Most of us understand the frustration that comes with losing a lead to a competitor after working so hard to attract them in the first place. This is a common situation, and sometimes it seems like there’s no good way around it. Despite our best efforts to keep leads engaged throughout the entire buyer journey, we sometimes lose touch with them along the way. Even worse, when we do manage to capture a prospect’s attention until the end, we somehow manage to miss the mark when it comes down to talking business and closing the deal as a new customer.
While it’s easy to attribute these types of results to bad luck, converting more prospects into customers is achievable with the right tools and tactics in place. The trick is to nurture and keep customers engaged along the way, be mindful about the way you approach marketing and sales, and make sure these prospects know you’ll always have their best interests in mind if they decide to convert into loyal customers. Pretty simple, right?
But let’s be real, we all know that is easier said than done — which is why we’re here to offer you a bit of guidance on how to improve your marketing and sales approach to drive more sales conversions. These strategies will help you convert from prospect to customer so you can make the scenario described above less frequent, if not obsolete.
1. Engage Prospects Wherever They’re at in the Customer Journey
As marketers, we have an opportunity to find and engage prospects “upstream” before they become active buyers. These prospects aren’t going to convert into clients right away, but if you can nurture a relationship with them and gain their trust, you’re more likely to get business from them once they are ready to buy.
To accomplish this, you need to adopt a personalized omnichannel approach that takes your prospect’s interests, buyer stage, and pain points into consideration. Use each of your marketing channels to deliver relevant content to your users that positions you as a leader in your industry, builds trust in what you do, and, ultimately, helps your customers inch closer toward making a decision.
One way to begin implementing your nurturing efforts is by segmenting your audience into groups based on the categories previously mentioned and entering them into targeted automated nurture campaigns. A marketing automation platform (such as Act-On) makes this process easy by automatically entering each prospect that fits a specific criteria into each respective automated program. Once your prospects are assigned to a campaign, they’ll automatically start receiving information, content, and recommendations to match their interests, increasing their enthusiasm and confidence in your brand, products, and services along the way.
Automated nurture campaigns also help drive consistent traffic to your website, allowing you to deliver a personalized web experience while they browse to increase your chance of success. The right website personalization tool should help you easily track user behavior to deliver intelligent content recommendations that match your prospect’s current stage in the buyer journey. This eliminates the need for your customers to spend countless hours trying to find the information they need — and saves you the headache of doing any guesswork.
Using a variety of channels to deliver relevant content to customers that matches where they’re at in the customer journey is essential to keeping them engaged throughout the entire sales cycle. This tactic will help you ensure that they remember who you are, enable you to build a good foundation for a long-lasting relationship with them, and equip them with the resources they need to make a final purchasing decision.
2. Have a Solid Marketing Strategy in Place Before You Start Executing
In today’s competitive marketing space, the days of casting a wide net and hoping for the best with your marketing efforts are over. To convert more prospects into customers, you need a thoughtful strategy that delineates how you plan to attract your customers, what it will take to keep them engaged, and what kind of results you are hoping to achieve along the way. When crafting your strategy, take into account your customer personas and how each of them will benefit from doing business with you. Identify different outreach methods and messaging that highlight the products and features your prospects will likely find most appealing. Using this information, develop a go-to-market plan that outlines how you plan to engage these prospects at every stage of the buyer journey.
For example, depending on what you’re selling, targeting your customers by industry might be a good place to start. Consider how these prospects are more likely to consume information and use these channels to deliver relevant content and messaging that match their industry language and common pain points.
3. Make Sure You Have the Right Content Strategy in Place to Attract Prospects
We’ve talked a lot about delivering the right content, but we haven’t really mentioned what that entails on the backend. Identifying and developing quality content takes time and effort. Unfortunately, many marketers fail to realize that they need to develop specific pieces before they actually need to use them for a campaign or other marketing effort, such as customer prospecting. In this scenario, many marketers often have to change course or wait until a specific piece is created and approved before presenting it to their target audience. In both situations, marketers are vulnerable to losing their leads to a competitor that is ready to deliver the right content to their prospect at the right time.
Developing a robust content library that accounts for multiple product, service, and feature lines at every stage of the sales funnel can help you prepare to strike while the iron is hot once the decision-making process comes around. When creating content, consider each of your customer personas and their stage in the sales funnel, and create a variety of assets that address their pain points, interests, and will help them make a final decision. If you already have some content ready to go, you can be proactive by working with your team to identify any content gaps that need to be filled. Over time, work to address these needs so you’re prepared with the right content to engage your prospects at all times.
4. Leverage Your Data and Insights to Optimize Your Efforts
If you’re constantly launching new campaigns but not seeing your engagement rates rise, you’re likely not using your data and insights to optimize your efforts. Reviewing previous results to identify trends that have caused your efforts to succeed or fall flat can provide direction on how to optimize your marketing strategy moving forward.
We recommend you kick things up a notch by A/B testing your efforts. Testing which subject lines, CTAs, and content pieces perform better than others allows you to enhance your marketing to yield better results every single time. And guess what? The more engaged your audience is at every stage of the sales funnel, the higher your chances will be of converting them into loyal customers once they reach the finish line.
5. Don’t Rely Solely on Sales and Marketing
Converting prospects into customers involves more than just requiring your sales and marketing teams to adjust their efforts. It also takes more than the right content, the right ads, and the right messaging. Your future customers want to know that your company has their best interest in mind, and they want that fact to be affirmed by your current customers.
In other words, it’s important that everybody in your network understands your goals and your customers’ needs — and can speak well on your behalf. A good way to show that to your customers is through success stories and customer referrals. Identify a few customers who are extremely satisfied and ask them if they’d like to be interviewed about the success they’ve experienced using your product or service. Use these interviews to extract quotes you can use as testimonials, and write success stories for your website. There might be prospects that will have more detailed questions, so having a few customers your salespeople can call up for a reference call is also a good idea.
These simple strategies will do wonders for your engagement and help you get on the right path toward achieving your goal of converting more prospects into customers.