Generating a consistent flow of leads may sound like an ideal scenario. It’s a good indication your marketing efforts are attracting your target audience’s attention, but leads have little value if they are not converted.
Not responding to a lead can be just as problematic as never generating one at all — some argue that it’s even worse. If you’re spending both time and money on generating leads and not converting a meaningful percentage of them, immediately start thinking about what you should be doing differently.
Controlling the right amount of leads in the first place is tricky. If you bring too many unqualified leads to the table, you risk agents not getting to all of the prospects, including many good ones. Don’t supply enough, and agents may go elsewhere to look for their own sources.
Here are some best practices for managing lead conversion:
1. Conduct self-audits. Whether you’re asking consumers to supply email addresses, read newsletters, fill out contact forms, or you’re buying for leads from another company, the costs associated with generating them is the first critical indicator. As you invest in new programs, systems, or any other marketing effort, establish baselines for both cost per lead received and the final cost for a lead that resulted in a sale.
Benchmark all of your marketing efforts. Evaluate your websites, landing pages, click-through rates, and so on. Which sources or steps are the most effective, and which need more testing or tweaking? If they’re not optimized (or if they fail to track visits, clicks, or shares), consider hiring a specialist to evaluate your process and provide some specific recommendations.
2. Set realistic goals. Lead-generation programs can’t simply be switched on, and they provide a huge ROI out of the gate. Set a system in place with the steps to receive, review, implement, follow up, track, and make corrective adjustments before you can open the funnel completely.
Know your lead conversion benchmarks so you can articulate and manage every program’s costs and expectations.
3. Generate website traffic. Many companies work under the assumption that “if you build it, they will come.” That’s seldom the case. You need to have a compelling reason, and you have to reiterate it — a lot. You’ll need to drive traffic to your website, be it paid advertising, portal advertising, organic search, retargeting, social media, user targeting, or other options.
A CRM system can serve as the hub for your campaigns, so make sure you use one to measure and track activities for any traffic-generating effort. Make sure everyone uses the system so you get a complete picture. CRMs can also manage lead data and make it easier to gauge performance, allowing you to react and make changes as necessary.
4. Capitalize on leads. A website is still one of the most popular and effective lead-generation channels. Your website should be designed to capture leads wherever possible and also strive to move existing leads further down the sales funnel.
If you do work in a longer sales cycle such as residential real estate sales, one option is to create an automated follow-up campaign that will provide valuable information to the prospective client over the long term. In fact, thank-you emails can almost double engagement rates when compared to sales and marketing emails.
5. Hire the right team. Technology is key and is a great tool to scale to larger volumes. Still, however, human interaction and connection is what drives success. Hire team members who are great at connecting with people and who are willing to go the extra mile.
Make sure everyone on your team responds quickly to any lead or potential client communication. If you’re short-handed, enlist the help of an outside call center or independent contractors to help follow up with leads.
Everyone should be accountable and know what the performance standards are. Track actions, and monitor results constantly. Finding a perfect balance between technology, talent, and training is key.