You know that feeling you get when you manage to lose something that was really hard to come by? It sucks, right?
Whether it was a front-row ticket for a show you’d been waiting forever to see, or a fifty dollar bill you’d sweated your butt off to earn, the levels of suckery are pretty similar, exactly because it was so hard to come by.
But get this!
Salespeople – and marketing people too – are doing the same thing with sales leads day in and day out. And for the most part, they’re not even aware of how much these lost sales opportunities are costing their company.
Quality leads, with a real chance of converting to a sales opportunity, are pretty hard to come by. They take time, effort, and targeted collaboration between sales and marketing teams to get them on the sales bus and start them on their journey through the pipeline.
Anything that allows, or contributes to these leads being lost along the way, needs to be remedied, and fast.
Top reasons why leads get lost
Finding quality leads is difficult, losing them is easy!
Leads go cold and sales are lost for a variety of reasons:
- First response is too slow
- Landing pages are too slow or not mobile compatible
- Not filtering leads properly – sending generic information
- No lead-scoring strategy in place
- Wasting time on the wrong leads
- Not understanding the leads needs
- Bombarding your lead with the wrong questions/information
- Not keeping your promises – follow up calls, emails, or requests for information, etc.
- Allotting too much or too little time for lead conversion
- Poorly trained sales staff
All it takes is one of the above reasons for a valuable lead to fall between the cracks. The resulting loss of sales does little for the company’s profitability, and for a responsible salesperson’s moral.
Losing leads is not only a sales problem
Lost sales opportunities might not be the fault of the salesperson alone. Leads may have been badly targeted and sourced by external means; either from in-house marketing teams or outside contractors.
- The content promised from search engine results may not match the actual content provided. This can affect your company’s trust rating.
- The targeted landing page may be slow to load, or may not be optimized for mobile users.
- Presenting the wrong information at the wrong stage of the pipeline – for example: offering product demonstration videos during first-contact.
- Not marketing present relevant information where the lead regularly frequents – using Instagram instead of LinkedIn, or vice-versa.
- The lead’s interaction with your company on Social Media goes unresponded.
- There are no visible endorsements from satisfied customers.
- Landing page forms are too long and too complicated or ask the wrong questions.
The resulting lack of alignment between sales and marketing departments can mean only one thing – lost sales!
Sometimes you don’t even know that you’ve lost a lead. A potential customer with a question in their mind visits your website and then disappears never to be heard from again. They slip silently through the cracks and you’re left with another lost sales opportunity.
That’s why the sales and marketing departments need to be singing from the same sheet at all times.
Each department needs to keep each other aware of the strategies being employed, the changes being made, the reasons behind the decision-making process, and any other actions which are likely to affect the outcome of the lead sourcing and nurturing process.
How to fix the problem of lost leads
Let’s work from the list of how sales leads get lost and see how the situation might be reversed.
Slow landing pages – A prospect is searching for an answer to a question and it appears that your company website has the answer.
However, when they arrive at your website the information takes far too long to load, and your lead is gone without you knowing. Test your website regularly and be sure that every new upload is optimized to work both fast and mobile.
Slow response times – When a prospective lead makes contact, either directly or indirectly, a positive first-contact is essential. By making sure that the right personnel or the right technological response is in place – via automated tasks in your sales CRM – prospective leads are always made aware that their attention is valued.
Filtering/Segmenting leads – A lead has submitted his contact details and is ready to engage in conversation.
Firstly, it’s vital that you research this lead carefully and build up as much background information as you can on the lead, the company, and the possible problems which they might be experiencing. All of this information can be gathered in the pre-qualification stage with a series of non-invasive and low-pressure questions.
With this knowledge, you can now segment the lead into the right funnel, allocate them to the right sales rep, and be sure that they only receive the information targeted towards their specific needs.
No lead-scoring strategy – Knowing the priority of leads goes a long way to ensuring that time is never wasted on leads with a low percentage chance of converting to a deal.
Lead scoring uses past experience and other criteria such as the lead’s source to ‘rank’ the probability of a successful conversion. This allows sales reps to spend the necessary time on leads which have been ranked higher and more likely to convert to a deal.
Not understanding a lead’s needs – There’s no surer way of guaranteeing a loss of sales than through not understanding what your lead is really looking for and what problem they need to resolve.
Listen before you speak and when you do speak make sure that every question elicits an answer which makes your lead feel secure that ‘someone is finally listening’, and that you fully understand their needs.
Information overload – Bombarding your lead again and again with too many questions, at the wrong times, or offering the wrong information is a big no-no. One way to avoid this is with intelligent sales CRM software. A really good CRM will keep you reminded and up to date with all the information you need to ensure that all contacts with your lead are timely, and offer only the most relevant information.
Not keeping your promises – Saying you’re going to do something and then not doing it sends a really bad signal to your leads. A promise to follow up on a call or email, or provide the information requested in a timely manner should be treated with the utmost respect. CRM software can help you stay on top of all events, meetings, calls, and reminders, and more importantly, it demonstrates to your prospects that you, and your company, are trustworthy and reliable.
How much time is enough? – Allocating too much or too little time for a lead to convert can be a recipe for lost sales. Using experience, lead scoring, segmenting, and a process that allows you to dictate how much time to allocate to a lead, can go a long way towards making sure that your sales pipeline never suffers blockages. Teamgate CRM comes with the mechanisms to help you estimate sales turnaround times, and offers timely reminders as to when the lead needs to be contacted or removed from the pipeline.
People are the key – If customer sales reps, receptionists, first-contact personnel, or anyone else on the frontline of dealing with your leads and prospects is poorly trained it can reflect badly on the whole team and your profitability. The right CRM software can help you to constantly appraise staff performance and highlight areas where leads are getting lost in the pipeline, and react accordingly.
Sealing the cracks
Leads are getting lost, whether you know it or not. But you NEED to know it.
A smart sales CRM – armed with an array of smart technical tools, features, integrations, and automation – will help you to identify and permanently seal every single one of the cracks that are swallowing your valuable leads, and resulting in the loss of sales.
Also, constant reviews of how closely marketing and sales departments are aligned and committed to reducing lost leads are paramount to your sales success. There is rarely one reason why leads don’t convert. But, at least if you’re armed with the right knowledge and the right tools you can make sure that those cracks in your sales process, and their causes, don’t become the reason for your business crumbling to ruins.