Conversion Optimization 6 min read
Lead Management: Looking Beyond the Surface to Discover What is Affecting Your Conversion Optimization Efforts
- Gary Viray
- 11 Jan 2022 15 min read
2022 is here, and with it comes greater importance put on other factors that impact your conversion optimization efforts, like lead management.
The value of the list – err, lead
If you have been doing lead generation, you may have likely heard the saying, “the money is in the list.” Which is an apt saying, if you ask me. Because in my more than 14 years of growing a digital marketing agency, this is probably one of the most lucrative endeavors you can get into and boost your ROI.
Though we used to call it “list building” (a term that only referred to an email list) the saying is still true until now. “The money is in the list,” or in this case, the lead mantra still holds a lot of water. The only thing that’s changed in today’s modern practice is that it’s no longer limited within the context of email list building alone.
It now falls under a broader category such as lead generation and management and this is primarily because there are now many ways you can generate leads. And you can now also do it in such a way that captures different relevant information (eg. email addresses, mobile numbers, etc.) about your users.
This information, once obtained, you can then use to re-market to your audiences (with your value propositions) and, eventually, convert them.
Curious to learn how exactly you can pull that off? Then allow me to guide you towards conducting a better lead generation and lead management campaign. Or, better yet, develop an awesome conversion optimization thought sequence.
Preparing your canvas to answer all your leads’ ‘why’s
You can’t expect to win a battle without proper preparation. In the case of lead management and overall conversion optimization, the battle you’ll face are the potential objections and/or fears of your customers.
Below are a few steps you can prepare yourself and your campaigns to masterfully overcome these.
- Identify your customer’s motivations.
- Have and express a clear value proposition.
- Provide conversion-accelerating content.
- Minimize, if not eliminate, any and all friction.
1. Identify your customer’s motivations.
It’s crucial that you do diligent market research to understand the basic truth and insights about your target market. Understanding their aspirations, motivations, and pain points is paramount to successful lead generation efforts and, subsequently, buying into your value proposition.
Once you are able to identify your customer’s thought process, you can already align all the information data you have with what your visitors are expecting from your website and pages. This way, you can establish a better connection with them and, eventually, convert them.
Note, however, that you must accept that customer motivation is beyond your control. Thus, it is important that you work your way into their minds based on what drives them to click your ad, read your web pages, choose your product/service, and buy/sign-up for you.
There’s no workaround on this one. Do your job to “know your market” and don’t stop at information like their demographics, lifestyle, customer behavior, etc. Understanding your customers’ motivation drives home the punt for you to win your potential client’s attention.
So, how can you map out customer motivation?
Let’s have an example, because that question is tricky as customers often won’t answer you honestly, even if you ask them directly. Often, what you squeeze out from them are motivations based on their conscious minds and veneered responses based on logical reasoning.
For example we’re looking at a person who purchased a MacBook Pro instead of a Lenovo.
Once you ask the person who purchased the former his reasons for his choice, you might get practical answers like “outstanding features” when, in fact, it’s really rooted in something else. In that, the real reason could be the “status” presented by a MacBook Pro. Or the yearning to belong to a group of Apple users that project an “elite” persona for a developer. Or, it could even be simply because that the user loves its aesthetics and well-balanced design.
Don’t get me wrong. Asking about the motivation of your customers directly is not bad at all. In fact, it is a good starting point. However, we need to go beyond asking them to truly understand their behaviors.
Here are a few more things you can consider in seeking to uncover your customers’ true motivations:
- Refer to Abbraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
Studies show that most of our behaviors are driven by our feelings and instincts, the subconscious and unconscious. This brings to surface the need to go back to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
Looking at the different human needs above, what specific needs are you trying to fulfill for your potential customers with your product or services?
Let’s have an example below to demonstrate how to map out your customer’s motivation.
Let’s say your business is about serving the unbanked, particularly empowering them to transact with merchants, to send money, or to buy online without the need to have a bank account or a credit card.
You may have identified that students or millennials looking for a more connected and/or safer way of transacting online. You are somehow hypothetically satisfying some basic human need. In this particular example, it’s safety and security needs.
Another example: Let’s say on the other hand a part of your market (like those with families) may be motivated to use your product because they needed to provide food on the table and sending money to their loved ones. Such a need can also be under safety and security, as they will feel secure knowing that their family is properly provided for on time. Again, it is a basic human need. You need to understand further though that you must satisfy at least one of the basic human needs of your market because without doing it so, you cannot go up a higher notch to address the higher needs — self-actualization. Brand loyalty begins when such needs are properly addressed/tapped.
