6-Step Plan to Convert Leads Into Sales Collecting leads is useless if you don't convert them into sales. Creating an infallible process of converting leads will give you the results you want.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
So, you and your team have been acing lead generation, and you've got leads. Now what?
Even with the highly saturated market, lead generation is the easy part. People will always have an entry-level of interest. People like knowing things. They'll give you their emails in exchange for that free guide or toolkit. That part is easy.
After lead generation comes the trickier part. How do you convert those leads? What's the magic ingredient to shifting from lead generation to conversion? There's a proven process for that, and it's not really magical. All it takes is effective consistency. Here are six fail-safe steps to converting your leads into customers:
1. Know your customers
Notice that I said effective consistency. "Know your customer" sounds basic, but you'll be surprised at how even established businesses can fumble with this intrinsic aspect of marketing. No matter how many times you email or send DMs, it won't be effective if you're not acting on the right information.
This is where lead qualification comes in. Learn the essentials about your lead to find out if they're qualified leads, ready for either more nurturing (marketing qualified leads) or the ask (sales qualified leads).
This is the keystone of lead conversion: Know your target market and the exact behaviors that identify them at every stage of your marketing. Otherwise, you're just throwing spaghetti at the wall, and with the opportunities to gather first-party data at your fingertips these days, there's no excuse for that.
To help you categorize your leads, consider these questions:
Where do your leads hang out?
Did you first touch base on social media, or are they engaged with your emails?
What are their pain points? What's the problem that prompted them to seek answers from your website or your content?
What annoys them about the service or product you offer?
What attracted them to your site or content in the first place?
What are the low-intent and high-intent behaviors for every stage of your marketing funnel? These are the signals your team can use to nudge your lead to conversion.
What motivates them to say "yes" to your offer?
Related: How to Create a Lead Magnet That Attracts Visitors and Converts Customers
2. Build your conversion path
Once you understand your lead base, build your conversion strategies to nurture and convert leads.
3. Build your reputation
Increase your clout using as many means as possible:
Get influencer posts
Create high-value content, such as blogs and videos, and promote them on your social media.
These content types are also key to your leads' qualifying behaviors. If they look at your testimonials, that means they're interested. Match and automate your nurturing content and triggers to your leads' personas and behaviors.
You have content that matches each persona's needs for your offer: why they want to buy, how they'll apply or use your product or service, and what's at stake if they don't opt-in
You have follow-ups triggered by high-intent behavior, e.g., looking at your pricing page, signing up for a demo, chatbot engagement, etc.
Related: 5 Key Tips to Improve Conversion Rates
4. Follow up fast and consistently
This is where automation shines, because it means you get to that lead within five minutes, and you can immediately proceed to qualify them for marketing or sales.
5. Nurture with email and retarget with ads
Email, SMS or DMs (if your leads are on social media) work great because of personalization. You call your lead by their name. You know what they want. You can (and should) automate your messages according to the information you collected about them and behavior triggers. Every message can deliver content that hooks your lead's interest and nudges them along the conversion path.
Emails also help you gather more data. What gets them to open and click? You can then use this data to nurture and retarget your leads. Through ads, you can requalify even those leads who have gone cold.
All the above elements combine into a system you can use for every lead: information gathering and qualification, then nurturing and follow-ups. Once you and your team are armed with this workflow, you will see how much time it will save you while allowing you to take care of every lead.
6. Make opt-ins and purchases easy
Take information or do lead qualification elsewhere, and minimize the friction on actual sign-ups and opt-ins.
When you ask leads to give you their emails, do NOT ask them questions, making them pause and think. It's amazing how much this happens. I've seen sign-up forms with a bunch of questions instead of one field. Your only task is to collect your lead's email and send them what you promised in return. Minimize form fields. Go for one-click sign-ups and sign-ins as much as possible. Simplify your checkout and payment process.
Test and experiment with everything in your conversion path. Sure, it's nice to automate your system, but your system is in place to save you and your sales and marketing teams time as you effectively communicate with your leads. It's not there so you can set it and forget it.
It's communication, and there's always room to fine-tune and update your communication. Make sure you don't miss timely, relevant messaging opportunities. Check whether this or that is working well. See if changing things up might work even better.
So, what is the infallible process of converting leads? It's simple. Take care of your leads from the beginning all the way to the resells and the next upsells. Get to know them, nurture them, make it easy for them to say "yes" to you, and communicate well.