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8 Ways To Get Started

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8 Ways To Get Started

Today, most marketing teams are focused on driving traffic toward websites in hopes that this traffic then converts into qualified leads for sales reps to close. But that’s only half the battle.

Getting more out of existing traffic and leads (versus entirely new traffic) can propel companies toward long-term, sustainable growth. That’s where conversion rate optimization (CRO) comes in. In this guide, you’ll learn about the power of CRO, why your business should focus on improving your conversion rate, and how to get started.

What is a conversion rate?

A conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who complete a desired action, like completing a web form, signing up for a service, or purchasing a product.

A high conversion rate means your website is well-designed, formatted effectively, and appealing to your target audience. A low conversion rate could be the result of a variety of factors related to either website performance or design. Slow load times, a broken form, or copy that doesn’t convey the value of the offer are common reasons for a poor conversion rate.

What is a good conversion rate?

A “good” conversion rate depends on your industry, niche, goals, traffic channel, and audience demographics, among other factors. For example, the average conversion rate of ecommerce sites globally was 2.17% in the third quarter of 2020, which was down from 2.37% the previous year. The ecommerce conversion rate in the US was higher, however, at 2.57%.

The average not only differs by year and by country — it also differs by niche. For example, the average conversion rate of ecommerce sites in the food and beverage sector is 5.5% whereas the average in the hair care sector is 3.5%.

If your conversion rate is lower than you’d like — maybe it’s below average in your industry, or lower than your top competitors, or simply underperforming against your own goals — then it’s time to optimize.

Conversions can happen all over your website: on your homepage, pricing page, blog, landing pages, and more. To maximize the potential of converting website visitors into paying customers, you should optimize each location.

Before we take a look at the benefits of CRO, let’s walk through how to calculate your site’s conversion rate. That way, you’ll have a better understanding of how much time and resources to invest in a CRO strategy.

How to Calculate Conversion Rate

Conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of conversions by the number of visitors and multiplying that number by 100 to get a percentage.

how to calculate conversion rate: conversion rate formula

As long as you know how you’re defining a conversion, then calculating your conversion rate is easy. You just plug in two values and multiply by 100.

Let’s say you’re defining a conversion as a newsletter opt-in, and you have an opt-in form on every single page of your website. In that case, you’d divide the total number of newsletter form submissions by the total number of website visitors and multiply it by 100. So if you had 500 submissions and 20,000 visitors last quarter, then your conversion rate would be 2.5%.

You can repeat this process for every conversion opportunity on your site. Just make sure to only count the number of visitors on the webpages where the offer is listed. For example, if you want to calculate the conversion rate of your ebook offer, then you’d divide the total number of downloads by the number of people who visited webpages where the ebook offer is listed.

Alternatively, you can calculate your website’s overall conversion rate by dividing the total number of conversions for every conversion opportunity on your site by the total number of visitors on your site.

Where to Implement a CRO Strategy

Here are four areas of your website that have the potential to largely benefit from conversion rate optimization.

1. Homepage

Homepages are prime candidates for CRO. In addition to making a first impression on visitors, the homepage is also an opportunity to retain those visitors and guide them further into your website.

You can do this by emphasizing links to product information, offering a free signup button, or even incorporating a chatbot that solicits questions from visitors at any point during their browsing experience.

2. Pricing Page

A website’s pricing page can be the make-or-break point for many website visitors. CRO can help a pricing page convert visitors into customers by modifying the pricing intervals (e.g. price-per-year vs. price-per-month), describing the product features associated with each price, including a phone number for visitors to call for a price quote, or adding a simple pop-up form.

Hotjar, for example, added a simple email opt-in popup form on its pricing page and got over 400 new leads in just three weeks.

how websites benefit from CRO: Hotjar Pricing Page Popup Overlay

3. Blog

A blog is a massive conversion opportunity for a website. In addition to publishing thoughtful and helpful content about your industry, a blog can use CRO to convert readers into leads.

This process often includes adding calls-to-action (CTA) throughout an article or inviting readers to learn more about a topic by submitting their email address in exchange for an ebook or industry report.