Global cult brands out there such as Amazon, Apple, and other, who by the way, are working consistently on their marketing efforts based on human needs and customer behavior data. They know what they are doing understanding the psychology behind their target market’s basic and higher needs.
Now, since we’ve broken down the motivation of your customer into basic and higher needs according to Maslow’s, you can now come up with varying marketing campaigns with targeted content based on the psychology behind what drives unbanked people to use your products.
- Understand archetype imagery.
Powerful imagery influences how people behave. Cult Branding suggests that a power image can make power brands just by using visual branding into the heart of their campaigns. Such a concept is popularized by Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology.
Using powerful imagery that jolts human subconscious can drive people to act or behave either to be endeared, repelled or alienated by your brand.
Going back to my example about the product serving the unbanked, what powerful imagery would you craft to trigger your target market and get them to become your brand advocates?
- Use cultural narratives and contexts
Cultural stories are basically drawn out of the collective experience of a group or community of our target market that they are into. It can represent their aspirations or hopes and even their struggles. It can also be the unspoken story that holds them together which can be filled with tension or common understanding. Turn these stories as your insights.
Understanding these cultural narratives and using them to trigger customers’ soft spots can provide a great advantage to your brand. It can motivate people to act. If I am going to use again my example about the brand that targets the unbanked, what do you think is a good story to tell in order for them to relate with the brand? How can they be heroes of the stories? Think. As such, it brings out the fact about the significance of the insights of the locals and those who have lived long enough with the community of the brand’s target market because they too know their cultural stories.
2. Have and express a clear value proposition.
If you’re doing a B2B or B2C lead generation campaign, you may have noticed already that quality leads are somehow more difficult to generate and even harder to manage because there are a lot of attention-grabbers these days that are competing against your brand. More than that, leads are now more informed than ever before.
As such, you need to understand that creating a successful value chain around your lead to mapping out the sales funnel requires a good strategy and a well thought-out lead management implementation. Natch, on top of nuts and bolts, a clear value proposition is a core prerequisite.
Let me share with you the Value Proposition Spectrum from MECLabs that you can use to identify your brand’s value proposition when you start your lead generation campaign.
Looking at the chart below, you’ll notice that there are four major layers of value proposition involved: Primary, Prospect, Product, and Process-levels. These levels provide varying guide questions that can help you in the process of identifying your value proposition:
- Why should your prospect click this PPC ad rather any other PPC ad?
- Why should your prospect buy this product rather than any other product?
- Why should your prospect buy from you rather than any of your competitors?
- Why should your ideal prospect buy from you rather than any of your competitors?
Evidently, all of the above questions start with why. Go figure your why’s then.
3. Provide conversion-accelerating content
Conversion accelerators are a means to speed up the sales process where people are incentivized to jump into the buying stage faster. Key terms like “limited offer,” “within 5 hours or 24 hours,” “now,” “only x slots remaining,” “free,” etc. are common words that experienced direct copywriters often use too well. Time and time again, this kind of psychological construct using word accelerators has been very effective to elicit quick action.
Conversion accelerators have been here way too long even before Internet changed our way of buying and selling things. They just simply work. These days you can use a plethora of ways on how to do it as follows:
- Eye-catching and compelling video content
Use of videos to further describe your products and services, especially if it involves complex processes. Video is, by far, one of the most effective ways of informing your visitors about you and what you offer; thus, making them feel engaged and will likely stick around long enough to convert.
- Verifiable ratings and reviews
Third-party ratings or reviews is a way of influencing buys and sign-ups. Instead of biting your offer right away, savvy customers bridge the curiosity gap by themselves.
They research about you, check you out on social media, and read up reviews in the hopes of validating your brand, your products, and your services. They adapt, respond, and stake out decisions to find out if you are the best choice they have.
If they do find you to be the most fitting choice, there’s little chance of them bailing out of your offer.
- Speedy customer service and feedback
You probably know this too well. Customers demand forthright, accurate, and relevant answers to their questions — served up as painlessly as possible.
How to register, how to order, how to call you — name it! We’ve all heard those repetitive questions from different customers (sometimes, same dang questions from same dang people). If not addressed the way they want it, you better prepare for the worst. (Oh, didn’t mean to hit you right in the head, Tide.)
As consumers become intolerant of speed and quality, setting up your live chat, ensuring speedy consumer feedback on social media, and keeping their friction to customer service low to get their issues resolved are a must.
- Remarketing and/or retargeting leads that abandon
I’m not here to deliver the bad news. I know you have the best foot forward at the first step of your checkout page. But (cover your ears if you’re tired of hearing this!) a lot of drop-offs happen at the checkout funnel.
