By Jaakko Paalanen, Chief Revenue Officer at Leadfeeder
It’s no secret – lead generation can be a costly endeavour for a business. In fact, the average cost of closing a lead is estimated to be around $198 from start to finish.
Savvy buyers, stiff competition, and longer sales cycles have created complex funnels that make it easier for leads to “leak”.
Sales and marketing teams interconnect to form an expansive and often expensive funnel. But there are ways businesses can streamline the process and reduce the cost of each lead.
Map out the buyer-to-customer journey
Before you can think about closing sales, you first need to understand the three primary stages of the buyers’ decision-making.
In mapping out the buyer-to-customer journey, you gain greater insight into what prospective customers will expect from a business and which sales tactics to apply effectively and when.
Initially, the buyer will be in the awareness stage. This is where the buyer first becomes aware of your brand, whether through word of mouth or via marketing tactics.
A business will then need to sift through this wide pool of prospects to discover those that will convert into a customer. At this stage, identifying target audiences is essential to help the right prospects pass through the funnel into the next stage. To do so, businesses can create quality content that attracts desired clientele without being too sales driven.
Interested parties will then enter the consideration stage. This is the stage where businesses can showcase their USPs. Potential customers will still have questions and problems that need solving so businesses should take the opportunity to provide the prospect with information highlighting their advantages over competitors.
Finally, prospects will move into the decision-making stage where they’ll either convert or not. Remember, businesses should still be active here in approaching prospects. Offering incentives such as free trials, discounted initial prices or even just reaching out for a final pitch can help push prospects over the threshold.
Filter prospects with long-tail keywords
While it’s great to have a wide pool of prospects, this does not always equate to greater conversions and may mean resources are being spent on the wrong people.
If your business produces a lot of leads but your conversion rate remains low, it’s likely prospects are not progressing beyond the awareness stage and your sales funnel has become too top-heavy.
One reason why your lead generation efforts have become so imbalanced is you’re not filtering your prospects. Marketing teams can help support sales here by only targeting those searching for more detailed, highly relevant long-tail keywords.
While you will have reduced traffic avoiding those searching for shorter, more basic search terms, sales teams can be confident leads entering the sales funnel are more valuable and more likely to buy, leading to an improved conversion rate.
Additionally, the cumulative effect of ranking for long-tail keywords on organic traffic can be beneficial for SEO and marketing teams too, particularly if your website authority is low and can’t compete with larger sites. The lower competition for niche search terms will help boost visibility and allow you to rank higher on Google.
Use data to identify potential leaks
So, you’ve found your target market, they’ve begun their descent through the sales funnel, they’ve even made it to your website, yet they still aren’t converting. What’s going wrong?
Evaluating website performance, specifically whether the site has high bounce rates, poor traffic, short sessions and low conversion rates, is the first step to plugging any potential leaks.
Google Analytics is an important tool that provides regular data reports to help businesses pinpoint where and why potential customers are dropping off. For example, if leads aren’t spending a lot of time on a page and clicking off too quickly, it might indicate there isn’t a strong enough call to action or the copy simply isn’t engaging or relevant enough.
You can also use Google Analytics data to identify which pages are most popular, which marketing channels drive the most users to your website, and any seasonal trends.
Businesses can use this information to determine what is and isn’t successful for driving leads and channel their marketing efforts there.
Use behavioural data to increase customer acquisition
Understanding customer behaviour is the key to strengthening your sales funnel. And there are a range of behavioural analytics tools to identify areas of a business’ website that need improving.
Make use of heatmaps and scroll tracking, or you can collect a prospect’s feedback directly by offering them to complete a survey.
Social media data is also an underutilised data set and for B2B companies, LinkedIn can prove to be a highly valuable lead generation tool – a recent study found LinkedIn was 277 percent more effective for lead generation than other social media channels. Use it to track who is engaging with your profile, network and make connections via the platform.
And if you are one of the 81 percent of B2B marketers that use email marketing as the primary form of content marketing, be sure to implement behavioural data for increased engagement and open rates, as well as heightened ROI.
In addition to using data to optimise emails for the appropriate devices and segmenting audiences, you can also use website behavioural data to truly personalise email newsletters and send relevant and valuable information that will actually interest prospective customers.
Make minor changes for a big impact
Sometimes, you don’t need grandiose changes or redesigns to fix a leaky sales funnel.
Tweaking something as minor as a poorly designed call-to-action could make your user experience more persuasive and resolve a significant leak in your sales funnel.
Experiment with moving a call-to-action button to a more prominent location, altering the copy or even just changing its font size may result in a marked increase in conversions.
This was the case for the software company, Veeam, which changed a single world on their on-site copy, and generated $15 million dollars in just one month.
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