What’s Missing From Your Funnel?

Your sales funnel is about one thing and one thing only: converting leads to a sale. But getting to sale is not as linear or simple as it once was. Today’s buyer is doing his/her own due diligence online. And one the biggest missing pieces of our lead funnel is our ability to convert visitors to leads before they ever engage with our team.

As a seasoned marketer, I have never been more excited and more frustrated than I am today. The opportunity to capture online buyers/shoppers/prospects who want and need what you offer is greater than ever before.

As is the opportunity to spin your wheels writing lots of content, designing landing pages, and watching your visitors come and leave without leaving their information.

So how to crack the lead conversion code, then?

We have figured out the art but still, lack the science.

As a marketing professional who values data and is always on the watch for patterns, I am constantly wrestling with this simple question: what is the science to getting visitors to convert? So, I naturally turn to the internet and research for answers. What I have learned is this:

  1. The art of attracting leads to your online platforms is a code we have all learned how to crack. Retargeter ads, Linkedin shared content, facebook ads, Adwords and other tools give you the ability to get in front of eyeballs who are searching for products you sell and services you offer.
  2. But the “proof of the pudding is in the eating,” in other words, the conversion of that visitor to a lead is really all that matters. Impressions and click-through rates are nice to monitor and see, but they really don’t impact the bottom line if you can’t capture the visitor’s information. Period.
  3. In the world of technology marketing, there are little-to-no statistics on industry norms. I have heard several marketing agencies speak to what the conversion rate should be, but I have never read any published statistics referencing B2B conversions (they are always a B2C statistics). One conversion rate that lines up with the results IgniteRM has experienced with its clients is from a November 2015 Dataium study: “the average dealer website gets roughly 6,109 unique monthly visitors. Of those 6,109 people, only 1.5% completed a lead form, or in other words, only 1.5% converted. This is our industry’s standard.”
  4. Finally, the last pattern worth mentioning is that the lines have blurred between an eCommerce, retail, business and online purchase. The line between the B2C and B2B buyer is no longer distinct and different.
  • The buying journey for both B2C and B2B begins online.
  • Similar to the B2C buying experience, a B2B buyer is likely to read a handful of online reviews, confirm that information with a colleague or two and price shop before ever picking up the phone and having an initial call with your sales team.
  • Both the B2C and the B2B buyer want to self-educate online and avoid marketing language that over-promises on their claims and requires the buyer to make an extra effort during the initial stages of research.

Salsify, an online data analytics tool for retail and e-commerce, published statistics on how to set up an offer and convert a lead. B2B marketers take note of your ability to convert visitors is still at the individual level!

  • 94% of consumers will abandon a site or give up when they cannot find the info they are looking for
  • 66% of consumers want to see at least 3 images of a product while shopping
  • 87% of shoppers said product reviews impact their purchasing decision
  • 82% read at least 3 reviews before buying*

So, what are the best practices for a B2B marketer trying to convert visitors to leads on their landing pages? First of all the art is clear, the science is still a work in progress. But there are a few things you can do to increase your success online, and remember, if you are converting at 1%, an increase to 2% is a 100% uplift in lead conversions. What are the steps to creating a sales funnel that converts visitors and what’s missing from our sales funnel?

Lost sales productivity and wasted marketing budget cost companies at least $1 trillion dollars every year. It pays to have alignment between your sales and marketing teams. If you’re not sure whether you have discord between these two interconnected functions, we have some signs for you to watch out for.

4-signs that your sales and marketing are not aligned:

1. Marketing Activity is Created in a Vacuum
Instead of being a part of the overall revenue strategy and in alignment with sales goals, your marketing team is developing campaigns, collateral, and messages that are often product-centric, and discounted from the goals of sales. We wonder why this is so. Simply put: Marketing’s perspective of client needs is often static and driven by internal conversations. Sales, on the other hand, is constantly moving and often based on the last conversation with a big prospect. Both teams need to be inconsistent, healthy communication to build messages, campaigns, and content that meet the buyer’s needs at every stage of their buying journey.

