Guest post by Dhruv Patel.
During the life of your product or service, you’ll realize that simply scaling top-of-funnel inquiries (in volume) won’t generate peak conversions over the long run. At some point, you will start attracting more of the leads that don’t intend to buy from you right away. Though this is normal, it leads to depreciating conversions and longer sales cycles, if not dealt with effectively.
The pandemic of 2020 amplified this phenomenon. Businesses and key decision makers are holding back from making purchase decisions due to lack of demand and concerns about a slow business recover. As per a Yelp report, almost 60% of businesses that stopped operating temporarily are now shutting down permanently.
This leaves the businesses that are opening back up with a smaller top-funnel, without much to invest in terms of marketing and growth to recover in 2021. And that is where conversion rate optimization will play a vital role.
What is Conversion Optimization?
Conversion optimization is the process of improving conversions at every stage of the sales process by testing new messaging, channels and triggers. Such fractional improvements to your processes add up, significantly impacting your conversions, and subsequently your bottom line.
What’s great about conversion optimization is that it compounds over a period of time — making your growth easier to sustain. However, it isn’t a one-time effort. The characteristics of the leads you generate two years from now will be different from what they are today.
As your audience shifts and distributes itself into different segments over time, old conversion triggers will slowly lose their efficacy. This makes conversion rate optimization a recurring need.
Here are six timeless strategies and tips that will enable you to optimize your conversions and stay current with changing customer needs and economic conditions.
Six Effective Tips To Increase Your B2B Sales Conversions
1. Segment your leads religiously.
Depending on the volume of leads you generate, it may be challenging to classify and segment every lead. Developing classification groups for your leads depends upon what information you collect to help you understand the leads you’re generating. If you’re not collecting enough data and barely engaging with them, segmentation will be difficult.
So, know who your leads are from the time they first engage with you at the top of your funnel. This can be done by collecting their data (forms, landing pages, product usage) and classifying them based on this data.
From there, create automation flows to segment each of these leads based on preset rules before your team decides to engage. This will enable you to be more accurate with lead qualification, and not miss out on potential conversions.
2. Develop strong positioning.
Classifying your leads into several different segments also enables you to develop copy and positioning specifically for individual use cases. Throughout your onboarding and nurturing flows, highlight your product’s most compelling strengths to each particular segment.
Frame concise and actionable content, comparisons and advantages on top of clear distinctions that matter more than features and tangible value.
It’s not the same as having a “Use Cases” page on your website; those typically focus on features, and aren’t granular enough to focus on individual needs. A strong positioning statement, like being the “The best and most affordable support tool for textile printers” goes a long way in helping your leads identify you as the preferred option among competing products.
3. Automate nurturing and follow-ups.
If you’re operating a lean sales team, you’ll realize you don’t have enough time to individually nurture every lead you generate. Persistence is key when it comes to follow-ups and nurturing, and having to do so manually, at scale, is very challenging. This can be a hurdle to conversions and create backlogs for your team, which isn’t good.
A huge part of these tasks can be delegated to platforms and tools that automate sales follow-ups, outreach and tracking. This will enable your team to focus on the non-scalable things, like talking to qualified leads and improving the processes to convert more leads.
Automation also enables you to send consistent and timely follow-ups without human intervention—which, if done right, can boost your reply rates and consequently, conversions and close rates. As per SalesHandy, salespeople who sent nine follow-ups saw an aggregate 54% increase in open rates and a 43% increase in response rates.
4. Templatize objection handling.
When faced with concerns, questions and objections from prospects, be prepared to respond with the right solutions. Similar to the above guidance on lead segmentation, objections should also be factored into every segment’s classification.
Customers can raise questions on pricing, policies, and features, along with comparisons with competing products. Your solutions to every objection needs to be geared towards removing your product from a position of disadvantage, and focusing on core product value.
The emphasis here should not be just to clear objections for the sale, but to do so in a way that reinforces their confidence in your product (and company). This helps them to make quick, informed purchase decisions, and you to improve conversions.
5. Incentivize referrals.
When selling to B2B customers, depending on the uniqueness and value of your product, referrals can be an incredibly effective way to generate high-intent leads. Product recommendations from peers tend to be more memorable, sticky, and trustworthy.
This means increasing referrals can be a great way to boost your conversions—as much as 3.74X more. Customer lifetime value (LTV) is another area impacted positively by referral conversions. Case studies have proven that referred customers generate higher LTV and profit margins.
However, asking your customers for referrals just because they found your product useful doesn’t really do much. By incentivizing both your customers and their peers who sign up, you’re effectively enabling your customers to be of value to their peers.
This makes them more likely to talk about you, since they get to offer an incentive from you while earning it themselves, increasing conversions coming in from referrals.
Be aware, however, that some enterprises, particularly in heavily regulated industries like healthcare and financial services, place tight limits on such incentives. Make sure you understand these and can accommodate these requirements; otherwise, don’t bother.
6. Deliver results earlier in the cycle.
Depending on the complexity and deal size for your product, your prospect’s decision making process can often be long and unpredictable.
B2B decision makers are looking to generate certain deliverables and results using your product. One of the reasons they might drop-off or churn out from your pipeline is because they aren’t convinced that your product will generate the promised outcomes.
By helping your sales prospects get better results while using your products earlier in the cycle—for example, through a trial or proof of concept—you’ll help them realize your core product value early on, and close them. Get your customer success team actively helping these prospects make the most of your product before they decide to churn and move on.
Demand in the midst of an economic downturn will remain slow for many firms. But B2B buyers are likely to among the first to recover, as businesses of all sizes are looking to get back to normal. This calls for a sharp focus on meeting your customers needs and building advocacy.
The key takeaways are to segment your prospects carefully by truly understanding their needs; proving value early on in the sales cycle; and reducing any friction that might slow the sale. These are some of the core principles of conversion optimization and will remain effective, even as your product and audience evolve over time
Dhruv Patel is an entrepreneur and co-founder of SalesHandy, a sales engagement platform that helps sales professionals book more meetings and close more deals. He is an empathetic marketer, people person, SaaS enthusiast, hustler, and growth hacker. Dhruv is passionate about identifying customer needs to then deliver on them, measuring success and delight. You can find him on LinkedIn or Twitter.