4. Landing Pages

Since landing pages are inherently designed for people to take an action, it makes sense that they have the highest average conversion rate of all signup forms at 24%. An event landing page, for example, can be optimized with a video of last year’s event to encourage visitors to register this year. A landing page that’s offering a free resource can be optimized with preview content from that resource to encourage visitors to download it.

Now that you know where you can optimize for conversions, you may be wondering how you know when your business is ready to start the process.

CRO Formulas

The short answer: CRO is important for any business online. That’s because, no matter how established or large your company is, you want to convert your website visitors into qualified leads, customers, and brand advocates — and you want to do so in the most effective, impactful, and reliable way.

With conversion rate optimization, you’ll get more out of your existing website traffic while ensuring you’re targeting qualified leads.

Although this is a straightforward concept, setting a conversion goal isn’t as easy as saying, “This page converted 50 people this month, so we want to convert 100 people next month.”

Featured resource: 8-Week Conversion Rate Optimization Planner

Website Conversion Funnel

Download this planner

You don’t just want 50 more conversions from a webpage. Instead, you want 50 more conversions for every X amount of people who visit it. (This is your conversion rate — the percentage of people who convert on your website based on how many people have touched it).

To provide a better understanding of where you stand at any point in time in regards to conversion rate, here are three commonly-used formulas your business can use to understand, analyze, and improve.

CRO Calculation 1: Conversion Rate

As we mentioned earlier, to calculate conversion rate, you must divide your number of conversions (or leads generated) by your number of visitors (or web traffic), and then multiply that number by 100 to get the percentage.

Leads Generated ÷ Website Traffic x 100 = Conversion Rate %

CRO Calculation 2: Number of Net New Customers

To calculate your number of net new customers, you’ll want to divide your net revenue goal by your average sales price.

New Revenue Goal ÷ Average Sales Price = Number of New Customers

CRO Calculation 3: Lead Goal

And lastly, to calculate your lead goal, take your number of new customers and divide it by your lead-to-customer close rate (which is your total number of leads divided by total number of customers) percentage.

Number of New Customers ÷ Lead-to-Customer Close Rate % = Lead Goal

Here’s an example of these formulas in action:

If your website has 10,000 visitors per month that generate 100 leads — and subsequently, 10 customers each month — the website visitor-to-lead conversion rate would be 1%.

What if you wanted to generate 20 customers each month?

You could try to get 20,000 visitors to your website and hope that the quality of your traffic doesn’t decrease — although, that’s a risk you’ll likely want to avoid. Rather, you could obtain more leads from your existing traffic by optimizing your conversion rate. This is less risky and is more likely to produce better results for your bottom line.

For instance, if you increase your conversion rate from 1% to 2%, you’d double your leads and your customers. The following table is proof of this — you can see the positive impact that results from increasing your website’s conversion rate:

COMPANY

A

B

C

Monthly Site Traffic

10,000

10,000

10,000

Conversion Rate

1%

2%

3%

Leads Generated

100

200

300

New Customers

10

20

30

Notice the drastic increases in the number of leads generated and net new customers when you boost your conversion rate.

Not only that, but it’s clear that generating more website traffic isn’t necessarily the right approach when trying to improve your conversion rate — in fact, this chart shows you that you can grow your business substantially without increasing traffic at all.

Hard to believe? Think about this way: Pretend you were trying to fill up a leaky bucket. If you pour more water into the bucket, you won’t fix the root cause of the issue — instead, you’ll end up with a lot of water that’s wasted (not to mention, a bucket that will never fill up all the way).

Are you ready to take the first steps toward CRO at your company? Review the strategies below and start experimenting.

Conversion Rate Optimization Strategies

Here are some applicable conversion rate optimization marketing strategies to test and implement at your company.

1. Create text-based CTAs within blog posts.

While it’s considered a best practice to include CTAs in a blog post, they sometimes fail to entice visitors to take your desired course of action. Why?

