Fixing the Funnel: The Keys to Successfully Convert Marketing Leads into Sales Leads

November 17, 2015

By November 17, 2015Lead Generation
Keys.to.convert

In a perfect world, your sales force will be closing sale after sale as your marketing efforts continue to pass down leads. It’s tedious and costly enough to develop and nurture lead-generating channels. After all your marketing efforts, wouldn’t it be nice if you can just sit back, relax, and watch the cash roll in?

Unfortunately, we live in a realistic world where rejected leads are everyday problems and your sales and marketing teams often reach a misunderstanding.

You may think that your marketing team is doing a great job of bringing in prospective customers. But this doesn’t mean your income will be just as promising. The selling process involves a long funnel that must proceed down the right track and finish strongly.

Remember that focusing on the root of the rejections is far more efficient than developing a re-nurturing plan. If you believe that the figures between your leads and actual sales don’t add up, then your first course of action should be to deal with the elephant in the room:

What if your MQLs are just not that good?

Your MQLs or Marketing Qualified Leads are those who passed your lead scoring system; sometimes scoring highly at that. But if you’re experiencing frequent rejections, then the first thing you should look at is your criteria for lead scoring.

First off, be sure that your marketing team and sales force were in on lead scoring. It should be a collaborative effort – not something shared and imposed by the marketing team to your salespeople.

Once you’re sure that your marketing and sales teams are fully aware of the lead scoring system, it should safe to assume that the MQLs are right and the problem occurred further down the road.

Your Sales found Red Flags

If you believe your scoring system is set up accordingly, the next plausible reason why your sales team rejected a particular lead is because communicating with said lead might have raised some red flags. It is likely that the lead was not ready to buy.

  1. Not the right time – It is entirely possible that it just wasn’t the right time just yet. In which case, it is the perfect opportunity for re-nurturing activities that will develop interest and maintain the lead.
  2. Not enough budget – Even if a lead is strongly interested in your company, a limited budget could be standing in the way between you and a closed deal. Remember that this type of lead still has potential, but including them in nurturing programs with discount promotions or product advantages would be a great idea.
  3. Not the decision maker – It happens so often that an interested lead does not have the authority to make a purchase. The appropriate action is to let this lead bring you to the right decision maker. In the meantime, you should reevaluate the lead’s score while adjusting the job title field.

These are common problems if your sales people are only involved with half of the selling process. Always remember that leads should not be assessed in a black and white manner. In cases where the lead at the moment didn’t have the readiness for a purchase, then it probably means they need re-nurturing. They should not be crossed out altogether.

Recalibrating the Funnel

Identifying the reasons why your sales team rejects leads will help you plan the appropriate steps to solving them. Notice how the root cause of all these is a suboptimal sales funnel that generates weak leads, passes them at the wrong time, or both.

Recalibrating the lead scoring system and the sales funnel is the clear first step. To guarantee the optimal movement of MQLs through the sales funnel, you can utilize marketing automation software to nurture them more effectively. With this, you can educate your leads with regular social media updates, newsletters, remarketing emails, and content directly from your website to prepare them for sales as they reach the end of the sales funnel.

Another good strategy is to establish clear and constant communication between your marketing and sales teams. You can start by eliminating the barriers of communication at the office from physical obstructions to the adherence to vertical organizational charts that define relationship. Encourage team effort rather than vertical communication through various ice breaker activities. You may also host weekly meetings to let the teams discuss their key processes.