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Written by Emma Astroth
on May 02, 2019

When it comes to attracting and attaining new clients, few things are as discouraging as the ominous bounce rate, the number of people who locate your website but leave almost too soon. B2B organizations have a higher bounce rate than B2C - 61.4% on average. While not necessarily source for concern, a high bounce rate indicates a gap between the offer and the visitor's expectations.

B2B sales challenges are unique, from long sales cycles to actually getting the decision maker to participate in the conversation. The conversion funnel becomes crowded, moving leads slows down, and the CEO is not happy...

When perfected, the process of attracting new leads with top-of-the-funnel initiatives like blogs and social media posts to bottom-of-the-funnel priorities like demos and consultations – results in greater lead conversions and higher sales.

Inbound marketing and sales methodologies are founded on several pillars that challenge companies to

attract new clients,

engage their interest,

convert their standing,

close the sale,

and delight in the experience.

 

Meanwhile, sales professionals are tasked with

identifying leads,

establishing a connection,

exploring their needs,

and advising on the next steps.

While the methodologies offer a differentiated approach to these priorities, an effective lead conversion is still less about novelty and more about execution.

Artificial intelligence marketing inbound funnel

Therefore, optimizing the conversion funnel is a necessary next step for companies looking to improve their performance without reinventing the proverbial wheel.

Here’s how.

 

#1 Sales Funnel Introspective Phase

 

To make meaningful progress toward conversion rate optimization, you need to first understand your current approach to sales and marketing and its impact on your customers.

For starters, visualize your sales funnel, and consider the customer experience. Since the majority of potential customers opt out at the first decision point, is it possible that your conversion funnel is too complicated, offering more off-ramps than sales opportunities?

For instance, broad sales funnels that present a deluge of products and services are less successful than more nuanced and specific offerings. Know your niche and focus your efforts there.

At the same time, study the Google analytics surrounding your web traffic, and consider your customer relationship management process as it pertains to your marketing campaigns. These insights can help you understand where your visitors are coming from and the particular bottlenecks and pain points that might be costing your company the sale.

 

Google Analytics Behavior Flow 

Most importantly, before rushing to take action, reflect on your current products and processes, and consider potential best practices moving forward.

 

#2 Action Phase: Converting Visitors to Leads

 

Top-of-the-funnel inbound marketing initiatives attract visitors to your website. For example, a timely blog, a prescient podcast, or an innovative white paper can inspire engagement from potential customers and clients.

As inbound marketing software creator HubSpot notes, 

Your website must now be an online sales platform for your business — an integral part of marketing to prospects. If your website isn't selling around the clock, you're missing out on leads and revenue. 

Unfortunately, most of these users are just visitors and converting them into leads is incredibly difficult. 

Less than 5% of a website’s visitors will ultimately convert to a lead, which means that most slip away before companies ever have a chance to convert them. You need to plan to get the most out of your target's minimal exposure to your website, something that requires a website audit and an action plan.

Read: How to Calculate Your Website Conversion Rate

By analyzing your website’s heat map, the portions of your site that receive the most engagement, it’s possible to be more strategic and intentional about converting visitors into leads. More specifically, if website visitors are routinely engaging with your company’s blog content, including a call-to-action (CTA) on that page is a natural and necessary next step.

Website Audit, Heatmapping

Don’t make prospects work to enter your sales funnel. Strategically guide them with every click they make. Focus on the aspects of your website that are generating attention and place your best resources there.

 

#3 Action Phase: Lead to MQL Conversion

 

An effective marketing funnel requires leads to continually make progress toward the buyer’s stage where leads convert to sales. Unfortunately, many leads get stuck along the way. They encounter friction and disappear, embracing a competitor for something that your company could have provided instead. 

Once again, analytics can make all the difference. Understanding where your leads jump ship and stop moving through your funnel or monitoring campaign engagement over time can ensure that marketing initiatives are always as impactful as possible.

At the same time, marketing and sales departments only have so much capacity, which means that they can’t exert maximum resources on every lead, especially when a lead pool is growing because of high visitor conversion rates.

Thus, effective lead scoring, the process of determining a lead’s value and potential, can assist the sales team in targeting the right leads with their best resources.

Of course, bad leads don’t come from nowhere, and it’s possible that your buyer personas or even your website’s keywords are misaligned with your sales goals, causing unfit clients to enter your sales funnel and clog the system.

Read: How to Deal with Bad Marketing Leads

Since lead nurturing is a continual and integral part of any B2B lead generation marketing efforts, your company needs a strategic, targeted, and measurable system to facilitate this priority.

 

#4 Qualifying MQL to SQL - MoFu

 

A conversion funnel requires a lock-step effort between the marketing and the sales departments, especially when defining potential leads.

If marketing is identifying leads that don’t align with the sales team’s priorities, then both departments are working against each other rather than supporting a concerted, singular effort to increase sales.

Optimize your conversion funnel by auditing landing pages, content offers, and workflows to ensure parity between both departments. If necessary, craft new landing pages, create new content, and establish shared priorities so that marketing qualified leads (MQLs) align with sales qualified leads (SQL) in an intentional and objective way.

 

#5 Closing more Deals: SQL to Customer - BoFu

 

Finally, a successful sales funnel is dynamic, providing personalized presentations and offers that solve for a lead’s particular pain points.

In general, the more specific your product offerings, the better. For instance, providing potential buyers with quantified value in the form of ROI, savings, performance, or productivity can provide the intellectual nudge they need to continue moving toward a deal.

Meanwhile, collaborative efforts between the sales and marketing departments make it more likely that the company’s content will convert leads to sales.

 

Conclusion

Attracting new clients and closing sales is a critical component of any growing business, and it’s one priority that requires constant review and renewal. Fortunately, your company doesn’t need to reinvent the process to be effective.

By knowing and understanding your audience, you can cater to their specific needs and desires, so that quality leads become new sales. At the same time, accurately defining your target and understanding your own sales lifecycle can ensure alignment between what can quickly become the disparate sales and marketing priorities.

Most importantly, regularly auditing your content assets enables continuous improvement so that your conversion funnel never becomes stagnant.

The marketing and sales landscapes are always changing, and your company’s best practices should be as well.

Optimizing your conversion funnel doesn’t have to be revolutionary, but it should occur regularly to promote growth and productivity.

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