84% of b2b customer inquiries fail to convert. Why?
A report by the Aberdeen Group tells us that 84% of inquiries that businesses receives will not convert to a sale. These inquiries are usually expensive, you've paid out marketing budget for Google Adwords, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter campaigns.
So what's the problem and how can you fix this?
There's a missing step in your sales process
The cause of the drop off between the volume of inquiries and closed sales is that we can start selling to the client too early, we're missing a crucial step in the process.
When most prospects get in touch with you they are looking for information about your services and your company, they are not calling to place an order. At this point we define the prospect as 'Marketing Qualified', they are ready to be marketed to but not sold to.
Before the prospect is ready to speak to a sales person they need to be satisfied that what you offer is going to meet their requirements. They may also be just looking for budgeting information for the next financial period so that they can buy from you when they have the budget.
Informing, educating and getting 'Sales Qualified'
Marketing automation is used to bridge the gap between the initial inquiry (marketing-qualified) and having a prospect primed to make a purchasing decision (sales-qualified). We've published a more detailed blog post here about lead nurturing, the intention is that you create informative, engaging content such as
- Blog posts
- Email campaigns
- Explainer videos
This content or marketing collateral is then drip fed to the prospect over a period of time, helping to build confidence with the prospect that your company is the right choice for them to do business with.
The period of time that this process should take, or the number of steps that should be used in the communication chain will depend on your industry and probably the value of the product or service. Most companies that are committed to marketing automation will constantly tweak the content and frequency over time, updating their campaigns based on what works or doesn't work for them.
Grading and scoring your leads
Marketing automation isn't just focused on sending out emails or publishing content. It's primary purpose is to help salespeople to focus their time on the prospects that are ready to buy, the 'sales-qualified' prospects.
Pardot, the marketing automation platform from Salesforce uses two features to help your salespeople identify the best prospects to spend their time with.
Lead Grading: This feature tells your salesperson how interested they are in this prospect based on a set criteria such as industry, job title or location. The specific criteria is customisable, so you can set this up the specific criteria in whatever what makes sense for you.
Lead Grading will identify each prospect as A, B, C or D, enabling your sales team to focus on the high-value prospects
Lead Scoring: This feature tells your salesperson how interested the prospect is in your company's services. The 'score' is made up of small points values attributed to actions by the prospect such as website visits (we can track their page hits), email opens, clicked links or pieces of content that have been downloaded.
When a prospect hits a specific score, the salesperson will be notified via Pardot and their Salesforce CRM.
With marketing automation programmes, your salespeople can see in real-time the high-value prospects that are actively engaged with your companies website and marketing materials.