You spend all that time and money on the latest demand generation campaign for your sales team, but if falls flat. Or at least, it appears to have fallen flat.
You can’t believe it. The offer was solid, the message was right on target, the open rates and response rates were amazing. But conversions into sales opportunities, where it really counts? Flat. Disappointing.
Marketing blames sales for lack of follow-up. Sales blames marketing for crappy leads.
Despite often well-executed lead generation campaigns, smart strategies and the best of intentions, lead conversion (in this case defined as leads converting into Sales Accepted Leads (SALs) or new opportunities in the pipeline) still frequently suffers.
And when that happens, and we dig into the details, the following eight reasons pop up the most.
1. No follow up
Good leads, without proper follow-up, aren’t going to convert themselves. And follow-up doesn’t mean a phone call, voicemail and done. Sales & marketing need to agree on a process and disposition strategy for new leads. This includes a timeframe for first contact, as well as how many touches (email, phone, etc.) sales will make before giving up, and putting the lead on a nurture track.
2. Product is pitched too fast, too early
Most lead campaigns aren’t pitching the product directly (they might include white papers, best practice guides, etc.), yet in an effort to have a more “efficient” conversation sales might steer the discussion quickly to the product and a demo, without any pretense or table-setting relative to the prospect’s needs and objectives. Pitch product too fast and too early, and a qualified prospect might still slip through your fingers.
3. Too many leads go to sales too quickly (no qualification)
If you’re sending every lead generated straight through to sales, without first scoring or qualifying that the lead is indeed sales ready, you’re putting your conversion rates at risk. Better to focus your sales team on leads that are ready (based on a variety of definitions you need to determine between sales & marketing) and have a higher initial conversion rate on those leads, then score and nurture additional leads until they too are ready.
4. Sales gets too many leads at once (can’t keep up & follow up)
One of the biggest problems with event-based campaigns is the volume of leads they can generate. Marketing, of course, may think that’s great. But send too many leads to sales at once, and there’s no way they can adequately respond, complete follow-up and adequately disposition everything. Better to spread the leads out over time, turn one big webinar into 2-3 smaller ones, to help your sales team absorb and increase conversion potential from the lot.
5. The offer or target audience is completely irrelevant
Lead volume and high response rates are great…as long as they’re targeting the right buyer. Generate a ton of interest in a campaign focused on someone who can’t help you get a deal done, and you might just be wasting everyone’s time. It might make your lead volume reports look good, but that’s about it.
6. Your CRM and/or processes suck or are non-existent
Does the sales team have tools to manage lead follow-up and conversion to begin with? Have you defined a set of lead stages within your CRM to help your team work through leads efficiently? If not, and you’re both leaving follow-up to change and keeping your managers blind to where they can focus energy on coaching, rep follow-up and more to increase full lead dispositions and conversions.
7. Reps are left to their own on follow-up tools
Before any campaign is deployed, sales should create or be given a set of specific follow-up tools for the campaign. This includes email templates and voicemail scripts, written specifically to tie into the campaign and the lead asset offered. Left to their own devices, well-meaning reps may not match the intent or the thought patterns of the prospect, thereby decreasing chances of value proposition resonance and conversion.
8. No pre-campaign briefing for the sales team by marketing
This may be one of the most important and most over-looked factors that impacts lead conversion. Sales teams get a flood of new leads, then after the fact get a quick five-minute email from marketing explaining what they are and what to do with them. This, obviously, is quite inefficient and ineffective. A better strategy is to plan regular, pre-campaign briefings with the sales team so they understand the campaign, the target audience, the nature of the offer and why it’s relevant, plus an overview of the lead follow-up messaging and response tools.
These are no guarantee of success, of course, but I bet they can go a long ways towards increasing positive ROI from your future marketing campaigns.