Every business wants to increase sales conversions. More customers mean more revenue means more profit. The pickle is: closing leads is easier said than done, no matter how well you plan.
Sales conversions are especially challenging for B2B companies, where a marketing qualified lead may not become sales qualified: the B2B2 or B2U2B conundrum. Often times, end-users do research on products and services before presenting the options to the decision maker.
One of the keys to converting at a higher rate is creating an effective sales funnel.
Understanding the Mechanic of the Sales Funnel to Increase Sales Conversions
A sales funnel is a system designed to draw in your target audience and get them to take the action you want (e.g. sign up for a webinar, download your report, etc.). The objective of any sales funnel is to convert leads. The inbound sales funnels consists of three components: ToFu, MoFu, and BoFu.
While these may sound like items on an Asian fusion menu, they're important parts of your leads conversion process.
- ToFu - Top of Funnel. This is the first place where potential customers find you. Put another way, it's the first stage of the buyer's journey- Awareness. For example, someone may see one of your blog posts, ads, or content offer and want to know more. Typically, this content is not overtly promotional but addresses common issues or problems your customers are facing.
- MoFu - Middle of Funnel. This is the stage where you educate your prospects as they read your e-book or report, watch your video, or access the information you want them to have. The prospects start considering your company as a potential match for their need.
- BoFu - Bottom of Funnel. At this stage, you want to convince people who you have the perfect solution to their problems. You might offer a consultation, a free trial, or a quote. If you can, shorten the decision time (and make sure they pick you).
You can tell the true performance of your sales conversion tactics in 2 stages:
- Lead to sale conversion rate – This rate shows how qualified the leads are when they enter MoFu and move to sales. A low conversion rate points to a problem in lead qualification, insufficient or ineffective nurturing, or a misalignment between your business’s goals and your resources.
- Unique visitors to sales – If your website receives a large number of unique visitors but you’re not closing deals (or not as many as you should), it is likely that those visitors are not your target audience. Review your content and redefine your personas. It could also be that they are a good fit, but fail to see your offer as a solution to their need.
Inbound Marketing Tips to Increase Sales Conversions
1. Lead Scoring -
To get the best conversions, you need to make sure you're targeting the most qualified leads. Lead scoring is the process of assigning values to leads based on criteria such as industry, job title, behavior (e.g. opens emails, shares your posts), location, demographics, and other factors relevant to your strategy.
2. Tracking Conversions -
To identify the best marketing methods, it's essential to track conversions with Google Analytics and your CRM. Test as many elements as possible to hone in on the strategies that are the best match for your audience. For example, test email subject lines, blog post topics, headlines, opt-in forms, fonts, colors, and types of images.
3. AdWords Tracking -
If you use AdWords, it's essential to bid on the right keywords and get the best possible ROI. Test elements such as headlines, keywords, landing pages, and calls-to-action. Spy on your competition to learn what keywords they are using.
4. Social Ads Tracking -
With ads on Facebook and other social media sites, you can test different ad types and targeting options. Also, measure which sites bring you the best results, which varies from one business to another.
5. Strong Call-to-Action -
All of your content, whether emails, blog posts, videos, paid ads or anything else must contain a clear call-to-action (CTA) such as "Download a free e-book," "Call for a free consultation," or "Register for our webinar." Leads should know what they will get by clicking. Remove any ambiguity.
6. Heat Mapping -
Heat maps show you exactly what your website visitors are doing. Beyond measuring metrics such as traffic and bounce rates, a heat map shows you where your visitors are going and how much time they spend in every part your site. Heat maps are helpful for SEO and for identifying the most effective features on your site.
7. A/B Testing -
A/B testing, also called split testing, is a simple but powerful method of comparing two variables to find out which performs better. Examples include testing two headlines, email subject lines, color fonts, or calls-to-action.
8. Smart Forms -
HubSpot offers this neat feature of smart content tools. Smart forms are forms that behave differently based on rules you set. Condensed version for mobile phones, different fields dependent on location, or even lifecycle stage.
9. Offer Relevant & Timely Content -
Make sure you're offering content that your audience really needs and cares about. Use the information you gathered about your leads to address their pain points. B2B content marketing requires careful planning if we want it to stick when we throw it live.
