How to Convert Leads into Sales: 7 Insider Secrets
Generating leads is only the first of many steps to successfully winning new business. To truly see results, you need to know how to convert leads into sales — consistently. And while tactics like lead nurturing emails and frequent follow-up are necessary and effective, they usually aren’t enough on their own.
Buyer expectations for a great brand experience are bigger than ever. To win leads over your competitors you need to get hyper-targeted, personalized, data-driven, and customer-centric (among other key focus areas).
In this guide, we’ll highlight 7 insider secrets for going beyond the pipeline management status quo to convert more leads and ultimately earn more revenue for your business.
- More than 80% of buyers are willing to pay more for a better experience. Voice of customer data gives you insight into the experience your buyers want.
- Three-quarters of buyers expect personalized experiences and become frustrated when they don’t receive it. Personalizing your marketing and sales communication is essential.
- High-value content drives conversions. Buyers engage with 13+ assets throughout their buyer journey.
- Lead scoring helps your sales reps prioritize the best-fit leads to boost conversion rates.
- It’s more effective to play the long game and focus on customer problems and needs rather than skipping to a hard sell.
- An initial “no” from a buyer doesn’t have to be the end of the relationship. Respond strategically to keep the opportunity open in the future.
Level Up the Buyer Experience with VOC Data
The experience you provide for potential buyers and current customers matters just as much (if not more) than the products and services you deliver. In fact, Forbes reports that 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a better experience, and 32% will walk away from a brand they love after just a single bad experience.
The thing is, your buyers’ experience shouldn’t be a guessing game. Even if you think you know what buyers are looking for from your brand, it’s likely you don’t have the full picture. The only way to get it is with voice of customer (VOC) data.
VOC data comes directly from the customer and is based on their feedback about your brand, including your messaging, offerings, and overall experience provided. It gives you key insight into the perspective of buyers and customers — insight you can use to optimize their experience, boost initial sales conversions, and increase upselling/cross-selling opportunities.
There are three primary steps required to leverage VOC data:
- Collection — Use tools like surveys, social listening, interviews, and testimonials to learn what your buyers and customers are saying about your brand.
- Analysis — Look for new information, trends, and other insights to help you continually improve the experience you provide and quickly address common issues or concerns.
- Implementation — Make a plan and take action on the insight you uncover.
The long-term impact of optimizing the customer experience using VOC data is significant. It leads to higher lead-to-sale conversion rates, higher retention rates, and can even boost referrals, widening your brand reach and network-driven sales volume.
Hyper-Personalize Sales Interactions
Personalization is no longer a nice-to-have when you’re working to convert online leads to sales — it’s a baseline buyer expectation. McKinsey research found that 71% of buyers expect personalization when they interact with brands and 76% are frustrated when they don’t find it.
To convert leads into sales at a higher rate, you need to personalize the experience to each individual buyer. Fortunately, thanks to sales and marketing automation tools, personalization can be done at scale without becoming time consuming or tedious.
Here are a few ways to do it:
- Segment your leads — Categorize sales leads by important traits like industry, need, products/services of interest, budget, and other important traits.
- Leverage data — Take a data-driven approach to list creation and targeted email, ad, and other outreach campaigns.
- Go the extra mile for top prospects — Use account-based marketing (ABM) to target key high-potential accounts with highly individualized approaches and personal outreach.
- Share customized content — Deliver content aligned with customer needs that can help them solve their problems (even prior to purchase).
Make Content an Active Part of Your Strategy
Speaking of content — it needs to be much more than a somewhat passive inbound marketing strategy if you want to power more conversions in your sales pipeline. There’s no doubt content has the power to attract the right buyers through channels like social media and search.
But you can make it a central part of your outbound sales efforts, too — and a secret weapon for converting more sales — by sharing it in an intentional way with your leads. And since buyers love sales content (they engage with 13+ content assets during their purchase journey, on average), using content as a conversion tool also aligns with the experience they want.
Score and Prioritize Leads Effectively
Businesses often think the best strategy is to give the same level of effort and engagement to every lead that comes through the pipeline, but the reality is that not all leads are equal, and they’re not all ready for the same type of outreach.
Some come into the pipeline with high purchase intent and readiness for sales communications, but others need a fair amount of nurturing before they’ll be ready to buy. Still others may have filled out a form or engaged with your brand in some way online, but aren’t really a good fit for what you have to offer.
To avoid wasting time chasing unqualified leads (and potentially leaving qualified ones hanging), put a strong lead scoring and qualification process in place so you can prioritize the leads in your pipeline with the highest likelihood to convert.
Lead scoring assigns point values to leads based on behavioral and ICP-related traits you have identified as making them best-fit for your solutions. Qualification determines which stage of the pipeline they belong in at the time of entry (i.e. marketing qualified, sales accepted, or sales qualified).
Fortunately, you can execute both processes efficiently by automating them through your CRM and other sales software tools.
Ditch the Hard Sell and Focus on Problem Solving
While we would all like to think buyers choose our brands because we have the best solutions (and many do), they ultimately choose providers who best demonstrate that they understand and can solve their unique problems.
One study found that 68% of B2B buyers said they chose their current vendor over others because they showed “stronger knowledge of our company and its unique needs.”
To convert leads to sales at a higher rate, train your sales reps to conduct problem-focused sales discussions, during which they learn about individual buyers and share ways that your solutions can address their problems. This can feel counterintuitive — after all, sales reps want to use the time they get with buyers to share what’s so great about your offerings.
But buyers conduct most of their research independently before reaching out to a sales team. It’s likely they already know much of the information you’d share in a hard sales pitch — things like competitive pricing, product features, and exceptional service.
There will certainly be a time when those come up in conversation, but let it happen organically after you’ve taken time to connect with customers first by learning about their needs.
Don’t Let “No” Be the End of the Road
Hearing “no” at the end of an engagement with a high-potential lead is no fun — and we’ve all been there. But a mistake too many sales reps make is assuming that an initial “no” means that all hope for a conversion is lost.
Before we go on, let’s make one thing clear: We’re not saying be too pushy when you hear no from a lead. It’s important to respect a buyer’s decision. But there are good ways to respond to a no that can help maintain a relationship and even earn a conversion down the line.
Tactics like asking for a smaller yes (a lower commitment that may or may not involve a purchase), collecting data that can help you follow up again effectively down the line (like when their current vendor contract expires), or even just learn from the experience to convert the next similar opportunity.
The takeaway is that you can convert more leads when you respond strategically to an initial no — especially when it comes from a high potential account. There’s a reason people say to never burn a bridge, and simply keeping the relationship alive can be enough to convert that very lead or someone in their network at a later date.
Over to You
Ready to implement these killer lead conversion secrets to give your pipeline a boost? RevBoss can help you go a step further by ensuring the leads you generate are qualified and best-fit for your solutions.
Our outbound email software and lead gen services are custom-built for startups, consultancies, marketing agencies, and other growing B2B organizations.
Schedule a quick call with us and find out how we can help you win more clients.