How to Convert More Marketing Leads into Sales (Advice From 39 Experts)

Laura Caveney
25th January 2021
Conversions

Are you looking for insight on how to up your lead conversion rate? Read top tips from experts in the field on how they convert more marketing leads into sales.

So you’ve got visitors to your site and managed to convert them into leads. Whether that was through gated content, paid advertising, or just your overall proposition, well done!

But you know the next step, don’t you?  converting marketing leads into sales. This is often the tricky bit.

Christian Velitchkov, Co-Founder at Twiz.io said, “It’s really surprising to see that many business owners still think that they only have to develop a website and customers will come and order it. Rapidly growing technology and high competition have made business a lot more complicated and challenging.”

So how can you assess your leads and convert those good fit leads into sales? Sometimes just understanding which leads will be most fruitful is the first hurdle. Daniel Cooper, Managing Director at Lolly.co said, “Sometimes, the most promising lead turns out to be a wash and the least promising lead becomes your golden goose.”

convert marketing lead daniel cooper lolly.co

 

But have no fear. We spoke to a lot of experts in the field for their top tips. So, we present you with advice from 39 experts on how to convert more marketing leads into sales.

Let’s get stuck in.

 

Follow Up with Leads Quickly

One tip that came up time and again when looking for tips from marketing and sales experts was speed.

Amit from Card Payment Guru said, “ Instead of giving you multiple tips, I’ll just give you the golden nugget. It is extremely simple but it’s to contact your leads as soon as possible.”

Randy VanderVaate, Owner and President of Funeral Funds agreed; “My number one tip to convert more marketing leads into sales is to call the lead immediately when they enter the sales funnel. We call the lead as soon as possible while their buying intent is hot.”

By jumping on leads quickly, you could increase your conversion rate dramatically. Sam Sheppard from marketing agency, Cabana, commented, “When someone is looking for a service, they’ll check out a few options and might convert on multiple sites.

Given the biggest companies will have teams ready to get on the phones straight away, smaller businesses can struggle to keep up. Ensure you have processes in place to contact your leads quickly and you’ll see your lead to client rate shoot up.”

quick response to leads convert marketing leads sam sheppard cabana

 

Not able to manually jump on leads that quickly?

 

How Automation Could Be Your Saving Grace

Tyler Forte, CEO at Felix Homes commented, “The best way to turn more marketing leads into sales is to have an effective follow up process. Call your lead and then build out a drip campaign to remind leads about your company and send them content that they find helpful.

For companies generating a significant number of leads, incorporating marketing automation into the process will save your team a lot of time and will produce higher conversion rates.”

One such automation option is a callback software. Matt Dulski, Co-Founder of LiveCall said, “If you are offering your potential customers a possibility to receive a callback, it can actually take up to 43 hours for a sales team to get round to contacting your new lead. Callback software allows for instantaneous callback requests.”

And while you want to be quick, you also want to create urgency. Stefan Smulders, founder & CEO of Expandi explained, “One tool that you can always use is to set a time limit to your offer. The urgency of the deal creates a psychological effect, especially if it’s an offer they can’t refuse.”

 

Go for Quality and Segment

Tom Whiley, Head of Demand Generation at edays said, “To convert more marketing leads to sales, you must focus on quality. Deliver leads for your sales team that have high purchase intent. Giving them demo requests instead of eBook downloads will supercharge that conversion rate by filling the pipeline with qualified, ready to buy prospects. Tighten up your SEO and PPC keyword targeting to capture that intent with killer landing pages and in time, your sales team and your CEO will love you for it!”

Rex Freiberger, CEO, Gadget Review, advised you try to split out your leads too. “When evaluating marketing leads, it’s important to determine which are more suited to short-term conversion, and which will take longer. The more you’re asking of someone (a higher price point or a longer time commitment, for example), the longer you can expect it to take to convert them. You’ll likely need to convince them continuously over time that it’s worth it, which involves keeping that relationship alive and cultivating them as a lead.

If it’s for a smaller purchase though or a ‘no-brainer’ commitment, the most effective way I’ve found to convert into a sale is to make use of scarcity and the fear of missing out on a good deal. If you discount a product for a limited time, you’re more likely to get a conversion.”

 

Break Down Walls between Sales and Marketing

Sales and marketing alignment is pretty trendy right now. In fact, we wrote a guide to so-called, ‘smarketing’. And this is something our experts commented on too.