10. Lead Nurturing -
Nurture your leads by reaching out to them on multiple channels (blog, social media, email, etc.), retargeting them, personalizing and segmenting content. You need multiple touch points before full conversion can happen. While converting a lead to a marketing qualified lead is “easy”, getting them closer to a sale requires more work.
11. Pay Attention to Your Email Metrics -
Email marketing is one of the best ways to increase your sales conversion rate. The only 2 metrics you need are Open Rate and Click Rate. Since you carefully craft your subject lines, your open rate should be healthy. If not, the recipient didn’t think your message was worth reading. Click rate is more exciting, as it is a conversion, no matter its form: sharing the email, clicking a passive link, or clicking the CTA. Either way, the lead is inching down toward BoFu.
Keep an eye on leads who open but don’t click. You should consider getting one-on-one with them.
12. Follow Up on Your Leads-
Effectively following up is both an art and science. Many prospects need to be contacted multiple times before they're converted. Email sequences, follow-up phone calls, retargeting can help you close sales with stubborn prospects.
Useful Read: 15 Marketing Metrics to Add to Your Dashboard
Inbound Sales Tips to Grow Your Revenue
13. Know Your Sales Funnel -
You want to know your sales funnel like the back of your hand. Every element should have a purpose and be targeted toward a specific buyer persona.
14. Sell in Real Time -
Using tactics such as live stream videos, webinars, Google Hangouts or live-tweeting sessions, you can engage with your customers in real time. Live offline events are also good for this, of course. Don’t forget to set up a workflow for each event and automate follow up and nurturing.
15. Use Data to Drive Your Sales Strategy -
When you base all of your decisions on data, you can consistently improve your results. The good news is you have access to marketing intelligence you never dreamed of before. No need to sweat over collecting data about your audience, your customers, or people you don’t want to sell to.
16. Define Clear and SMART Goals -
SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. Your teams will thank you for it. If your goals are unrealistic, your sales conversions will never improve (and you will have to deal with frustrated teams). Goals should absolutely be agreed upon by all members of your team. Make sure you have a sales enablement process in place to align Sales and Marketing.
17. Track Activity and Goals Progress -
It's not enough to merely set goals. You also have to constantly track your sales KPIs so you can see if you’re on path at any given time. This is the best way to promptly react and stay on course.
Useful Read: the 12 Most Important KPIs
18. Promote a Solution Not a Pitch -
Your prospects, especially when they're savvy business owners, don't want to hear hype; they want to know how you're going to solve their problems.
19. Educate Your Leads -
The more you educate your leads to set them up for success, the more likely they are to see you as a trusted expert who can help them. Businesses are often struggling with sales conversions because they think educating leads is the job of marketers. You must provide value every step of the way.
20. Cross-sell to Boost Volume -
Follow the lead of major retailers such as Amazon, a company that's mastered the art of cross-selling (with features such as recommended and related products). Suggest upsells and related products/services to your customers.
21. Use Automated Reporting Tools -
These give you a quick overview of how you're doing in different areas and show you where you need to make changes. Preferably opt for an all-in-one solution, or a platform that lets you integrate with other tools so essential data live under the same roof.
22. Focus on the Long-term -
Keep in mind that many strategies such as content marketing, social media, and email are cumulative. Your influence and authority grow as you create strong content that helps you acquire the kind of targeted leads that turn into sales.
23. Run Contests -
Activity contests that invite people to send in their ideas, photos, or videos help you engage with your audience. Contests can help you create viral content and improve conversions.
24. Share Best Practices -
Communicate well with your team and encourage a culture where everyone shares their best tips and strategies. Your teams will perform better if they are part of a dynamic environment.
25. Arm Your Sales Team -
Provide your sales agents with the most thorough and up-to-date information about leads to help them get better results. Practice the art of Smarketing, or sales and marketing alignment. The 2 departments that generate leads and revenue should not act like a dysfunctional family.
Getting better results is more about doing many little things right than trying to find one hidden secret. Fine tune every aspect of your sales funnel, track your results, and make adjustments as needed. If you follow this formula consistently, you'll find that your sales conversions go up.
Are your sales teams overworking and underperforming? Schedule a sales audit so we can give you a few pointers.