To a large extent, a continuous flow of sales opportunities from prospective customers determines a business’s financial health.
The marketing and sales process are two of the most important departments in a company, and they need to be executed with a well-coordinated strategy. The marketing department’s job is to focus on inbound marketing strategies and provide high value leads to the sales funnel, while the sales team is responsible for converting lead lists.
However, these two departments don’t always work in tandem. This is clearly corroborated by some stats from MarketingSherpa. According to the study, 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales due to the lack of lead nurturing. Additionally, 61% of B2B marketers send all their leads to the sales team, while only 27% of them are qualified for conversion.
Generating leads is just not enough. It’s important to make sure that these new contacts develop a strong affinity toward the said product or service. In the event of the new leads are not being qualified, a business has to pivot priorities by investing heavily in time and resources in order to acquire customers.
The key to achieving a higher lead conversion rate is to make your marketing and sales teams agree on the basics of a perfect sales-qualified lead who has intent to buy. Every company has its unique target audience that exhibits certain traits that indicate how they can be converted.
What’s A Sales-Qualified Lead and Why Is It Important?
A perfect sales-qualified lead (SQL) refers to an interested customer who intends to purchase your products or services. Your marketing and sales teams have to determine individuals who are interested in engaging with your content, requesting sales info, or ready to make a purchasing decision. These prospects would subsequently be qualified to move further down the sales funnel.
In order to achieve a higher SQL performance, you need to calculate your accurate SQL conversion rate. You can do this with lead scoring. Generally, an SQL conversion rate is indicative of your company’s definition of marketing qualified lead (MQL), sales qualified lead, and potential opportunities. In other words, your SQL conversion rate evaluates the quality of leads resulting from marketing strategies and the effectiveness of the sales team’s tactics in engaging them.
A well-developed SQL framework enables your company to market and sell more strategically to your prospects. This strategic alignment can drastically increase the number of successful deals by customizing your messaging for your interested contacts.
Here are the steps to achieve a successful SQL performance:
Understand your prospects
In order to create a strong sales-qualified lead strategy, it is very crucial to understand who your prospects are as well as their needs, interests, and desires. At this stage of your sales funnel, you have to identify how “sales ready” your lead is.
However, knowing how close your lead is to potentially converting is a tricky business. In this regard, a more effective and inclusive approach to understand your prospects are using the BANT system. It stands for Budget, Authority, Needs, and Timeline.
- Budget: Do your prospects have enough budgets to buy your product/service? Even if your prospects like your solution, they aren’t a viable customer if they can’t afford it. Your sales team shouldn’t waste valuable time engaging with leads that don’t have the proper budget available.
- Authority: Authority tells you whether your prospects are in a position to make a purchasing decision. Even if they are enthralled by your product or service, they may have to discuss the decision over with other important team members before committing. Similarly, in B2B sales, deals oftentimes require buy-in from a team of decision-makers before they can close.
- Need: How much the prospect needs your products or services depends upon whether they are tailor-made for fulfilling their needs. You can ask them whether or not your solution offers a real value to your prospects. It will give you an idea to match your solutions with sales qualified leads having articulated needs on the part of your prospects.
- Timeline: Sometimes, for various reasons, it’s just not the right time for deals to close. Maybe the prospects are waiting for funds, or for the right opportunity. Before moving any further, you need to find out when your prospect was hoping to implement your solution.
Create a winning customer service strategy
A great customer service experience goes a long way in attracting and retaining prospects. More often than not, the first experience that a customer had with your brand determines how they perceive your customer service. Businesses that provide positive experiences to their prospects can easily bring them into their sales funnel.
According to a recent study by LogMeln, 82% of customers reported that they will stop doing business with a company following a bad experience. In another survey, 40% of customers said that a healthy interaction with their sales reps drives them to spend more with the company.
A good customer service experience encompasses positive interaction, online & offline communication, and overall customer experience (CX) — from initial contact to final sale, and beyond. In this digital age, a positive customer experience depends largely on how strong your online presence is. Creating an engaging website gives you a much-needed head start.
Every element of your website should serve a purpose. From a reliable cPanel hosting to visuals to usability, every facet of your site that boosts your CX can have a huge impact on your brand’s ability to acquire more prospects.
Focus on long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific key-phrases that can be strategically used to rank higher in search engine results within a short period of time. Visitors are more likely to use them at a time when they are closer to a point-of-purchase, or when they are using voice search.
Managing long-tail keywords creates better lines of communication between your business and prospects who are actively shopping for what you provide. Long-tail keywords typically have less traffic, but people that search for them are more qualified. They are highly valuable for businesses who want their content to rank in organic Google searches as well as for advertisers who are running paid search marketing campaigns.
Find a reliable, renewable source of long-tail keywords that are right for you and for your niche. Invest some time in long-tail keywords research to post targeted ads on search engines and to create a landing page with rich content.
Incorporate targeted campaigns on social media
Social media is not just a brand awareness vehicle but has also emerged as a powerful lead generation tool within recent years.
Social media is cost-effective and produces tangible results over time. Today, more and more people are joining popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Snapchat. Due to this overwhelming presence of people on these networks, social media has become a lucrative marketing channel.
Traditionally, lead generation included activities such as sending out surveys in the mail and cold calling. Today, the rules of engagement have completely changed. Now, lead generation includes content marketing, video sharing, and ad campaigns that are aimed to bring your prospects into your sales funnel.
Creating engaging content and sharing it on social media is the key to achieving successful SQL performance. However, achieving a promising sales lead, you have to promote gated content. But if you don’t gate your content, you’re sharing valuable resources without getting anything in return. So building an audience on different social media platforms that interact with your content means you are providing targeted offers through creative marketing.
Your sales qualified leads give you a fair picture of where your sales and marketing strategy is headed. A good SQL strategy brings sales and marketing teams together and increases your number of prospects. To achieve a great sales qualified lead performance, you have to understand needs, motivations, and desire of your prospects.