Jonathan Lemer, Co-Founder of The Brains Marketing said, “My number one tip would be to, as far as possible, remove the gap between marketing and sales functions in your company. In too many organisations, marketing and sales are set up as two separate departments which prevents each from helping the other. In truth, marketing should be doing most of the heavily lifting, warming up leads and pushing them down the funnel, leaving the task of sales to be limited to helping prospects sign-on.

sales and marketing alignment convert marketing leads jonathan lemer the brains marketing

 

Having these departments tied closely together means there can be continuous two-way feedback. Sales can report back on the quality of the leads and any questions or concerns that prospects have communicated. This in turn helps marketing to optimise their campaigns and create content that answers potential objections before the prospect reaches the sales team.”

Tom Winter, co-founder of DevSkiller added, “We found we couldn’t make enough sales, as our marketing and sales teams were working separately, and just couldn’t coordinate. They should always work together, on an almost unified customer journey. All on the same buyer persona, and moving the customer along the same experience.”

 

Funnel Your Leads

Automation is a hot topic when it comes to better converting leads. Cory Young, Founder at BCC Interactive said, “Marketing automation is key for converting more leads into sales. Whether it’s a follow-up automation sequence that reminds you to contact a prospect after a specific number of days or delivering value-added content each day during the sales process, a solid automation process helps to make sure nothing slips through the cracks while still adding a very personal element to engaging with prospects.”

 

Understand Your Sales Funnel

If you’re struggling with creating sales from your leads, then you might need to look into your current sales funnel. James Markwell from Andante Travel said, “consistent marketing journeys are a great start to converting prospects. Especially once you understand which channels and campaigns are converting.”

Alexander M Kehoe, Co-Founder & Operations Director at Caveni, added: “A good way to guide your leads down the funnel starts with just having something simple that they can flow down if they have an interest. This can be as simple as a basic information page, or it could be a fancy quote system that captures customer information and lets you follow up directly.

alexander kehoe caveni

 

However, the key is to take your funnel and improve based on the user behaviour you observe, which is the core of our tip: constantly update and optimize your funnel to transition marketing leads into paying customers.”

One question to ask yourself when analysing your conversion rate is how you work to drive your customer through the buyer’s journey.

 

Don’t Forget Your Customer 

Jeff Green, Owner at Green Thoughts Consulting said, Converting leads to sales is really a statistical analysis question. The method lies in conversion rate optimization and being someone that deeply cares about the data related to the varying parts of your funnel.

There’s no easy one-stop fix for converting leads to sales. However, a lot of it has to do with doing deep work related to your ideal customer and what their customer journey looks like.”

A simple but effective tip came from Maria Siewierska, “What might help you recognize when a lead should be converted to an opportunity at your company is building a customer journey.” We shared seven easy steps to build your own customer journey.

 

Qualify Your Leads

This might feel like an obvious choice. But our experts had some illuminating tips when it comes to qualifying leads ready to convert.

Jake Smith, Managing Director of Absolute Reg, commented, “ Not all leads are generated equal. Somebody downloading a white paper from your site is in a totally separate part of the buyer’s journey than somebody requesting a meeting.

All leads, however, have the potential to become a possible customer. Since there is only one occasion for a first impression, it’s essential to qualify the various leads. You can have someone from your sales team do a quick Google search on the company or perhaps do a search in your CRM software to find if you’ve previously been in contact. This is vital data when it comes to qualifying your leads.”

 

Qualification Processes Are a Necessity 

Daniel Foley, CEO of Daniel Foley Marketing Agency added, “How leads are qualified varies from business to business. Once your qualification metrics are defined, only then will you be able to take appropriate action that will convert your leads into sales.

Using a sales qualification process prevents you from coming on too strong and putting off potential clients. It also helps your sales team save valuable time and instead focus on customers who are ready to buy.”

And qualification can help you understand how good a fit leads are for your product. Eric Clay, CEO of Vale Creative said, “Be careful to qualify, never sell a solution that you can’t deliver. On each sales call, before selling a solution make sure to ask yourself three questions:

1. Can I deliver and overperform expectations on this project?
2. Is this customer likely to be a good fit for my business?
3. Is this someone that I want to work with long-term

Finally, make sure to follow up, and rigorously.”

 

Get Smart with your Touchpoints

Breaking down your customer journey is important. Getting to the minute details on how customers interact with your content as part of one journey is vital to understanding how to better convert marketing leads.

 

Think About Stages and Content That Fits Each

Jacob Dayan, CMO and Co-founder of Community Tax said, “One of the best ways to convert your leads into sales is to understand where you might be falling short in capturing and keeping leads in the buyer’s journey. If you’re racking up a lot of leads, but have very few conversions, it’s worth diving into some of your CRM metrics to analyze where they’re falling short.”

