Companies that have an established sales process record up to 28% higher revenue flow than those with no process in place. But even with a solid set of procedures, you might find yourself struggling with low lead conversion.

By Juan Pablo Gaviria

Your marketing may be bringing in an army of prospects that don’t close. Maybe you lose the momentum during the handover from marketing to sales. Or perhaps your salespeople lack the consistency required to secure a healthy conversion ratio.

Having gaps in your sales process is normal. Companies are constantly looking to improve their performance while trying to maintain a steady cost-per-lead indicator. But rather than spending additional funds on new hires, what can you do to optimize your sales processes?

Prioritize strategy

Process is the base for growth; it can be monitored, assessed, and improved. Keeping this in mind, companies need to realize that the key is in looking at any action that can be optimized. After all, even if you can improve the performance of particular procedures only by a small margin, it can contribute overall to a considerable increase in revenue without the need to add salespeople or leads.

Companies need to be strategic and define different stages clearly to set up monitoring and benchmarking mechanisms. What’s your website’s bounce rate? How many people subscribe to your newsletters? What happens after your prospects try out a free trial?

By having a data-driven focus, you should naturally move from quantity to quality. This tends to be accompanied by a switch towards inbound marketing. A common mistake companies make is believing that improving lead generation will solve all their problems – but what they don’t realize is that more sales don’t necessarily mean higher revenue. In fact, it’s conversion rate that should be your number one concern.

That’s why you should set up a comprehensive nurturing system, making sure you have the whole buying journey clearly defined and improve the constituent steps. For example, when catching the eyes of your prospects, make sure your calls-to-action are united and placed on the visible part of your website. Simply by not making the user scroll down, you can double your impressions.

Polish the handover process

Next, your focus should be on the lead handover from marketing to sales. To make the best of this, you need to clearly delegate responsibilities: Who answers the phone at different stages? Who is responsible for following up? And what is your internal system for information dissemination? It’s crucial that you empower your team with clear processes and implement robust sales enablement tools, be it a technology toolbox or a customer relationship management (CRM) platform.

But it doesn’t end there. You may be aware of the traditional discord between marketing and sales departments. Statistically, 70% of sales teams rate marketing-generated leads at only 3 out of 5 stars quality-wise. And added to that, 25% of sales teams say that leads handed over to them have “no knowledge about their company” before they make the first contact.

To mitigate this, you need a lead differentiation system. Not only can it help everyone identify the stage of each lead, it can also encourage a more personalized approach. While some companies tend to assign a percentage of the probability to buy as the main differentiator, a common strategy is to utilize the sense of temperature. Defining and segmenting leads into cold, warm, and hot guides salespeople to the most effective approach towards each.

Consider automating

Sales processes have become a science: Salespeople have to update data and fill in quotes while the level of sales suffers. But automation can change that: Scheduling follow-ups, setting up systematic tracking of lead engagement, and designing personalized messaging, can help you ensure that no opportunity is missed again.

Sales automation can lead to a 30% increase in deal closures, together with a 14% reduction in sales administration time: That’s some serious return-on-investment (ROI) for companies that invest in it. This is mainly because timing is a key concept in sales; reaching out at the right moment is a game changer. However, humans are not available 24/7, they might be busy, forget, or make errors. Automation, on the other hand, is tireless. It also gives you the chance to be more creative – from follow-ups triggered by actions to easy multichannel engagement, you can ensure that you constantly stay at the forefront of the minds of your prospects.

When evaluating the gaps in your sales process, chances are that you’ll discover many opportunities for improvement. Remember never to neglect the little things as together, they can have great impact. By fully understanding your operations, you can define what to optimize and automate, how to align goals and methodology between different teams, and ultimately – how to scale further.

Juan Pablo Gaviria, the CEO and co-founder of Follow Lead

Lead conversion stock photo by Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock