets, so you can close more deals and drive revenue.