Maria Waida, B2B Blog Strategist and Content Writer from Saasy Copywriting broke this down from a content perspective: “In content marketing, you have to tie each piece you plan back to a targeted part of your sales funnel. I often create 50% TOFU, 30% MOFU, and 20% BOFU content. I tie each piece I write back to what stage the ideal reader is in, what their goals are for coming to my website, and how I can connect their goal with our product or an aspect of our product in a genuinely helpful way.

content marketing maria waida sassy copywriting

 

When you know which stage you’re creating for and put yourself in a service mindset, that’s where the magic happens.”

 

Understand That All Leads Aren’t Ready to Buy 

Kevin Miller, CEO and Co-Founder of GR0 agreed, “Focus on educating prospects to overcome objections and answer common questions. The fundamental difference between a marketing lead and a buyer is that the lead still has questions, concerns, or objections that are preventing them from making a purchase. So, your primary objective as a marketer should be to answer and correct those objections by educating the prospect to the point where they feel confident enough to make a decision.”

Understanding customer touchpoints and contacting leads at the right time was something Matt Bertram, CEO & SEO Strategist at EWR Digital suggested too. “Marketing leads must be nurtured through multiple touch-points before they convert into a sale. If you want people to buy from you, you must build a relationship with your leads and earn their trust. The best way to do this is to provide value, offering the right information at the right time in the buyer’s journey.”

 

Add Value to your Leads

One key way to convert leads into sales is by demonstrating you have their needs at your core.

 

Prioritising Client Needs

Attila, Performance Marketing Manager at HatchHouse had this to say: “As soon as I have a lead that is interested in our services, I always book in a call. But, the purpose of the call is not to promote our services or try to persuade the client that we are the best in our area (even if we believe we are!). The point of the call is to just to understand their pain points and see if we can help them.

attila colaci hatchhouse provide value to your leads

 

We focus on performance marketing, but often find new leads aren’t ready to promote their company. Their website might not be optimised, or they might not have email campaigns set up properly. But we’ll analyse this and be honest.

Because of this, even if we turned down clients, we had some coming back to us after 6 months because they know we want to achieve the best results for them, as opposed to just scoring them as a client.”

 

Get Thoughtful Prior to Contacting Leads

And when it comes to reaching out to leads, Richard Kennedy, Marketing Agency Owner at Arken Marketing said, “We’ve all seen it in our inbox ‘just bumping this to the top of your inbox’. It’s garbage and you shouldn’t do it, it’s lazy.

By all means you should follow up, but add something to the conversation. Had a recent client win? Share that. Just published new research that would benefit them? Share that. Try and avoid lazy follow-ups.”

Richie Pusateri from Postal.io recommends adding value through thoughtful gifts. He said, “Enable the marketing team to provide a personal incentive to speak with sales – send items such as a personal gift or provide options for a charitable donation if the contact takes a meeting with sales.”

 

Establish Trust

Hand in hand with putting your customer needs first is establishing trust. Convincing a lead that you have their best interests at heart is no mean feat.

Stewart Dunlop, CEO of Linkbuilder.io had this to say, “Due to the harsh competition and information overloading, people may be tired of time-limited offers, discounts, and pop-ups if they haven’t decided yet on your product.

Instead, establish trust by offering something for free, giving customers some advice on what they can do without your help to achieve the results they want, and prove your expertise by showing how other clients benefited from using your services including case studies and success stories.”

Peter from The Dog Adventure agreed, “I would suggest nurturing your leads through timely personalized follow-ups. You are getting to build a relationship with them and address their pain points so you can send a personalized message or email that will let them know you care about them.”

 

Use Data

Data is a great way for marketers to optimise campaigns and content. But how does it help convert marketing leads?

Josh Brown from Helpjuice explained, “One way to convert more leads into sales is to become more data driven as this allows an organization to better define MQLs, SQLs and when a lead fits within the defined criteria.

By using data to inform your decisions, you’ll be able to have hard evidence of what works best for your organization as well as what doesn’t. All of this will allow your organization to not only get better quality leads, but will also allow you to close more deals. Your marketing (as well as sales) team will be able to give prospects what they really want-not what your team(s) think they want.

Katie Holmes, Digital Marketing Manager at Ruler Analytics added, “Data is the biggest commodity for a marketer. Assessing your customer journey is key to understanding how many leads are coming in, and how many of those are moving along to become sales.

assess customer journey katie holmes ruler analytics

 

Integrating your marketing with a marketing attribution tool is a key way to optimise your campaigns. With attribution, you’ll be able to focus on driving revenue, not just clicks and conversions. So, even if you’re working in B2B, you’ll be able to see how your online content is influencing offline sales.”

 

Be Consistent and Personalised

Converting leads into sales isn’t easy. It takes a lot of persistence and perseverance, especially if you’re selling a high cost product.

