Commentary

Conversion Therapy: Firms Struggle To Get Leads Through The Funnel

The slog from lead to conversion is an arduous one and few firms are prepared for it, judging by The State of Lead Conversion In Marketing and Sales, a study conducted by Ascend2 in partnership with Verse. 

Of the companies polled, only 12% are very satisfied with their lead-conversion capabilities, although 33% are somewhat happy with them. 

But 25% are unsatisfied, and 4% are very much so. And the end users — those on the sales team — are even more unhappy about the inbound leads they’re getting, with the following ratings:

  • Lead quality — 44%
  • Readiness to buy — 39% 
  • Inability to contact — 37%
  • Timeline to buy — 33%
  • Not the right decision-maker — 24%
  • Alignment with product/service — 23%

All this shows “a big lead conversion gap between generating leads and closing the sale,” says David Tal, Verse co-founder and co-CEO. 

Verse offers a lead pre-qualification service for B2B and B2C companies.  

It also handles such tasks as after-hours follow-up — no small thing, given that 44% of leads come in after business hours. In fact, 41% of firms consider that a challenge. 

What’s more, 44% say sales staff is too busy to follow up at all. Only 25% are using a lead-conversion solution.

Another obstacle in this process is what Tal calls “speed to lead.” 

Among the respondents, 17% try to make their first contact with leads in five minutes or less, while 28% do so within 30 minutes and 17% in an hour. Another 5% try in two to three hours.  

However, 21% take an entire business day, 6% take two days and for 6%, the time frame is longer.

Then there is lead-qualification data — only 39% are using it in the process.  

How prepared are companies from a technological standpoint? Here are the types of automation they deploy: 

  • Email marketing automation — 44%
  • CRM — 39% 
  • Conversational Marketing — 26%
  • Lead Conversion — 25%
  • Engagement/qualification nurturing — 23%
  • Chatbots — 18%
  • ABM Software — 15%

There’s a good reason that email automation is at the top of that list — it’s the most-used channel for following up with leads: 

  • Email — 37%
  • Phone calls — 36% 
  • Social Media — 12% 
  • Live Chat — 7%
  • Text/SMS — 6%
  • Other — 1% 

The low adoption of SMS is surprising because most consumers prefer it, Tal notes. 

Of course, most firms use more than one channel and it is critical to get the sequencing just right. For instance, 43% use phone and 41% email for the first follow-up. 

For the second follow-up, 40% use email and 38% use the phone. And for the third, 28% choose phone and 24% choose email. 

SMS, which is deployed by only 6% for the first follow-up and 14% for the second, leaps 21% for the third.  

In general, brands face several serious lead-conversion challenges: 

  • Collecting enough data on leads — 43%
  • Following up with leads quickly — 41% 
  • Making initial contact with leads — 39% 
  • Maintaining contact with leads — 35%
  • Filtering and funneling leads — 29%
  • Setting appointments with leads — 25% 

Those challenges come with costs: 

  • Missed opportunities for revenue — 54% 
  • Wasted staff time/resources — 50%
  • Wasted budget — 36% 
  • Lower employee morale — 29%
  • Contention between marketing and sales — 29% 

Ascend2 surveyed 277 marketing and sales professionals in both the B2B and B2C channels. 

 

 

 

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