One really does not have overstate the importance of converting your leads into sales. You might have the best campaigns to generate leads, and your marketers might be rock stars who give you an edge over your competition, but there is no value realized for the company if these leads are not converted. This post lists down a few, non-exhaustive tips to convert your leads. In this post, we will expand this list, and see more actionable tips to convert your leads.

A Structured Process

One thing that many organizations lack in their marketing and sales process is a good and efficient structure. Many tasks are carried out in an ad hoc manner, often without anyone being accountable for the result. Many things are tried, and regardless of their results, often left halfway only to start something else that might or might not work. In the hurried routine, barely anyone has time to sit back and take a deeper look at where things are going wrong and how they should be improved.

Therefore, the first thing that organizations must keep in mind is to have a structured process that can ensure that the tasks are carried out regardless of the individuals. Of course, we do not seek to trivialize the importance of individuals, but they will be more effective when the have a process to follow rather than when they are rushing in. Given the demands of today’s dynamic and globalized market, this process should also be flexible and adaptable. The objective is to have a process that improves productivity and allows for creativity rather than one that stifles employees. A CRM solution is ideal to implement a process – it is robust and flexible, and meets the CRM process needs of organizations amply. An online CRM software solution can help with structuring this process.

Effective Communication

Effective communication is one of the pillars of sales and marketing. It is not an exaggeration to say that communication is the key aspect on which sales are made or lost. However, this is one aspect many organizations sorely lack in. Their existing lines of communication are either too slow or ineffective, and worse, they work in silos, with very little sharing of information, which, once again, is one of the pillars of sales and marketing. Therefore, ensure that both sales and marketing are working together instead of against one another. They have to share data and insights, which will make them both more effective. Communication among these functions should be effective and consistent. Even if you have to be formal and institute periodic meetings, you must, since at least that is one way they will both come to the table. This we say with no amount of uncertainty – sales and marketing should collaborate and communicate effectively.

Develop a Nurturing Program

Lead generation is only the beginning, and a rather small one at that, in the entire cycle. Leads generated have to be qualified, and it takes time before a lead can become a tangible opportunity. Often, this is where the entire process fails – organizations do not have a formal lead nurturing program by which they can nurture the lead till it becomes an opportunity or a sale. They simply use ad hoc processes and depend on their sales reps to get it done for them. This is really the wrong approach as it depends on individuals and their performance, which is not actually backed by any efficient process or data. Further, it also does not allow for visibility, which means that maverick selling is a real possibility.

Therefore, it pays to have a standardized lead nurturing program that helps marketers and sales reps in carrying out the tasks necessary to complete the sale. Maybe the lead needs to learn more about the product and the technology before making a decision; maybe they need more time to get the funds released – whatever the reason, there needs to be a way of keeping them interested in the course of the sale. By keeping in touch with leads sending them interesting news and offers, and letting them know of any latest updates, organizations can engage their leads and nurture them towards a sale. It is also a good idea to sometimes giveaway some material. Say you sell accounting software, and you generated a lead. In nurturing this lead, you can always offer them a quick-fix for something, or provide them with a spreadsheet to do something themselves. This will build up trust, and the next time they want anything, they will come to you.

Timely Action

One of the major reasons why leads peter away is because sales reps don’t respond in time, or take their own time getting back to leads regarding any information they need. There can be no excuse for this – sales reps exist to close a sale; no activity that helps towards that should be slacked upon. However, because of increased workload, or plain lethargy, many times, queries are not answered in time, and leads are lost. And simply throwing manpower to plug this gap does not work either – this problem exists in well-staffed organizations too. And this is partly because of reliance on individuals rather than on the process.

So, it is imperative that timely action is being taken to resolve any kind of queries and enquiries. There have to be processes in place to escalate things if resolutions are not done in time. Further, there should be oversight on whether or not these resolutions are being done effectively as well as in a timely manner.

Data Management

This is one of the most important things in converting leads to sales. The importance of data cannot be over-emphasized – data can be the significant difference maker in completing a sale often. By understanding customer preferences, and what they are looking for, sales reps can be much better prepared to close the sale, and this is possible through careful analysis of the data. Not all organizations invest in data collection and data management though. They just leave it to sales reps – they expect the sale to close, and do not really care about what the sales reps are doing in the course of this. This however, can backfire, and sales reps will perform badly, which will cause them to leave, and organizations are now left with depleted salesforces.

Instead, what they need to do is to invest in data collection and management, and ensure that sales reps have all the information and intelligence they need to be able to successfully close a sale. This data can be analysed in a variety of ways to not just gain intelligence on the prospect but also on the process and its stakeholders – senior managers and executives can now easily measure the performance of sales reps, understand how much time it takes on average to close a sale and the different variables that are in play, and take steps to plug any gaps that exist or have the scope to exist.

Take Advantage of Technology

Yes, there are many tips that help in converting leads to sales, but none of them are very useful if the organizations still insist on using traditional methods of CRM. In this digital age, even spreadsheets and email are slow – what is necessary is a purpose-built solution that can help with the various aspects of CRM. It is simply no good to have a solution for only one part of the process. Yes, you can store data in a spreadsheet, and yes, you can mail it to the stakeholders as and when necessary, but is that really where you want to utilize your resources’ time? How will you constantly update the document, and how will this updated document reach the right people? Further, you will have to save all your contacts in one place, and you need to be able to contact them at a moment’s notice. If your contacts solution and emailing solution are different, will you keep wasting time on copying data? And what about analytics? Analytics are useful only if all the stakeholders are kept informed, and with standalone applications for all of the above, collaboration and coordination will take a hit.

So, what is the solution? A comprehensive online CRM software solution that can also provide you with a mobile app that lets you handle all your tasks even on the go. This CRM solution will combine all the important aspects of CRM – lead management, sales pipeline or sales funnel management, analytics, data management, and so on. Since everything is integrated, you will have no data entry or data duplication woes. The technology you need exists – you just need to take full advantage of it.

Lead conversion both science and art – use the technology for the science part and your human resources for art, you will find success.