How to Stop Losing Leads
If you feel that a large number of leads created by your marketing team are often wasted, then this article is for you. Companies put a lot of time, money, and resources into improving lead generation, but at the same time, they often ignore a huge gap between marketing and sales teams, which often results in the loss of leads. Leads are simply left sitting in CRM systems or mailboxes, and over time their contacts become useless as your service is no longer useful for them.
12 min read
May 20, 2021
In this blog post, we will share some valuable tips on how to prevent such issues; but first, let’s start by identifying some of the most common reasons companies lose leads.
- You might not know your target audience well and try to sell to everyone without understanding the real needs of potential clients. As a result, your marketing campaigns, social media, and email marketing messages give wrong Information, and you might lose leads at the early stages of the sales pipeline.
- Your sales process may not be well-organized, for example, very slow responses to clients’ inquiries. If you do not give timely feedback to potential customers, they will find another company.
- You might have a lack of leads analytics and segmentation, so you end up wasting time on wrong leads, and as a result, some of the prospects are neglected or ignored.
- Your sales and marketing teams might work separately from each other, having different strategies and KPIs. As a result, some leads may be lost due to a lack of information or contradicting initiatives.
In other words - if your business loses leads, it is likely because you don’t cultivate them properly. Let’s figure out what lead cultivation is and how it can help your business to increase sales.
What is Lead Cultivation?
Every company has its own strategy to increase sales: contextual advertising, banners, mailing, cold calls, events, partnerships with KOLs (key opinion leaders), targeting in social media, video hosting, etc. With each source bringing in a certain number of leads and potential deals. The process of turning a lead into a client, the transition from one stage of a selling process to another, is called lead cultivation. During this process, you should focus on the activities that help to convert potential customers from just a lead into paying clients and at the same time analyze and track the movement of each lead received through the sales pipeline.
In order to effectively track and analyze the sales process, you can use some kind of software, for example a relevant CRM system. A CRM system helps you to estimate the percentage of leads that become sales, how much time is spent on answering requests, and identify the stage where you lose your leads. CRMs help you to record and save leads and sales data, as well as all changes that have been made to the customers throughout the selling process. Although it is an effective project management tool for each department, in particular, sales, marketing and customer service, there is no sense in just collecting data in CRM; you also need to practice effective lead management.
Here’re some valuable tips on how to prospect leads and increase sales with effective lead cultivation management.
Analyze your Target Audience and Tailor the Content
A lack of understanding of your ideal customer (buyer persona) is one of the main reasons that businesses fail to convert leads into customers.
The aim of sales is to attract high-quality leads; however, simply attracting them is not enough. Along with acquiring leads, you also need to make sure that you don’t lose them at the first stage of the sales pipeline. The best way to do this is to analyze your target audience and make sure that your marketing material is tailored to their needs. Sometimes you might lose leads because your website or social media content does not speak to the right audience. As a result, sales representatives may waste time targeting wrong leads, those who are unlikely to buy your product.The key is, not to try to sell to everyone; identify your target audience and make a content precisely for them. During the lead cultivation, you need to understand what your customers really want and satisfy their expectations.
Along with creating exciting content to attract leads, you need to ensure that you continue to nurture your leads through all the pipeline stages with engaging content. The material that you offer to your potential customers should correspond to their position in the sales pipeline and their interest in the product. For example, those prospects who have just known about your product may find it useful to acquaint themselves with the best materials of your corporate blog, and more “advanced” users will appreciate all kinds of industry research, statistics, webinars, video presentations, and even free trial versions of your product.
If your marketing department has done an impressive job creating remarkable content, new visitors can move through the pipeline quickly and be easily converted to prospective buyers. However, this is not yet the end of lead cultivation, the final result will depend on what happens next.
Pay Attention and Respond Quickly
What will happen if we visit your website right now and fill out any form? Will we be contacted promptly? If the answer from your company isn’t instant, you still should be looking to improve your lead cultivation process.
The longer the time is between filling in the lead capture form and the company’s callback, the lower is the probability that the lead will become a real client. In most companies’ sales representatives pay much more attention to existing customers than to new requests - that is why the lead cultivation process slows down. As it costs more money to acquire new customers than it does to keep your existing ones, working with current customers is often a higher priority for some managers. As existing customers are more likely to bring money to the company, the processing of new applications can be sidelined and as a result the process is less efficient. We would recommend not to underestimate customer acquisition and ensure that you put resources into cultivating new requests.
The best way to do this is with an immediate response, this could be via phone call or an email, and will show your customer that you value their business, motivating them to take the next steps. Your first contact with the client should make a positive first impression, this is where you introduce them to your brand.The process of developing relationships with leads at every stage of their journey is called lead nurturing - an important part of lead cultivation. Nurturing is designed to inspire your potential customers to engage with your business.
Also, by calling your prospective buyers back immediately, you know that they are likely to be by their phone or computer, with your company still fresh in their minds. The immediate callback within several seconds may impress potential clients with the so-called “wow-effect” - the emotional response that builds trust, they might feel like, “If this is how effective their customer service is, I want to work with them!”