But don’t take rejection too hard. Dan Bailey, President of WikiLawn said, “People rarely convert to sales leads after the first exposure. You need repeated exposure to convince them that your product or service is a viable solution for them.

Depending on how hands-on you are, this can be anything from automated email or social media campaigns to actually speaking directly with the potential lead. But it has to be consistent and it has to be continuous. Ideally, it also has to be personalized. For example, we segment our mailing list pretty aggressively so we know what interests customers have and what will engage them the most, which leads to a higher conversion of leads to actual sales.”

Moeed Amin, Director & Founder at Proverbial Door added, “Even if you respond quickly, don’t expect them to have free time to talk. Be prepared that your call will likely lead to scheduling another one. Make sure you have a very strong hook/angle that will arouse their curiosity and increase their desire to learn more from you. They will likely agree to a longer call/meeting.”

Persistence was a recurring theme from our experts. Vincent Bradley, CEO and Founder of Proper Wild commented, “My biggest advice for turning MQLs into sales is developing your relationship with that customer through regular communication. This may sound labour-intensive, but there are plenty of marketing automation tools that can send out notifications and emails on your behalf with relevant content for your MQL.”

 

Prove Your Worth

With customer journeys in mind, we know that converting leads into sales happens at the end of the buyer’s journey. At this point, you’re trying to prove your company is the best available.

Isabel Pak, Founder of Business One on One, said, “ In today’s hyper-connected online world, converting leads into sales is becoming ever more challenging. Therefore, businesses need a strategic and structured way of approaching sales. The main objective is to build trust and you can do this in three ways. The first is by providing the most value upfront, the second by showing social proof, and third by making sure your marketing funnel pushes to your sales page.

Proving your worth can be done simply: case studies and testimonials. Providing this type of content is perfect for those near the end of their buyer’s journey. Holly Zorbas, Assistant Editor at CreditDonkey said, “Social proof will not only confirm that you’re talking the talk, but that you’re walking the walk. Let your current customers sing your praises by encouraging them to write a review or testimonial through email, on Yelp, Facebook, or any other relevant review site. For those “special” reviews, showcase them on your website.”

Holly Zorbas creditdonkey

 

Try out Different Channels

There are so many different channels you can test out as a marketer. And according to our experts, there are some key ones that help you move leads along the pipeline.

 

Key Channel Recommendations

Trevor Rappleye, CEO at CorporateFilming, said, “No one cares what I think about myself or our marketing videos – they care about what my customers think about us. Real videos of your customers raving about you providing social proof that you CAN do what you are selling is an amazing way to push leads down the funnel.”

Jayson DeMers, CEO of EmailAnalytics, said email marketing is the way forward. “Converting leads into sales is all about your email drip campaign to those leads. I like to use Intercom for managing that drip campaign.

“It’s important to be friendly, unique, and most importantly, authentic with your email communication. People want to do business with other people (especially people they like!). Not corporate brands.”

 

Opt for Paid Advertising

Meanwhile, John Ross, CEO of Test Prep Insight, suggests paid advertising; “My top tip for converting marketing leads into sales is to run retargeted Google Ads with very narrow parameters. Specifically, to maximize conversion rates and get the most bang for your buck, you should focus on narrowing down the time of day that retargeted ads are run. We have had the most success narrowing our retargeted ads to evenings and weekends.”

Brian Robben, CEO at Robben Media agreed: “Retargeting ads are like magic when executed correctly. If you’re not using them, then you have leads who would absolutely buy if nudged in the right direction. This is often a gold mine never uncovered.”

 

And what about voice notes? 

And last but not least, the most interesting tip of them all. Voice notes. James Hughes, Founder of Digital Marketing 4 Leads, highly recommends them. “You have probably left countless voice notes on WhatsApp to your friends. But, did you know you could leave a voice note on Instagram or LinkedIn? We tripled sales for one of our clients by using voice notes to engage leads on Instagram.

Voice notes are a super innovative way to build a relationship with your leads. When you leave a voice note, your lead will get a notification on the home screen of their phone. This generates intrigue.

Until they listen to your message, they have no idea what the voice note is about. Once a conversation is started, you hand the lead over to sales who go on to close the sale.”

 

Wrapping Up

And there you have it. If you got to the end of this mammoth blog, well done! But also, you’ll now have 39 tips you can use to up your conversions of marketing leads.

We wanted to close with advice from Julien, founder of Harkraider, “There is no sales magic. If you want to close deals, answer questions truthfully, especially when you think what you’re about to say is the “wrong thing.” Overall, prospects buy when they feel secure, more or less. And remember, make it easy to start and easy to get out, early on.”