When it comes to acquiring and nurturing leads into the sales funnel, the role of marketing and sales goes hand in hand. However, some misalignments and challenges between both the teams result in a lead conversion gap in the sales funnel.
The Lead Conversion Gap is an issue that costs a lot of time, money and resources. Yet businesses are not aware of how to address the problem.
In this article, we will talk about why the misalignment between the Marketing and Sales team results in the lead conversion gap, and the ways in which organisations can tackle this problem.
The Role of Marketing and Sales
While the Sales and Marketing teams are dependent on each other, they are not usually happy with the way the other team functions. One of the major functions of the Marketing team is to bring in qualified leads, however, there are chances that unqualified leads will seep through the chunk of leads acquired. On the other hand, the role of the sales team is to close leads that Marketing passes onto them.
While each team has their own strengths, they also fall short according to the other team.
The Marketing team feels like Sales don’t always get in touch with leads fast enough to convert them, while on the other hand, the Sales team finds it tedious to go through all the leads to find the qualified ones for the business.
Misalignments between sales and marketing costs B2B companies 10% or more of revenue loss annually. No matter which team is to blame entirely, the hand-off between sales and marketing results in a major gap in the sales funnel. The point of concern is how to bridge this lead conversion gap
Let us look at some common problems in Marketing and Sales.
Failure to Generate Qualified Leads
23% of salespeople said they need “better-qualified leads” from the marketing team. A possible reason for generating unqualified leads could be a lack of understanding of the targeted demographic. This leads to the Marketing team engaging with the wrong prospects, creating campaigns with a messaging that is directed towards the wrong audience, etc.
Some other reasons for this could be that lead generation online generates chunks of leads that also comes with a certain percentage of unqualified leads that needs to be segregated. This in itself is a tedious task for any department.
This results in the Marketing team bringing in leads that might even be more in number, but are not qualified. The lack of qualified leads exhausts the resources of the sales team.
The high volume of leads which the Sales team has to scramble through and respond as quickly as possible is also a problem. Getting in touch with a lead or a qualified lead immediately is sometimes unrealistic, but reports state that a response within 5 minutes increases conversion potential by 900%
Nurturing Leads is Time-consuming
The Marketing team often feels that the Sales team spends considerably lesser time in nurturing the leads passed on to them. The Sales team is either too aggressively looking to close deals, or they are simply not in alignment with the engagement approach that the marketing team takes.
Different Teams. Different Strategies
Inconsistencies between the two teams that result in the lead conversion gap are also rooted in each of their strategies. 96% of sales and marketing professionals admit there are challenges with strategy alignment. These challenges are caused as sales and marketing don’t report to the same executive, they don’t measure success using the same KPIs, and their goals and objectives don’t align.
While each of the teams has their own set of challenges to work on, it is important to ensure that customer expectations don’t bear the brunt of it.
What do customers expect?
Customers expect immediacy. They are used to getting everything at the click of a button. Lack of speed in interactions with businesses is the number one pain point.
22% of customers expect to engage with a business in their own time, be it day or night, rather than only during business hours. 86% of customers are even willing to pay more for better customer service because it impacts their purchase decisions.
It is evident that immediacy, real-time communication and availability are some of the factors that comprise the customer’s expectation. Similarly, it is also notable that the mediums through which customers prefer to engage with businesses have also changed.
One of the factors that creates a lead conversion gap is the fact that both marketing and sales teams don’t pay attention to the way in which their customers prefer to communicate.
Communication through phone calls and emails have taken a back seat due to the inconvenience they cause, and the overflow of spam, both via emails and calls.
Only 25% of customers prefer talking to a contact centre agent. 49% of customers prefer getting a text and 45% of customers want to speak to a live agent.
Communication has evolved and businesses are shifting to more digital spaces to engage with prospects, customers and generate leads online.
Similarly, customer expectations have evolved too. More than 41% of customers expect Live Chat on your website, and 79% prefer live chat purely because of the immediacy it offers compared to other channels.
J.D. Power found that live chat has become the leading digital contact method for online customers, (42%) as compared to just 23% for email, and 16% for social media or forums.
How to tackle the Lead Conversion Gap
24×7 availability for Lead Generation
Prospects approach a business at a time when it is convenient for them, therefore it is possible that they approach your business after their office hours. This could mean that your business would also probably not be available at that particular hour, to generate leads.
By being available for prospects on the website 24×7 the Marketing team can gain an upper hand in lead generation by not missing out on opportunities to generate leads. Not only is Live Chat helpful for prospects and customers, but more importantly it is also a tool to qualify leads in real-time so that the leads can be passed on to the sales team.