One thing to keep in mind is that your customers may be busy and not answer your first call. Even though a customer left an application for a callback, they may forget, have another engagement or be tied up at work when you call. Some companies consider such leads a useless part of traffic that they do not need to work with; however, we would recommend that you should do between two to three follow-up calls; but after those further attempts will be less effective.
For follow-up calls, you can set up an auto-call to reach the client at the right time, setting the frequency and intervals you want to call for missed calls. There are some phone systems that will record the missed call and assign a callback after a predetermined time. Alternatively, sales managers can focus on the customers who have responded, with sales reps continuing to follow up on the missed calls, saving time and ensuring that no contact falls through the cracks.
Unfortunately, some companies do not even provide such a “callback at a convenient time” option or if and when they do return the call they are with at a great delay. By giving the client the opportunity to schedule the conversation for a convenient time and keep this agreement, you are more likely to get their attention and have a longer conversion. It is extremely important to have a clear process for handling all these kinds of calls and other “missed” requests, it can help you to stand out from your competitors. Here are some tips that may help you to catch the flow of incoming inquiries:
- Set up a callback option, set the script for unanswered calls;
- Regulate the processing of night calls;
- Record the calls for further analysis and control of their quality, and find out at which stage you can miss the lead;
- Integrate Facebook Ads and other social media with marketing & sales analytics systems that you use and set up request notifications in order not to lose any of messages.
By implementing these steps, you will see a significant decrease of lead loss. If you are interested to know more about cloud phones systems, we have an article for you on this topic in our blog.
Improve Sales Leads Analytics and Segmentation
After your leads are properly contacted by your sales reps, we strongly advise you to qualify them. You can do this by putting them in categories with different priorities, depending on the probability of becoming customers and the stage of the selling process. Without lead qualification and filtering, your sales team can waste time on leads which will never convert. Make sure that you give hot leads to the best sales reps. Some sales reps believe that if potential clients have already expressed interest, then they are guaranteed customers; however, this is not the case. A prospect can easily be lost due to poor service or due to lack of experiences. It is much more effective to pass good prospects to experienced sales representatives and put a beginner on cold calls.
To ensure that you optimize your sales process, it is a good idea to split the leads into different groups based on their attributes or actions, this is called segmentation. For each segment, you should also look at assigning a specialist sales rep, who is the expert in their field. For example, you may have one group of potential clients who have previously visited your website and another group for leads who searched for a certain service or product information. Such lead segmentation will allow you to find an individual approach to each group, satisfying as many leads as possible by providing them with more in-depth information. Some examples of lead segments: email subscribers, content downloaders, demographics stratification (age, gender, location), hot and cold leads, and low and high intent. You can divide the leads into any criteria you identify to make the sales process more effective.
It is important to gather analytics on where your lead comes from, analyzing which group and marketing channel has the highest conversion rate. This is so you can allocate resources effectively, so remember to use UTM tags (Urchin Tracking Module).
With proper lead analytic, segmentation and qualification, you can be confident that your sales and marketing teams are prioritizing the best potential clients for your product.
Improve the Marketing and Sales Departments Communication
Marketing and sales teams often compete: if revenue falls, the sales department may justify this by poor-quality leads which come from the marketing team, and marketers will refer to outdated sales scripts. Lead conversion works best when sales and marketing teams are working together, to ensure that you need to establish reliable and effective communication between the two departments.
The difference between sales and marketing is that they work at different levels of the sales pipeline. Sometimes disagreement in the team results in the loss of leads, resulting in a decrease in sales. To avoid this, here are some examples of typical weak points in communication between sales and marketing departments regarding lead cultivation:
● Marketing launched a targeted advertising campaign to attract new customers on special terms and invited them to call and find out details. If the sales department is not informed about these “special terms”, sales reps will not be able to respond in a proper way. Hence the budget for advertising campaigns is wasted as leads are most likely lost.
● Marketing implements new activities without coordinating them with the sales department. In this case, sales specialists may not be ready for the growing amount of potential customers. This will cause a negative reaction from potential leads due to delays in time or quality of responses.
● Marketing carries out activities, but the sales department does not receive leads. The reasons can vary from issues in integration with the CRM system to banal irresponsibility. The sales department will have nothing to process in this case.
● The sales department does not give feedback on the number and quality of leads. Then marketing will have no information on activities to focus on in future, and the result of the next campaigns and lead generation will be less predictable due to poor analytics.
How to avoid the above scenarios and collaborate constructively? Although sales and marketing departments have their own quantitative KPIs and different activities (to generate leads and to process them), both of them have a common goal, to increase sales. Therefore, we advise you to set up at least one common KPI, for example, the quantity of deals, this will determine a clear criteria of high-quality leads for both departments. The sales department is also required to qualitatively process the leads that marketers bring, but also to form their requests for marketing activities. With a good collaboration and friendly approach between the sales and marketing departments and a mutual team responsibility the probability of turning a lead into a customer is much higher.
In addition, we would advise you to test your sales process by going through a full purchase cycle and analyzing, at which stage you, as a lead, may be lost. Along with identifying challenges, you can see how your departments work and identify opportunities for improvement. By putting yourself in your clients’ shoes, you will have a more comprehensive understanding of what they really need and how to turn them into real customers.