Optimizing Lead Conversion Rate: A B2B Master Plan

Lead conversion It isn’t rocket science – businesses need customers to thrive. The more the customers, the bigger the business. Find the right customers, make them want to step through your door, and offer an experience that keeps them coming back for more – and your business will always be booming. Sounds simple enough? Alas, if only.

Finding leads, or potential customers, is one thing. But converting them into recurring customers is another. We like to imagine the B2B company-client relationship in a flower-bee equation. A business is like a flower in a never-ending garden of flowers competing for the bees’ attention. Have you ever noticed how picky bees are about the flowers they connect with? You might consider yourself the juiciest, most fragrant and colorful flower to exist – but just to witness clients hover over you, show interest, and ultimately pass you by to invest in some other business. 

But who says you have to see your big-business dreams wilt away in the wind of uncertainty? You don’t have to leave lead-conversions to sheer chance, when you can have a master plan. That is why we’ve brought you a clever blueprint to make your business not just barely survive, but bloom into the best version of itself.

What is a Good Lead Conversion Rate?

Before we dipping our toes, we first need to understand what qualifies as a good lead conversion rate for your B2B business. You might already be familiar with the basics:

Lead conversion rate = Total number of conversions in a given period / Total number of leads in that period

For example, if you had 100 leads in November, and you had 11 leads converted to opportunities in November, then your lead conversion rate is 11 / 100 = 11%

Depending on your business, your conversions can involve metrics like form submissions, CTA clicks, email opens, adds-to-cart, or pdf downloads. Your corresponding leads then would be page visits, CTA views, emails delivered, product page visits, or pop-up clicks. And so on.

The larger the number of such KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to keep track of, the deeper the insights. If you’ve got an extensive list of KPIs to measure your lead conversion performance, it’s best to make the most of a good conversion rate optimization tool to make these calculations.

At the end of the day, what makes a good conversion rate is rather subjective. The rates can vary a lot between B2B and B2C, market age, areas of industry, individual companies, geography, and many such factors. The average landing page conversion rate is set at 2.35%, but top businesses report a rate of 5.31% or higher. In an ideal world, a rate above 10% is the place to be. After all, if you don’t shoot for the stars, how will you get to the top? But it’s important to do robust market research and set reasonable expectations first, lest you find yourself running into the ground. And that’s where good conversion rate practices come in. 

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Offer an Offer They Can’t Refuse

Say the phrase “Customer is King” like you mean it. Don’t just lay it out, live it out. The way you treat your customers is what they think about you. Make them feel like the center of your universe, and they’ll be forever yours. Lead generation will become lead nurture, and lead nurture will become lead conversion, way faster, if you go the extra mile, especially for those leads that fit your ideal customer profile. 

Depending on what your B2B service is, you can offer things like free giveaways, unexpected cash back, complimentary gift cards, extra relevant info, gratis tickets to a webinar, a no-cost e-book, a quick tip sheet – the world’s your oyster. Serve them like they’re royalty, and they won’t be able to keep your hands off your business.

The quality of your offers dictates the quality of your engagement. Know your audience, industry, and USPs well, then tailor specific offers that bridge what your customers are looking for with what value you can offer them. 

It doesn’t have to be out of your pocket either – both “buy free with this” offers and “here’s something you’d love to know” info are lucrative options. Just be sure that your offers’ values are clear and relevant to your prospects. Make use of best UX/UI practices: create easy-to-navigate landing pages, use crisp and clear headlines, employ easy-on-the-eye color schemes, and affirming CTA clicks.

Qualify the Quality

Optimizing lead conversion rate for B2B marketers is all about lead quality over lead quantity. You might have a shrewd strategy in place that looks perfect on paper, but investing too many resources chasing unqualified leads is a surefire way to blow your plan. 

According to MarketingSherpa, a whopping 80% of marketing leads are either lost, ignored, or discarded. This is simply because the quality of leads aren’t nearly up to the mark – comprising incomplete information, little indication of intent, and lack of desire to engage with a salesperson. It goes to show that nailing down the definition, criteria, and standards of what qualifies as a “quality lead” is crucial to your B2B marketing regime. 

To improve your lead qualification process, begin by setting clear guidelines and distinctions for MQLs (Marketing qualified leads) and SQLs (Sales qualified leads). If you aren’t familiar with these terms, MQLs are leads that have shown promising intent to interact with your company, it’s offers and content, while SQLs are leads that have already been in touch with your business, all set to hear a sales pitch. 