This also ensures the productive functioning of the Sales team. Since the sales team already have received qualified leads to nurture or close and therefore do not need to look for them
24×7 contact support allows you to not only be available to guide your prospects and provide them with a touchpoint in real-time but in doing so, also increase the chances of the prospect converting into a qualified lead through such proactive engagement.
24×7 Live Chat also provides the website visitor with a personalised and a more welcoming experience through trained chat agents, rather than an impersonal one.
Speed matters for Lead Conversion
Once the marketing team captures qualified leads and passes them onto the Sales team, the need to scour through a high volume of unqualified leads gets eliminated. This saves time and enables efficient functioning.
Engaging with qualified leads when they are still interested is of utmost importance. Following up with online leads within 5 minutes, makes them 9 times more likely to convert into customers.
Getting in touch with leads after they have had the time to get distracted by other things, gotten more saturated with information or more importantly, even found your competitor, is unwise. Calling within 5 minutes is 21x more effective than calling after 30 minutes.
How CommVersion can help solve the Lead Conversion Gap
By now we have seen how each department faces its own set of challenges such as generating leads, going through each lead to segregate qualified leads from unqualified leads, etc.
CommVersion helps its customers tackle these challenges in the following ways:
How CommVersion helps the Marketing team
The inability to communicate with prospects inquiring online can lead them straight to your competition. Not being able to engage with prospects means missing an opportunity to generate a qualified lead.
Through Live Chat, CommVersion engages with web visitors to identify intent among them and develop their interest with relevant information, thereby converting them into qualified leads in real-time, that can be passed on to the sales team immediately.
How CommVersion helps the Sales team
It takes thousands of man-hours, and admin time to manually add leads into CRMs. This time could be put to better use by chasing prospects, nurturing qualified leads and closing deals.
CommVersion integrates all the leads directly into the CRM of the customers choice for smoother functioning of the sales team, and for efficient conversions. We immediately pass on only qualified leads to the client’s sales team, so that all they need to do next is get on a call and close the pre-qualified leads, and generate sales.
Almost 1 in 2 businesses fail to respond to leads within 24 hours. Leads lose interest or find their solution faster with a competitor business if the sales team is too overburdened by the number of leads they have to sift through and follow up with.
CommVersion only passes on qualified leads to your sales team so that you can immediately get in touch with hot leads that are ready to take action, over a phone call. Instant Connect is a feature that allows you to immediately get in touch with a lead and bridge the gap between a lead and a sale, leaving no room for miscommunication, etc.
Along with this, the lack of help for prospects visiting a website, or a landing page, or other digital mediums leads to a negative experience with regard to a business. Prospects are likely to research on various websites for a solution. 74% of people are likely to switch brands if they find the purchasing process too difficult.
CommVersion is available on the client’s website 24×7 and 365 days so that prospects can have a smoother and more positive experience with the business. This ensures that prospects always have help available whenever they need it, and it also ensures that leads can be generated from the inbound traffic at any time of the day, even during holidays, etc.
68% of customers said that a pleasant representative was key to their recent positive service experiences, and 62% said that a representative’s knowledge or resourcefulness was key.
Through Live Chat, trained and experienced chat agents engage with web visitors to answer their queries in real-time, thereby always being available to not only assist your prospects but also to convert them into leads through communication, 24×7 and 365 days.
87% of consumers feel that connecting with a live customer representative is the best way of resolving an issue. Connecting with a live person, or agent is a factor that gives your prospect a reason to trust your business.
By using live chat, customers can get answers to their questions in two minutes, as compared to the average to the 12 hours average response time for emails and 10 hours response time for social media.
According to an eDigital research paper, live chat has the highest satisfaction levels for any customer service channel, with 73%, compared with 61% for email and 44% for phone.
Businesses are starting to understand the importance of “conversational marketing” software for lead generation and lead conversion. These tools allow Marketers to be present for their prospects throughout the sales funnel to the very bottom where leads are converted into opportunities.
In addition to this, Sales teams can pick up opportunities at this stage through sales enablement platforms and lead management software integrations etc to cope with the other side of the lead conversion gap.
Through seamless integrations of leads into CRMs, for example, leads cannot be forgotten. Admin time and man-hours are saved and diverted elsewhere as the CRM integration can also be automated, and direct.
The solution to the lead conversion gap is proactive engagement with a prospect, through their preferred mediums, at their preferred times, in order to convert them into qualified leads, while having a system that is efficient and organised enough to back the Sales team while it keeps track of all the leads that have been qualified.
CommVersion’s lead generation solution includes proactive engagement and the direct integration of leads into CRMs of your choice. To know more about our services, click here.