Lead Management: Digging Deeper Beyond The Surface Affecting Conversion Optimization
- Gary Viray
- 26 Jan 2018
The whole is greater than the sum of all its parts. Clearly, whenever we talk about conversion optimization or conversion per se, a lot of moving gears are involved that need equal attention in the conversion funnel. Conversion may mean many things for different businesses — it could be a sale of a product, a sign-up, an inquiry, a lead generated, or a sale made from a lead.
For the sake of clarity, let me just zoom you in on the lead generation and management aspect of conversion optimization for this article.
If you have been doing lead generation, you may have likely heard about the saying, “The money is in the list.” In my 14 years of doing digital marketing, this is probably one of the most lucrative endeavors you can get into that can give you good ROI. We call it “list building” back then, but it only refers to email list building.
Well, it is still true. “The money is in the list, err…leads” mantra still holds water even to this day. However, it is no longer limited within the context of email list building alone, but more on the wider category, lead generation. Case in point, there are now many ways to build a list or generate leads by capturing different relevant information of users such as emails, mobile phone numbers, social media IDs, and other contact details. You can use these details to re-market them with your value propositions and eventually, convert them.
Let me guide you on how you can pull off a good lead generation campaign or, better yet, an awesome conversion optimization thought sequence.
I. Prepare The Canvas To Answer All The Why’s Your Leads Ask
1. Identify your customer’s motivation
It is crucial that you do your diligent market research to understand the basic truth and insights about your target market. Understanding their aspirations and pain points — their motivations — before they even buy into your value proposition is tantamount to the success of your lead generation or conversion optimization.
Once you are able to identify your customer’s thought process, you can already align all the information your visitors are looking for or expect on your website or landing page. This way, you can establish a better connection with them and, eventually, lead to them to convert.
You need to understand 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.” However, this doesn’t stop from just knowing 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 will you map out your customer’s motivation?
The question is tricky because even if you go ask your customers directly, what you can simply juice out are motivations based on their conscious minds. What they’ll normally give you are based on their logical reasons more than anything else. For example, when you ask someone why they opted for a MacBook Pro instead of a Lenovo laptop, the answers you get are mostly because of the outstanding features of the MacBook Pro such touch bars, keyboards, ease of use, etc. When in fact, the real reason behind is that probably having a MacBook Pro gives you a better image/persona by belonging to a group of Apple users and you are able to say, “Once you go Mac, you can’t go back” or by being part of the elite group of developers who stick out their Macbooks with all those glorified conference stickers in a coffee shop or during informal meetups. Or, simply because you love the aesthetics and well-balanced design of the MacBook Pro.
Don’t get me wrong. Asking the motivation of your customers directly is not bad at all. In fact, it is a good starting point. However, we need to go deeper than just asking them, or understanding their behaviors.
- Use 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 maybe looking for a more connected and/or safer way of transacting online. You are somehow satisfying hypothetically some basic human needs particularly, safety and belonging needs. On the other hand, a part of your market, like those with family, may have the motivation to use your product because they needed to provide food on the table by sending money to their loved ones. Such need can also be under safety needs because they will feel secure knowing that their family are 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 Brands perfectly illustrates how power image make power brands just by using visual branding into the heart of their campaigns. Such 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?
- Dig Deeper Using Cultural Narratives and Stories
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.
Understanding these cultural narratives and using them to trigger customers’ soft spots can provide 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 a clear value proposition
If you are doing 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.
1. Why should your prospect click this PPC ad rather any other PPC ad?
2. Why should your prospect buy this product rather any other product?
3. Why should your prospect buy from you rather than any of your competitors?
4. 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 accelerators
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:
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.
- 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 bridges 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 Consumer 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.
- Abandonment Remarketing/Retargeting
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 a 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 setup), 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 would want to spend more time because they normally have a higher conversion rate.
4. Minimize, if not eliminate, frictions
There are many reasons why conversion does not happen. 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 a friction. Ah yes, you need to include those confusing copies as well.
It is imperative that superb usability must be a prerequisite when doing any lead generation campaign or conversion optimization. Do test well every aspect of your landing pages to include clarity of information and call to action.
II. What’s The Next Stage 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.
III. How Can Busy Marketers 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.
Answer: What you need is 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.
Here at Propelrr, we’ve 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 Time
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.
Every conversion optimization or lead generation campaign, be it a B2B or B2C in nature, deserves a cohesive planning by putting on top of your priority list the following:
- Customer Motivation
- Value Proposition
- Conversion Accelerators
- Minimization of Frictions
- Lead Management Process
- Mid-Funnel Mindfulness
- Leads Data Mining
- Brand Loyalty Programs
- Use of a Data Management Platform
Implement this list now and drive your digital marketing differently!