Build a solid base for persistent conversion rate by making the word “quality lead” transparent as glass: put down in stone what qualifies as a “hot lead” or a “cold lead”, arranging them in a general system of ranking priority based on how qualified they are.

Target that Content 

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Great content is the best sales tool in the world. It is what transforms “lead conversion” to “love of the people”. It is the gateway to your customers minds and hearts. The best content makes people feel informed, educated, and entertained, not pitched, duped, or roped in. It doesn’t just increase page views and social media shares, it has a personal feeling like they left with more than they came in before. 

Awesome content isn’t salesy and corporate, it’s welcoming and inclusive – making the readers’ wants and needs genuinely heard and sincerely addressed Besides offering value to your customers, content helps you tell your brand story. People are attracted to personalities, so make yours irresistible with the words you choose to use. 

According to this 2015 report, 86 percent of B2B companies rely on content marketing, but only a few of them boast a flashy lead conversion rate. That’s mostly because form requires function to fluently carry attraction to conversion – whether you’re writing a short essay, a 10-part-guide, or a Twitter post. 

Map in mind your content first before you hit the keyboard. Ask yourself the questions, “Who do I want my content to address?”, “What do I want them to do after they’re done reading?”, “How can I address my audience’s needs throughout the conversion process?”. Dive in deep and create distinct buying personas, weaving your content to address them at different stages of the funnel. Target what you say keeping in mind where you are in the 3 stages of the buying journey – awareness, consideration, or decision.

Lead Scoring for the Win

Not all leads are equal, so they shouldn’t be treated the same. We talked about how important lead quality is to lead conversion optimization; having a lead scoring model is an intelligent way to maintain quality control. In fact, it is the go to way for most marketers today to verify lead legitimacy before they pass it on to their sales comrades. Especially if you’ve been on the fence on how to group your leads effectively, you can confidently land two feet in this market-approved tactic. 

But what is lead scoring anyway? In a sentence, a lead scoring model is a sophisticated system for organizing leads in a way that makes them very easy to understand, access, and utilize. It ranks each lead based on a score assigned using data acquired during lead capture – like their job title (eg – department, role, company size, industry), and the actions the lead took (eg – browsing behavior, email clicks, social media shares, downloads) – legally and discretely, and then generates their scores on a 0-100 points system. 

Lead scoring has become a frequently used reference tool for marketers to make the most out of every lead. It is something to note that a strong 68% of marketers reported that lead scoring has improved their lead conversion rate. It might just be the magic pill your B2B company needs to finally see that revenue graph go on the up and up.

Follow-up to Lead

We live in a world where time runs on and patience runs out fast. After they make the first engagement, your customers expect a quick and personal second response. In an age of automated interactions where actions and resolutions can be lightning quick, waiting is a virtue. Every minute you lose to follow up on a lead can edge you closer out of their consciousness. 

But that’s not to say that you’re so overeager in your outreach that your lead feels pressured. To lead a lead to the promised land, you got to follow their way and follow-up right, first. This means harnessing the power of AI together with the power of personal touch.

Swift follow-ups on a lead are simply great for bumping your conversion rate – you can find tons of studies that verify it. But an important question is – who is it that’s doing the following-up? If it’s a sales rep in flesh and bone, it’s important to be polite and empathetic to the pains and perks unique to your lead’s professional role. Remember that people buy from people – the more human you are, the more interested they’ll be. Additionally, it’s important to know what you’re talking about, and when to talk about it. Three-quarters of marketers say that a knowledgeable sales rep and a convenient time frame are majorly what make a successful follow-up

But what if you’re using an auto-responder? Same rules apply for automation too – the responses should be relevant, informative, and personalized, as to make the recipient forget they’re even talking to a machine. To interact with a high value of leads simultaneously, AI like chatbots can be instrumental in bolstering your conversion rates. Use it well in tandem with congenial person-to-person interactions, and you can soon be smiling at a not-so-surprising rise in revenue.

Lead conversion optimization isn’t the most straightforward thing in the world, but it doesn’t have to be convoluted either. Plan a general outline of where you want to get at and how you want to get there, boil it down to the dos and don’ts to implement and the pros and cons to keep in mind, and keep experimenting freely, testing rigorously, and observing always. Those casual eye glances can begin to turn into rigorous hand shakes, sooner than you might’ve thought.