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Leads don’t always convert. As a fact, not everyone who shows interest in a product or a service ends up becoming a customer.
A recent study concluded that 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales.
Even if that number is close to half of what’s stated, it leads to an important conclusion – you cannot win them all, so you must focus on selling to the ones you can.
Despite one of the many great challenges that lead conversion is – solving it is imperative to the success of any business. Leads are the lifeblood of sales, after all, and sales growth is a universal metric for measuring business success, no matter what industry or niche you choose.
Converting leads into customers isn’t easy, and nothing is more frustrating for sales teams that don’t know the reasons why their conversion rates are so low.
The reasons can be many – sometimes, yours isn’t the right solution for their problems. It’s also likely that they might not have a budget for buying your products or services. Maybe, your leads haven’t identified a clear purchase need yet…the list can go on.
These are some typical reasons that are usually beyond your circle of control, and it’s fine because every business has these reasons.
With that said, if you’re looking at your numbers and thinking what you might be missing, there’s high probability that you might be overlooking some reasons that you can influence and are within your control.
Some of these reasons can make or break your chances of closing a sale. Some of them can be the difference between a high performing sales growth quarter versus a disappointing one.
Here are three key reasons why your leads aren’t converting into sales (and what you can do to solve those problems) –
1. You're taking too long to reach out to leads
Before making a purchase decision, people like to gather as much information as possible, for researching, evaluating, and comparing different options.
At this start of their buying journey, people are going through the awareness/discovery phase and they want to know if a solution to their problem exists (and if it does, what does it look like and how well it can work for them).
In short, they want relevant information and they want it fast. Not reaching out to your leads quickly during this stage is the number one reason for lost sales opportunities.
A Harvard research shows that companies across various industries like – automobiles, services, education, software, healthcare, and many others simply do not contact their leads fast enough.
The research says that by simply reaching out to your leads within 60 minutes of generating them, your chances of converting them into customers increase by 7x.
As salespeople, the faster you can help your leads get relevant information about your business (and how it can solve their problems), the higher chances you get for having more conversations.
There’s also human psychology at play here – in an instant gratification world, nobody likes to wait. Your leads are in a rush already – impatient, excited, and eager to start looking out for solutions to the problems and pain-points they might have.
This makes the job of sales even tougher because if you aren’t quick enough to contact them, your competitors could take the cake. Put simply – if you snooze, you lose.
However, if you can be the first to reach out to them, you stand a lot to gain, especially when research shows that 78% of the customers buy from the 1st responder!
If you want more website visitors or email inquiries to convert into customers for your business – your job is to be there to hear and talk to your leads. If you can reach out and connect with them quickly, your end conversions will start reflecting the positive change you’re looking for.
How to avoid this pitfall?
- Deploy chatbots on your website and social media pages to offer first-level interaction to your leads and engage them through conversations.
- Utilise email bots to automatically reply to your leads generated via inbound emails and send follow-up messages to keep them engaged.
By reaching out to your leads within 60 minutes of acquiring them, you can increase your chances of converting them by 7x
2. You are not qualifying your leads
Even the greatest sales pitch in the world is worthless, if you’re telling it to the wrong person.
Lead qualification is a framework to help you understand which leads you should be talking to, and which ones to ignore.
A Forrester research pointed out that businesses that can qualify and nurture their leads can generate 50% more sales opportunities at up to 33% lesser costs.
If you aren’t qualifying your leads, you probably are spending too much time chasing the wrong ones, ultimately, leading to missed conversion opportunities and wasted resources.
More leads are always welcome, but it’s the quality of leads, not their quantity, that ultimately, makes or breaks your sales targets.
Conversions happen when there’s a fit between what your prospects need and want, and how well it matches with what you’re selling as a product or a service to them.
The advantage of having a lead qualification process is – it gives you visibility on leads with a higher probability of converting into customers.
This way, you can reach out to relevant leads quickly, have valuable conversations with them, and help them understand how your product or service can meet their needs.
If you’re not able to qualify them on the first call, you can de-prioritise talking to them till they’re ready to hear your sales pitch.
The single most valuable advantage of lead qualification is this – when you start qualifying your leads as part of your sales process, you can start saying the right thing to the right prospects at the right time. And once you start taking your sales pitch to the right ears, you will start getting more value from the time and efforts in the form of better end conversions.
How to avoid this pitfall?
- Establish a lead qualification layer and ask a set of pre-determined questions to understand how close a lead is to your ideal buyer persona, or making a purchase. This helps you understand and filter relevant prospects better.
- Allocate scores to your leads for better prioritisation. For example – prospects that have the budget and authority, and are also ready to make a purchase decision soon, should be reached out by sales first.
3. You are not following up with your leads
Usually, when people make a purchase decision, it’s a result of a series of steps completed across a period of time. These steps form what is known as the buyer’s journey.
Right from searching for solutions, to evaluating different options, buyers go through phases and thus, need constant communication and nurturing from sales before making a purchase decision.
Following up in sales is a crucial part of converting your leads into customers – a study by Lead Management concluded that if you wait more than 10 minutes to follow-up, your odds of closing a sale go down by 400%.
Smart salespeople know a fact – a conversion is never a result of a one-time, high octane pitch, but as a series of conversations spread throughout multiple touch points of a buyer’s journey.
If you’re confident that you’re quick to reach out to your leads and are also good at qualifying them, but your conversions don’t reflect that positive change, then the problem could be a lack of a robust follow-up process.
People need to hear from you multiple times before they begin to trust you and start evaluating your proposed solution.
The Lead Management study also highlighted that ideally, sales teams should follow-up with a lead at least 6 times before discarding them. By doing so, your chances of contacting them can go up by 70%.
Ultimately, the more you follow up with prospects and have valuable conversations with them, the higher are your chances of building trust and leading those conversations into end conversions.
Following up with qualified leads is the first step in building a systematic sales process – it will ensure that your sales reps are not giving up on good opportunities too quickly.
How to avoid this pitfall?
- Schedule auto email followup sequences via a CRM or an email marketing tool to nurture your leads and follow up with them with valuable content.
- Utilise re-targeting tools to run ads via search and social media platforms, and provide relevant and personalised marketing communication to your leads across the web.
In reality, the road from lead generation to lead conversion is a long one, and it helps to be prepared along the journey to increase your chances of getting to your sales goals.
Yet, you don’t always need the latest trick in the book or a fancy new hack to get better results, sometimes you just need to get better at doing the basics right.
To start converting more leads, apply these basic principles as part of your sales strategy –
- Reach out to your leads faster than your competitors.
- Ask the right set of questions to qualify your leads and prioritise accordingly.
- Follow up with the right messaging and timing to engage qualified prospects.
Once you get qualification a part of your sales process, not only will prospects understand your business better and trust you more; your sales teams will also spend their time wisely, stay motivated for longer, and convert leads faster.