Banner blindness is a real phenomenon related to people becoming accustomed to ignoring banner-like information on websites. This lack of attention coupled with the fact site visitors don’t always read all the way to the bottom of a blog post (rather, they “snack” on content), means a different approach is required.

That’s where the text-based CTA comes in handy. Here at HubSpot, we ran a test with text-based CTAs — a standalone line of text linked to a landing page and styled as an H3 or an H4 — to see if they would convert more traffic into leads than regular CTAs located at the bottom of a web page.

In HubSpot’s limited test of 10 blog posts, regular end-of-post banner CTAs contributed an average of just 6% of leads that the blog posts generated, whereas up to 93% of a post’s leads came from the anchor-text CTA alone.

2. Add lead flows on your blog.

A lead flow is another conversion rate optimization element you can include on your site. Lead flows are high-converting pop-ups designed to attract attention and offer value.

You can select from a slide-in box, drop-down banner, or pop-up box, depending on your offer. We experimented with the slide-in box on the HubSpot Blog back in 2016 and it achieved a 192% higher clickthrough rate and 27% more submissions than a regular CTA at the bottom of a blog post.

3. Run tests on your landing pages.

Landing pages are an important part of the modern marketer’s toolkit and, as mentioned earlier, integral to conversion rate optimization.

That’s because a landing page is where a website visitor becomes a lead or an existing lead engages more deeply with your brand. To optimize a landing page, run A/B tests to identify your best design and content features for audience members.

For instance, with A/B testing you can quickly and easily test different versions of your website copy, content offers, images, form questions, and web pages to determine what your target audience and leads respond to best.

Thanks to A/B testing, China Expat Health was able to increase their lead conversion rate by 79%. One of the most impactful changes was swapping out the headline “Health Insurance in China” for “Save Up to 32% on Your Health Insurance in China,” which immediately conveyed a value proposition to visitors. This proposition was then supported by customer testimonials.

Get everything you need to start effectively A/B Testing your website today.

4. Help leads to immediately become a marketing-qualified lead.

Sometimes visitors want to get right down to business, skip parts of the typical buyer’s journey, and immediately speak with a sales rep (rather than be nurtured).

There are specific actions you should encourage these high-intent visitors to complete so they can easily become marketing qualified leads (MQLs) — and they can take action through a combination of thoughtfully designed web pages, compelling and clear copy, and smart CTAs.

For instance, at HubSpot, we discovered that visitors who sign up for product demos convert at higher rates than visitors who sign up for free product trials. So, we optimized our website and conversion paths for people booking demos or meetings with a sales rep.

Admittedly, this depends on your product and sales process, but our best advice is to run a series of tests to find out what generates the most customers. Then, optimize for that process. The key here is to look for ways to remove friction from your sales process.

5. Build workflows to enable your team.

There are a number of automated workflows you can create to enable your team with the help of marketing automation software.

For example, with marketing automation, it’s possible to send automatic emails with workflows. Then, leads can book meetings with reps in one click. Meanwhile, reps receive notifications when leads take high-intent actions such as view the pricing page on your website.

Or, if you work in ecommerce, you can send an email to people who abandon their shopping cart as a reminder. According to research from Moosend, abandoned cart emails can be very effective. They have a high open rate of 45%. Of the emails that are opened, 21% are clicked. Half of the people who clicked make a purchase.

Here’s an example of an abandoned cart email by the Dollar Shave Club.

cro marketing strategy: abandoned cart email by Dollar Shave Club

Image Source

6. Add messages to high-converting web pages.

Use live chat software to chat with your website visitors in real-time and offer support and guidance as needed. To increase conversions, add these messaging features to your high-performing web pages — such as your pricing and product pages — so leads get the information they want in real-time.

You can also make your messaging and chat bots action-based. For example, if someone has spent more than a minute on the page, you may want to automatically offer to help and answer any questions they may have (again, a live chat tool, like HubSpot, makes this easy).

7. Optimize high-performing blog posts.

Again, publishing blog articles opens the door to a big opportunity for conversions. Even more so if you already have existing blog content on your site — in fact, at HubSpot, the majority of our monthly blog views and leads come from posts published over a month ago.