  1. Your Sales Team Is Unaware of Your Marketing Team’s Activities
    Their focus is on making sales, which is fair. However, they have an entire department of people who are working to help them accomplish this goal. Whether it’s knowledge of campaigns that are running, where marketing collateral is stored for general use or lead scoring metrics, marketing just isn’t on the sales team’s radar.
  2. Your Marketing “Qualified Leads” Aren’t Yet Ready to Talk to Sales
    We are seeing more and more marketing team’s get greater traction using online and inbound techniques. Online buyers tell us what they want with the types of offers they download, the pages they view and the content they click into. But this does not mean that that buyer is ready to talk to sales. The gap between a “marketing qualified lead” (MQL) and a “sales qualified lead” (SQL) is great. Finding a way to nurture the lead to a sales-ready conversation is the challenge in front of all sales and marketing teams. Addressing this issue will keep more than
  3. Your Sales Team Wants More Events
    When you see a sales team stuck on events as the only way to get in front of customers, you’ve got problems. First of all, it shows that they don’t understand the complete buying process. Buyers in the very early stages of the buying process want to self-educate and often begin their buying journey online, not at your latest lunch-and-learn. It also shows that your sales team has no faith in your marketing team’s efforts—they don’t trust the sales funnel, the digital campaigns or your content strategy to bring them leads so they think the only way to reach prospects is to host an event and get in front of them.

The Missing Piece to Sales & Marketing Alignment

Alignment of Sales and Marketing has become the focus of most growth-oriented B2B organizations. As sales and/or marketing professionals, we understand that buyer’s journey is no longer linear. We know that a buyer will engage with our marketing content, website and sales team during any part of their decision making journey. The challenge in front of an “aligned” sales funnel is making sure each member (including sales and marketing)  in this funnel are working in tandem to move the lead closer to a sale.

Seems easy enough. Yet, there is often a role that is missing from a complete sales funnel. This role resides between the nurturing marketing performs and the consultation conversations that take place with the sales team. Sometimes referred to as the Inside Sales Rep, this role has historically been involved in sales enablement. Sometimes this role dials for dollars, sometimes this role might manage quotes, send out emails or do other grunt work on behalf of the sales team to enable the company to manage a large number of leads.

Unlike the more establish inside sales role, we want to suggest has a very different set of duties and goes by names such as “Lead Development Rep” or “Business Development Rep” and so forth.

As the title suggests, the Lead Development Rep nurtures, develops and assists a lead in moving from the awareness stage (at the top of the funnel) to the consideration stage (in the middle of the funnel). This role, unlike its predecessor (Inside Sales), is proactive and focused on helping, nurturing and aiding a lead during its buying journey. This role is dedicated to not moving the lead too quickly to the sales team until that lead is ready to talk to sales, and this role takes into consideration where the lead is in their journey and offers educational content to help that lead make a better buying decision. The Lead Development Rep helps leads who have expressed interest in the educational content you have provided but probably need more time for research and education before deciding they are ready to have a conversation with your sales team. Moving these leads too soon to the sales team could result in a premature sales call that results in lost leads, time and money.

The lead development role is so important to the modern buyer for many reasons. It helps keep communication between sales and marketing flowing while engaging the buyer and feeding their interest in your brand and solutions. The lead development rep can also let marketing know what materials would be helpful in keeping that prospect engaged and can communicate with the sales team about particular problems, solutions and business outcomes that lead is focusing on. With a lead development rep acting as a channel between marketing and sales while maintaining a relationship with contacts that are not quite ready to buy, you have an important advantage in your business for connecting with buyers in a way that is purposeful, helpful and within their timeframe. Relevancy and timing or key factors during any sales process. Take the time to consider a Lead Development Representative in your organization.

Getting to sale begins with an aligned marketing and sales team that follows a process. IgniteRM helps technology businesses create and map the lead’s journey within the context of revenue generation. Need help? Let’s talk.