Converting leads into sales is what changes a website from a good site to an economic asset. While many web designers pride themselves on developing attractive websites and ranking on the first page of Google, these same websites can still fail to drive profitability. Without a shadow of a doubt, these things are good indicators to the health of a website, but to make money, you must convert leads into sales.
Splitting out the lead generators from the salesmen is a very common practice in business. With junior employees responsible for generating leads, the more senior salespeople go about converting those leads into sales. A white paper I read last week on lead generation showed that an astonishing 40% of executives think that their marketing and sales departments are not aligned.
In generating a lead, much of the hard work has been done for the sales team. Why wait to convert? Strike while the iron is hot. SiriusDecisions, a US market research firm, found that companies that combine their lead generation and sales strategies are found to be 15% more profitable. What is required for success in converting leads to sales online is a coherent strategy. But what should that strategy involve? Is there a one size fits all solution for converting website leads into sales?
How to Convert Website Leads into Sales
Of course there is no single strategy that guarantees leads are converted into sales. If there was, everyone would be the owner of a successful web business! However, there are certainly some key fundamentals that will help you convert leads, while also strengthening your brand and building customer loyalty.
Online and offline, the problem is generating quality leads. Sifting out the wheat from the chaff is difficult and time consuming. Online, this is much less painful. There are a number of excellent automated marketing software packages that both lead generating campaigns and the post sales customer experience. However, the converting of leads to sales online remains a very individual challenge. By offering detailed product information to download, or qualifying leads as visits that stay on a product page for more than the average site visit, you can greatly increase the quality of leads, (though reducing the total number). Visitors that invest their time in reading quality content are more likely to be the sort of leads that convert to sales.
You can monitor the time that visitors spend on a web page through your Google Analytics account. If you don’t have one – ask us to set it up for you!
Converting Quality Leads
There is a paradox between customers reaction to follow up communications. While it has been shown that online leads are more negatively affected by pressurised sales tactics than offline leads, numerous studies have shown that the first hour after an enquiry is pivotal to converting leads into sales.
A study by Salesforce has shown that customers that are contacted within an hour of a query are a staggering 60% more likely to convert into a sale that customers that are contacted 24 hours later. They were even 15% more likely to convert than those contacted between 1 and 2 hours after enquiry.
This is a paradox. Potential online customers are very savvy to pressure tactics and are alienated by them. It is crucial then, that the follow up communication is within an hour, but not pushy. Tone is key. The follow up must be personal, relevant to the enquiry and not pure sales copy. With the advent of content marketing where information is key, here are two good tactics to employ;
- Following up with product information on the product or service that the lead was investigating.
- Offer the opportunity of an opt-in call to further strengthen the quality of the lead.
These will further sift the people with good potential from the tyre-kickers in terms of sales opportunities.
Don’t consider customers as “leads”
Throughout this blog, we have used the word “lead”, when what we’re really talking about is a real person with real needs. While the is a vast array of software and analytics available to businesses that can assist in turning leads into sales, don’t ever forget to keep that personal touch tat sets you apart from your competition. Personal service combined with using software and data to provide a detailed service, targeting high levels of engagement in a particular product or service can result in very good conversion rates. Automated follow up can mean that goods leads convert themselves into loyal customers without having to painstakingly follow up each contact, regardless of quality, to turn interest into profit.