To get started optimizing your blog content, identify your posts with the highest levels of web traffic but low conversion rates. (Possible causes of this issue may be related to SEO, the content offer you are promoting, or your CTA.)

In one instance, we at HubSpot added an inbound press release template offer to a blog post about press releases — as a result, we saw conversions for that post increase by 240%.

Additionally, look at your blog posts with high conversion rates. You want to drive more qualified website traffic to those posts and you can do so by optimizing the content for the search engine results page (SERP) or updating it as needed to ensure it’s fresh and relevant.

8. Leverage retargeting to re-engage website visitors.

It doesn’t matter what your key conversion metric is: The cold, hard truth is that most people on your website don’t take the action you want them to. By leveraging retargeting on Facebook and other platforms, you can re-engage people who left your website.

Retargeting works by tracking visitors to your website and serving them online ads as they visit other sites around the web. This is particularly impactful when you retarget people who visited your highest-converting web pages.

The normal inbound rules still apply here — you need well-crafted copy, engaging visuals, and a compelling offer for retargeting to work.

Take United’s retargeting campaign for example. Using insights from previous ad campaigns, United focused on reaching people who had viewed their ads and were already considering booking a vacation. To this select audience, they promoted a 15-second video ending in a call-to-action.

If viewers felt inspired enough to book their vacation, all they had to do was click on the CTA to be taken straight to the United website. This proved to be a huge success. In just one month, 52% of conversions attributed to YouTube were click-through conversions directly from the ad.

(If you’re a HubSpot customer, take a look at how the AdRoll integration can improve your conversion efforts.)

Now, let’s talk about how you can get started with CRO at your company.

How to Get Started with Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Maybe you’re wondering, “Where do I start with CRO?”

Enter: PIE framework. Before starting a CRO project, prioritize your efforts by ranking each element on Potential, Importance, and Ease.

Use the PIE framework to answer the following questions for every strategy outlined in the previous section. Then, assign a score between one and 10 (one being the lowest and 10 being the highest) to each strategy.

  • How much total improvement can this project offer?
  • How valuable will this improvement be?
  • How complicated or difficult will it be to implement this improvement?

Once you’ve assigned a score for each strategy, add up the numbers and divide the total by three — this gives a score that shows what project will have the greatest impact. Then, work on the projects with the highest scores first.

The PIE framework isn’t perfect, but it’s easy to understand, systematic, and offers a starting point for CRO collaboration and communication among colleagues.

We’ve covered a lot about conversion rate optimization, but not everything. If you still have questions, then check out the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions below.

What is the purpose of a conversion rate optimization?

The purpose of conversion rate optimization (CRO) is to improve the likelihood of visitors taking a desired action on a webpage.

What is a CRO strategy?

A CRO strategy is designed to convert more of your visitors into paying customers. While each CRO strategy will vary company by company, the general steps will not. You have to identify key metrics and your target audience. Then you have to collect user feedback and other data to decide what you’re going to test. Finally, you’ll run A/B tests to improve different pages and parts of your site for conversion.

What are CRO tools?

CRO tools are designed to simplify or automate the process of optimizing your conversion rate. They might help with lead capture, research, analytics, mouse tracking and heat maps, feedback, or running experiments.

What is a CRO test?

A CRO test involves adding, re-arranging, and redesigning elements on your website in order to maximize your conversions. Different CRO tests might focus on optimizing the copy, design, or placement of your CTAs, or the length of your headlines, among other elements.

Begin Using CRO

There are many best practices out there when it comes to CRO but, ultimately, you need to find out what your customers respond to, and what drives results for your business.

Keep these three follow-up actions in mind when getting started with CRO today:

  1. Use the three formulas to start the CRO conversation.
  2. Experiment with CRO strategies to discover what works for your business.
  3. Leverage the PIE framework to help prioritize your strategy.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

​​

via GIPHY

To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

1716755163 123 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 123 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To
  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

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So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

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The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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