1 - Your Pipeline Is Leaking
A sales pipeline illustrates the stages of buyers involved in the purchasing process. It starts with leads, perhaps those who sign up for an e-book or white paper. A proportion of these leads should turn into marketing qualified leads (MQLs), which means they are a good fit for your company and they are interested in finding a solution. A percentage of MQLs should become sales qualified leads (SQLs), sometimes called an “opportunity.” These leads are now ready to buy that solution. Ultimately, a share of SQLs should become customers.
Research shows that the average B2B lead-to-opportunity ratio is 13 percent. Also, the mean opportunity to deal rate is six percent.
You can compare your conversion rates to these statistics but do so with caution. Conversion rates naturally vary by industry. Try to find out the benchmark conversion rate in your industry. When doing so, make sure you understand the context of the conversion rate cited. You run the risk of being led astray by some of the stats you’ll find. That’s because many of them focus on only one stage of the pipeline, for instance, the landing page conversion rate.
If your lead-to-sale ratio is low compared to industry standards, you may have a leaky sales pipeline.
The cure: To fix the leaks, you must first find them. Then design a watertight system to acquire leads, educate them, build interest and close deals.
2 - You’re Unable to Contact Leads Easily
Do you find it challenging to reach leads that fill out a web form?
If so, it could be because you’re taking too long to make the call. The Lead Response Management Study discovered that the odds of contacting a lead diminish by ten times in just the first hour. If you wait three days, a study says your chances of qualifying a lead are several thousand times less than if you call them in the first five minutes.
So if you have a leaky pipeline, one of the first places you might check for the leak is your lead response time. (Note: Your response time is just one step in the lead management process — you may find others where your timing is off.)
The cure: Based on your knowledge of what works best, set timeframes for each phase of the sales process where actions are required.
3 - Lukewarm Leads Stay that Way
When the marketing department is qualifying new leads, they will find that some of them are a good fit for your company. However, they’re not interested in buying yet. According to Gleanster Research, on average 50 percent of leads fit in this bucket. If only a small fraction of your “good-fit-not-ready-yet” leads turn into MQLs, it’s a sign you are not doing enough to nurture your leads.
The cure: Make sure your lead nurturing process answers your potential customers’ buying questions. It should also include frequent contacts to keep your brand top of mind and warm up the leads.
4 - Sales Reps Complain Leads Are Not Qualified
If your salespeople complain that leads are not qualified, listen to them.
If, for example, you’re sending all your leads directly to sales, many of them will not be qualified. Because salespeople are not equipped to nurture leads, such a process can result in a gaping hole in your pipeline. If you’re handing leads to sales that are well matched with your organization but are not yet in buying mode, you’re throwing them away.
Also, if you’re giving salespeople leads that are not good matches, you’re wasting their time. If they pursue them, they have less time to work on the qualified opportunities.
The cure: Create a shared sales and marketing definition of an SQL and provide leads that adhere to its criteria. To help implement your lead qualification process, set up lead filtering rules and decide how to score your leads.
5 - Your Lead Information Is Inconsistent
Sales processes work best when you can duplicate them successfully again and again. When a salesperson receives a lead with critical information missing, it can slow them down or even bring them to a dead halt. He or she has to do something different to find the missing information. Given time constraints, he or she may decide to move on to the next opportunity.
The cure: Sales and marketing should work together to specify the data that qualified leads must always include.
6 - You Don’t Know How to Optimize the Sales Process
Do you know what your best lead sources are? Is it your website, webinars, events or referrals?
Do you know how you can increase conversions at each phase of the buying cycle?
If you don’t know the best lead sources or how to boost conversions, it’s difficult to improve your marketing and sales results.
The cure: Set up systems to measure, track and report on all aspects of your sales and marketing process. The information you gather will enable you to dial up success rates.
Do you see any of the signs described above in your business? If so, start working on the prescribed cures, and you’ll likely achieve increased sales.
Call us at +1 718-709-0900 (US) or +39 06 978446 60 (EMEA), or contact us online to learn how you can manage your leads successfully to transform them into sales.