How To Keep Leads From Getting Stuck In The Middle Of The Sales Funnel
Did you know that a whopping 79 percent of leads never convert? 79 percent! That is 4/5ths of your potential revenue down the drain. All that money and effort spent generating those leads? Also down the drain. That should be a wakeup call: the industry at large needs to reexamine how it approaches lead generation to reduce that waste and boost actual conversions.
As most marketers know, generating leads is relatively easy. Hundreds of quality leads can be drummed up with trade shows, search campaigns or content syndication.
But then what?
That 79 percent of non-converting leads often gets stuck in the ether between generation and the hand off to the sales team. That post-generation period is extremely crucial because, just like a car depreciates in value the second you drive it off the lot, leads depreciate in value every second they go unattended. Even if you use marketing automation tools, leads can fail to progress through the funnel.
While there’s no way to ensure every single lead turns into a purchase, that doesn’t mean we have to accept the fact that the majority of leads will fizzle as a reality of doing business. Ultimately, to combat lead stagnation, marketers should reconsider lead generation as a high-touch, multi-platform process.
Lead Generation Through Email
Let’s consider the options. Email is a tried and true lead gen powerhouse, but many marketers make the mistake of relying solely on email to drum up business. These days, email inboxes are carefully curated; so, if a prospect is not expecting your message, most of the time it will land in the spam filter or the trash folder.
Deeper segmentation can definitely help email perform better; but even still, you are nowhere closer to maximizing the reach of your lead gen efforts. Modern business is done across channels, and the digital overlap of our professional and personal lives is greater than ever, so don’t waste your potential by making email your only lead warmer.
Lead Generation Through Display Ads
Display is another highly-effective lead generation tool that can help email carry the load. While email is highly targeted, display offers the benefit of reach and repetition. Through audience targeting, you can find and engage B2B prospects as they browse online, whether they are actively searching in your market or not.
That CMO you’ve been eyeing could be reading a trade article or browsing her favorite blogs or even watching a funny cat video, and your content will follow her to keep you top-of-mind when it’s time to actually make the decision.
Display is also great for catching attention before a prospect is even in the market for your offering. Compelling messages and graphic elements can help prospects recognize their interest in or need for your product, giving you the benefits of both creating the lead and establishing the first connection.
Lead Generation Through Social Media
Another effective channel that has been previously snubbed by B2B marketers as irrelevant is social media. As I noted before, our personal and professional lives now overlap online more than ever before. Who among us hasn’t checked Facebook from our work computers or used our personal Twitter accounts to tweet something work-related?
Why should we let the opportunity to attract leads slip away because those social sites are predominantly for personal use? There is also LinkedIn which is a professional social network and has been shown to generate a 2.74 percent visit-to-lead rate, according to HubSpot.
Social can be leveraged in a few different ways. Once you’ve encouraged prospects to “follow” or “like” you on social sites, you can then provide them with exclusive offers, event invitations, informational pieces and other high-value content. This will keep you on their radar even as they conduct personal business, and it will underscore your thought leadership and brand strength, ensuring you are in the running for their business when purchase time rolls around.
Lead Generation Automation
The wonderful thing about all of these channels is that both the identification and engagement of leads can be automated. No matter the channel, your communications must be both relevant and timely. With automation platforms, it is important to strike while the iron is hot in order to enable marketers to quickly identify interest and intent so they can immediately serve relevant content.
Taking a multi-channel approach to build awareness and establish need, while using automation to jump on qualified leads is how you can prevent them from getting stuck in the sales funnel and push them along toward the buying stage of their customer journey.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)
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