There could be a lot of reasons for this frustrating scenario. It could be their Internet connection or maybe their mobile data is acting like a diva yet again; they suddenly need to walk their dog before they hit the “Download Now” or their credit card line gets cut. Frustrating. Very.
If you’ll look more closely at your analytics (which I assume you’ve already set up), you can group this set of users together, categorize them if you want as custom audience, and simply remarket/retarget them through paid ads such Adwords, Facebook, Instagram, and other channels you deem effective for your brand. You can also push content to convince or help them further on their decision on why you are the best buy or option for them, directly or indirectly.
Do note that this is the set of visitors you’ll probably want to spend more time because they normally have a higher conversion rate.
4. Minimize, if not eliminate, any and all friction.
There are many reasons why increasing your targeted conversion is difficult. More often than not, these are due to frictions that prolong or hinder the sales process to complete. A non-functioning sign-up form, checkout button, difficult requirement to obtain or any UI that interferes with users to finish an action or transaction in your website is categorically under friction. Ah yes, you need to include those confusing copies as well.
It is imperative that superb user experience design must be a prerequisite when doing any lead generation campaign or conversion optimization. Improve your CRO program by testing every aspect of your landing pages. Make sure to include clarity of information and call to action.
What do you do after a user becomes a lead?
1. Establish your lead management process
So, the next stage for you to look at is to have a good lead management platform and process that can help ensure that any potential buyer will ultimately result in sale.
In most cases, during our consultation with clients who are into lead generation, the classic battle between the marketing and sales units has always been a nagging concern. Salespeople say, “The leads are junks” while the marketing team would state: “We’ve given you quality leads but you are not good or quick enough to convert them.” As friction heats up between these two camps, the company is obviously at the losing end.
So if I may ask you, what usually happens to the leads generated from your marketing campaigns? Are they pursued and nurtured? Or they’re ignored and forgotten?
Converting leads into sales is crucial to business success. Your company spends a great deal of money and resources on marketing activities — all that effort will just go to waste if you keep losing leads along the conversion funnel. That can definitely hurt your ROI. Do you have a process in place for managing leads effectively? If not, you’re missing out on a lot of conversion opportunities.
When done properly, lead management makes the sales process more effective and efficient, resulting in better conversions. Silo your leads into different stages. Weed out low-quality leads and let your sales team focus on the sales-qualified leads.
Essentially, prioritize prospects that will bring more value to the business while preparing the next set of customers and helping them move further down the buying cycle.
2. Mind the mid-funnel
Another classic case we get from clients is that they are only aware of the beginning and end of the conversion funnel. Meaning, they know what is the quantity of leads they’ve generated and how many of these leads actually converted to a sale. But more often than not, they are not aware or forget what happens in between — the mid-funnel.
The mid-funnel is where all the magic of evaluation, nurturing, engagement, and persuasion of the generated leads happens. As such, when the right time comes, the salespeople do what they have to do: sell.
There are many ways on how to make a killing here. Depending on your industry or market, a variety of marketing campaigns should be applied such as content marketing, email/SMS/social media marketing, and even on-ground event activation can do the job.
Of course, what works best is content that connects, educates, informs, inspires, nurtures, and relates to your captured market.
3. Mine your leads’ data
Data mining is widely being used by highly skilled data scientists to map out trends and predict patterns and scenarios. It didn’t take long for businesses to realize that it also has the potential to make better strategy and business decisions.
Looking at your leads data helps you find out which of your marketing tactics effectively capture high-quality leads, so you can be strategic on how much to invest in each strategy. You can also monitor your leads’ interactions with your company and analyze how leads are converted into customers.
Analyzing your leads’ behavior such as their profile, content consumption, and engagement can reveal a lot of low-hanging fruits that are useful in your customer relationship building efforts.
Remember that, not all leads are created equal, and so personalization and even individualization of marketing campaigns for your leads is important. Mining your data will uncover that different stages of the conversion funnel your leads are currently into.
As the saying goes, “Fail to manage your finances, and you’ll soon be broke. Fail to manage your time, and your career, health, and relationships will suffer. Fail to analyze your leads data, and you’ll see your conversion rate goes down.”
4. Go for the home run: Brand loyalty campaigns
Every marketer’s dream is to grow a community of brand advocates and loyal customers because they amplify a brand’s promise, increase customer lifetime value (CLV), and lower the need for more marketing campaigns. Yes, it lowers marketing spend!
Having mentioned about brand loyalty, it is imperative that loyalty program should be thought of even from the very start. In the See, Think, Do, and Care framework of Avinash Kaushik, if I may quote: “The Care audience intent cluster is the one I love the most. It is the largest addressable qualified audience that forms our extra-loyal customers. Not just people who’ve purchased once, but multiple times. Those that have renewed their contract. Those that have long-term revenue resulting engagements with us.” He completely captured the significance of this segment of leads that we have. Hands down.
