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Why B2B Marketers Still Struggle to Convert Leads

The 2015 B2B Lead Generation Report found that “generating high quality leads is still the top issue for 59 percent of marketers.”

Identifying qualified prospects is an ongoing responsibility for companies. And it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Most B2B purchases involve large sums of money, multiple decision makers and several months. Because the stakes are so high for your customers, it’s important to build trustworthy relationships and to create a streamlined sales process.

The B2B industry also has an undesirable reputation of not embracing innovation. So, as marketers, it’s time to change that perspective.

Stop struggling to convert leads. Instead, explore more opportunities for your SaaS company. Start here.

1. Set Data-Driven Objectives

If prospects are constantly uninterested in your services, you may be targeting the wrong businesses. Gather the right data to develop targeted buyer personas.

“By conducting thorough market research based on your existing customers, you’ll be able to understand the true value of your product, but also your customer’s situation,” says Maxim Baeten, inbound marketer at Showpad.

“You can uncover key criteria and specific business needs that are important for your marketing.”

For personas to actually work, focus on helping buyers achieve their goals. When talking to prospects, stay away from questions that only fit your product’s benefits and features.

Gain intel from buyers via their interactions with your sales and customer support teams. Those conversations hold considerable weight in understanding your client’s needs.

B2B marketing strategist Ardath Albee recommends acquiring answers to these questions:

  • What’s important to them and what’s driving the change?
  • What’s impeding or speeding their need to change?
  • Who do they turn to for advice or information?
  • What’s the value they visualize once they make a decision?
  • Who do they have to sell change to in order to get it?

Gleanster Research found that only 25% of leads are qualified and ready to buy, and 50% of leads are qualified but not ready to buy.

So, understand where prospects fit within your sales funnel. Every customer is on a different buying journey.

sales-funnel-where-to-sell

Image Source

Using a baseball analogy, think of your clients as being on first, second, and third bases. Prospects on first base will need more information about your product. They will want to learn about your company’s background and expertise.

Second base buyers may want a live demo of the product and a one-on-one conversation with your sales reps. And third base clients may need to read case studies.

That’s why data-driven buyer personas blended with your sales funnel work well. Not only will your team know whom to target, but also you will understand how to cater to every buyer’s specific needs.

2. Reduce Friction on Your Website

According to Baymard Institute, nearly 69% of all e-commerce visitors abandon their shopping cart. Companies wrestle with how to persuade their customers to make the final purchase.

Friction is one reason for the desertion. These are the obstacles that block the buyer from taking a particular action.

It can include anything from slow page load times to overwhelming images to required account logins. In a gist, they are distractions that halt your conversions.

checkout-securely-3-steps

Image Source

To make the checkout process easier, remove elaborate copy from your site. Stick to a set of main points, and don’t overwhelm the shopper with overbearing text.

Experts also suggest offering financing options at checkout. That way, customers get what they want immediately with the leniency to pay later.

Friction is not just limited to checkout. Reevaluate intrusive pop-ups, tedious forms, and lengthy product videos.

Caroline Malamut, Marketing Communications Associate at Capterra, offers a few quick tips to improve your conversion rate with A/B testing:

  • Form Length: Change the number of fields in your forms. Too many may discourage leads from submitting their information.
  • Call-to-Action: Your CTA dictates whether your prospects will click. Buy Now or Sign Up Now? Test the copy to know which ones will drive more conversions.
  • Trust Elements: Add testimonials or customer logos to your site. Then, test where they should be placed. Near the top or bottom of the page?

3. Create a Lead Nurturing System

Gartner reported that “companies that automate lead management see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months.” Therefore, it’s worth the time and resources to invest in developing a system.

Michael Meyers, Digital Marketing Coordinator at DataMentors, says, “A successful Lead Nurturing campaign goes beyond drip marketing. It must be segmented and targeted to not only provide information that the prospect finds valuable, but to also flag interactions so that you can continue to adjust until the campaign is tailored to certain consumer profiles.”

It’s important to use data to adapt to your buyer’s habits. That’s where personalization meets consumer behavior.

You may think your normal 9 to 5 business hours works for all your clients. But, honestly, it may not fit their needs.

How accessible is your company? What if someone has questions at 6pm? Develop other ways for your team to be available.

For example, employ live chat on your website. Live chat lets prospects contact you at any time. With trained agents, your buyers can get their questions answered instantly.

livechat-screenshot

To move buyers through the sales cycle faster, execute accelerator campaigns.

But for this to work properly, you must offer relevant content based on specific behaviors. The process will quickly flow from emails to trial sign-ups to instructional webinars.

Lead nurturing makes a difference. The ability to give buyers what they want, when they want it, will increase trust.

People want to do business with companies that take the guesswork out of the sales process.

4. Train Your Team

Converting leads takes collaboration from both marketing and sales teams. Educate your staff on how to effectively move prospects through the pipeline.

Because the “true purpose of sales is to create new value for customers,” begin with your SaaS’s value proposition. Then, work with buyers to identify their best solution.

Mark Elliot, co-founder of Venture Accelerator Partners, states, “The most important part of the selling process is understanding the benefits your solution provides. Start with the benefits and elevator pitch and work backwards to the functions and features.”

Train your team to handle potential objections. So, what if your prospect already has a solution to their problem?

Teach reps to ask for more information. Make sure they learn what the customer likes or dislikes about their current solution.

Listening will help your team develop a strategic response based on the value of your product and the key distinctions from your competitors.

In addition, your prospects face complex problems. As enterprises, they need services that will stand the test of time and will be reliable today, not tomorrow.

Change your team’s mindset. Creating a well-developed sales process will reassure your prospects and close deals faster.

A knowledgeable team is the difference between missing or exceeding your quarterly goals.

Plan to Convert

It’s unnecessary for B2B marketers to struggle to increase their conversions. With a strategic plan, your company is equipped to engage and convert more leads

Talk with your team about setting data-driven objectives. Make it easy for prospects to navigate your website. Set up a lead nurturing system, and train your team to sell value.

Plan. Execute. Convert.

About the Author: Shayla Price lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology and social responsibility. Connect with her on Twitter @shaylaprice.

  1. Caroline Cronk Apr 01, 2016 at 11:18 am

    I really appreciate that you pointed out with the strategic plan the company as a whole is equipped to engage and convert more leads. While the sales team is specifically responsible for converting leads, other departments have touchpoints with prospects that can help guide a lead into a conversion.

  2. Great Insights Shayla!
    very informative and some nice tips to generate leads especially with the combine efforts of marketing and sales team. Implementing social login is also an important method to reduce friction on website by making the registration process simple and quick. It also helps marketers to generate quality leads.

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