Get the drift already?
No business can survive without repeat customers, without brand advocates. Truth.
These people amplify a brand’s promise, increase CLV, and lower the need for more marketing campaigns. Business cannot keep on acquiring new sets of customers every day of their pretentiously happy lives.
So, how do you keep your business out of that segment? How do you provide additional value to keep your customers within your walls?
Some brands offer points to its frequent flyers, free stay for its frequent customers, free dessert for its regular clients — even if it means paying an annual or membership fee of $$! However, strategic companies are starting to look beyond these marketing stunts cloaked as “rewards” to delight and retain customer loyalty — more than points, more than a marketing stunt, more than “rewards.”
Brands are starting to anchor loyalty programs to solving customers’ problems and soothing their pain points, be it building a mobile app to ease usability or additional services that are integrated into the customer’s life.
How can you implement lead management?
You might be thinking: “I’d really like to have a system for managing leads, but it sounds like a lot of work!”
Understandably so, you have your plate full already. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a CMO or a marketing professional, it can be very daunting to track everything, with all the meetings you have to attend, campaigns you have to plan and execute, and other things that keep your schedule hectic.
The benefits of an effective data management platform (DMP)
A data management platform can be leveraged to help you increase your ROI from the leads you’ve generated from your marketing activities. It can enable you to execute a wide range of marketing actions — from launching digital campaigns, lead generation, and customer engagement to analytics. It also houses all data culled from digital channels and campaigns that marketers need to run successful inbound marketing campaigns.
As such, data are then organized such that they can be retrieved easily and analyzed in real time. Just beware of those fat DMPs out there where many of its modules are not needed in your campaigns.
Here are varied ways that a DMP can help you succeed in your marketing and sales processes:
- Solid core data integration.
All the data you need can be found on a single platform, ready for tracking and analyzing anytime with real-time reports. Unify, explore, and understand the data that drive your business.
As a provider of full digital marketing services in the Philippines, we at Propelrr have built our own proprietary Propelrr Platform that offers a myriad of features such as the Google Analytics Dashboard, Google Adwords Dashboard, and all other dashboards for your online channels. It can be customized to fit your company’s needs.
- Simplified process.
It minimizes repetitive tasks involved in lead management, so you can focus on developing marketing strategies while preventing leads from being lost or ignored.
One of our use cases is that we’ve used our platform to run a successful recruitment campaign for a BPO company that made it easy to filter qualified job applicants. The conversion rate catapulted from 1% to a whopping 19% that resulted to a huge savings and better customer lifetime value (CLV).
- Faster lead response times.
According to InsideSales.com, research shows that the company that responds first to a consumer gets up to 50% of sales.
It really does help if you can even set up your own Facebook Messenger chatbot that instantly replies to inquiries from consumers using a platform that has all easy-to-use features allowing automation for various marketing activities, saving you time when running multiple campaigns.
- Targeted and personalized marketing activities.
Using a data management platform, you can create relevant campaigns for your audience to increase the chances of conversion.
The Propelrr Platform also has SMS marketing capability that can help you widen your customer base by sending them personalized text messages.
Conversion optimization has a very lengthy to-do list. Often, the items on this list are time-consuming, and require much effort, so it’s important to work smart rather than hard. In the case of lead generation and management, remember that be it for B2B or B2C, you should have a cohesive plan and put this things on your top priority:
- The customer, their experience, and your value proposition. Specifically, drill into their motivations, fears, or objections they might have. Because in order to quickly and seamlessly lead them down your funnel, you must be able to connect these masterfully with your vale propositions. Topping it all off should be their customer journey experience and how frictionless it is; the less friction, the more likely they will convert.
- Plan for continuity and retention. Leads won’t convert the hour, minute, or second you acquire them. Often, they will take the long route leading to the conversion goal, so it helps to continuously mind your mid-funnel, and gathering data on how you can further nudge them to move downwards. You can explore strategies such as brand loyalty or other customer relationship management programs here.
- Integrating data management into your lead management. With the integration of a data management platform, you can optimize many aspects of your lead management endeavors. Again, circling back to our point on working smart, DMPs will be critical in helping you convert more leads at a faster pace; allowing you to leave more time and room to capture and convert the next lead.
Still got a few knots that help loosening in terms of your lead management processes? Sound off in the comments. I’d be happy to answer them. You can also get in direct contact with us, in case you had a few more concerns about conversion optimization you’d like to seek our help with.
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