Inbound lead conversion is arguably the most important component of inbound marketing.
After all, it doesn’t matter how many leads you generate or how efficient your inbound marketing methodology is if you can’t actually convert leads into customers.
Inbound lead conversion is the game. It’s where action turns into revenue.
There are numerous features that factor into your inbound lead conversion rate — everything from web design and navigation to the checkout process.
But at the end of the day, implementing the right inbound lead conversion strategies is what’s most important.
In this guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at seven specific inbound lead conversion strategies to help you master this aspect of inbound marketing. That way, you’ll know what to focus on and which tactics are most effective for turning more leads into customers.
But before we jump in too deep, let’s answer a fundamental question.
What is inbound lead conversion?
There are a lot of different definitions, but on the most simple level an inbound lead conversion is whenever a lead completes a desired goal.
In most cases, it’s really that basic — the lead buys a product or service.
It should also be noted that an inbound lead conversion is the final step in the lead nurturing process where a lead has already followed a sequence of steps.
Here’s an example of what that process commonly looks like.
An inbound lead conversion may also have been formally educated on how a product works, engaged with a sales rep, and so on, and have decided to go ahead and make a purchase.
The exact path can vary, but the bottom line is that a lead has officially converted and chosen to buy a product.
To better understand it in a real-world context, here’s a quick example of how that would work with Chili Piper.
First, someone would visit the Chili Piper website where they learn the basics of how our product works and its core features.
They’re interested in learning more and decide to request a demo, where they click on this CTA.
From there, they land on this page.
After signing up, they spend some time learning about the details and how Chili Piper can help improve their business, where they ultimately decide to buy.
Boom. Inbound lead conversion complete.
Now that we have a better understanding of exactly what an inbound lead conversion is, let’s examine some practical strategies you can use to improve your lead conversion rates.
This is where things get tactical.
Improving your lead conversion is a matter of systematically making changes, then watching the KPIs trend upward.
The following are practical moves that you can start today.
For starters, it’s crucial to follow landing page best practices, as this is a necessary first-step for grabbing a visitor’s attention and establishing a base level of interest in your product.
If your landing pages fail to hit their mark, everything else in the lead generation process is going to be an uphill battle.
According to Crazy Egg, some best practices include:
It’s important to experiment with landing pages. For instance, you should try out different headlines and copy and test different landing page lengths to see what visitors are most responsive to.
The more data you gather, the better you’ll understand overall visitor behavior, and it’ll be easier to the necessary adjustments to optimize your landing pages.
The best way to go about this is to understand the basic principles of conversion rate optimization, and begin split testing different components of your pages.
With CRO data in hand, you can know exactly which headline, number of form fields, or CTA copy converts better.
A CTA is one of the most basic elements of a landing page. Inbound marketing company IMPACT states that it’s simply a statement that tells a visitor what action to perform.
But it’s also one of the most essential aspects of conversion rate optimization. Getting your CTAs right plays an instrumental role in encouraging leads to click to learn more about your products and ultimately buy.
Unfortunately, some brands treat CTAs as more of an afterthought and slap up generic copy like “Click Here” or “Buy Now.” But this isn’t something that should be overlooked.
Sharon Hurley Hall of OptinMonster offers some advice on crafting the perfect CTA. One of her main suggestions is to use specific action words.
You’ll also want to be sure to emphasize the value of your offer and reduce risk (e.g. get a free trial) to make leads feel more comfortable with buying.
Another big part of improving inbound lead conversion is prioritizing leads so you’ll know which ones need nurturing and which ones are ready to move to your sales team.
If someone signed up for your email newsletter, for example, they would likely be at a point where they need some nurturing and may not quite be ready to move on to sales.
However, if they requested a demo, they’ve clearly expressed interest in your product and are ready to move to sales.
One of the best ways to qualify leads and ensure you strike while the iron is hot is with lead scoring.
“Lead scoring is a way to qualify leads quantitatively,” explains Lindsay Kolowich of HubSpot. “Using this technique, leads are assigned a numerical value (or score) to determine where they fall on the scale from ‘interested’ to ‘ready for sale.’”
Here’s a simple example where you would want to prioritize “Lead A” over “Lead B” based on overall lead score and engagement.
This allows you to sort out leads more efficiently and categorize them by their level of commitment.
Fortunately, technology has made lead scoring easier than ever, with artificial intelligence (AI) being a real game-changer.
The Harvard Business Review’s article, “How AI Is Changing Sales,” specifically mentions that AI can be used to analyze multiple elements, like customer behavior, emails sent and social media postings to rank leads in the pipeline according to their odds of buying.
So this is something that can be incredibly helpful when leveraged correctly.
Segment, a customer data platform, integrated Chili Piper with their lead scoring system and improved their conversions by 61%.
That small change — funneling leads into the request demo form and qualifying those leads — resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in pipeline for Segment.
Once you’ve identified high-quality leads that are likely to buy, it’s vital that you direct them to the right sales rep who can engage with them and answer their questions — a practice known as lead distribution.
Seamless lead distribution ensures that you don’t squander opportunities and sales reps are able to quickly provide the information needed to solve major pain points, thus increasing their odds of buying.
For example, with Chili Piper, you can set up rules to qualify leads and route them to the right rep in real-time based on advanced round robin rules, territory assignments, account-based ownership and more.
Or if they’re not ready to speak with someone right away, leads can choose a convenient time for a quick call with a knowledgeable sales rep.
At that point, they’ll receive a confirmation along with the relevant details.
Timing is everything when it comes to inbound lead conversion. Wait too long and even the most qualified leads can get off the hook.
It’s called speed to lead, and it’s one of the most straightforward methods of improving inbound lead generation.
Fix your speed, and you can swiftly close exponentially more revenue. It’s all about the timing — fast and easily getting your prospects on the phone.
In a video called 3 EASY Steps to Boost Lead Conversion, sales expert Richard Robbins points out that 50 percent of the time the first one to respond will end up landing the lead.
Respond quickly is critical because it puts you in a position to connect with leads when they’re most receptive. So you need to be prompt when responding and minimize any inefficiencies that are getting in the way.
Ideally, this should be done within five minutes and within two hours at the absolute latest, writes John McTigue of Kuno Creative. It’s usually best to have an appropriate sales rep contact leads directly, but if that’s not feasible, there are some other ways to initiate contact and get the ball rolling to buy you some time where you can respond later.
Janet Choi, head of content at Clearbit, offers some ideas, such as:
It’s all about keeping the momentum going and keeping leads engaged.
Speed to lead is where Chili Piper’s value as a lead gen tool really comes into the spotlight.
Prospects who submit their information on your landing page can book a meeting instantly.
Check it out.
In some cases, you can even have a rep on the phone with the prospect within seconds of that prospect clicking the “submit” button.
This is what makes Chili Piper so hot.
Better speed to lead means a higher close rate.
And a higher close rate means more revenue.
In a video called How to Convert Inbound Leads into Sales, Ryan Shelley of SMA Marketing talks about a concept in inbound marketing called the value-added sales funnel, which involves a core focus on providing value to leads throughout all stages of the lead generation process.
Here’s a visual of what the value-added sales funnel looks like.
As the name implies, the goal here is to continually add value throughout the entire process — from the time a visitor lands on a site until inbound lead conversion.
There’s a lot that goes into this, but one of the key parts is having a conversation with leads, identifying their pain points and coming up with a personalized solution that’s tailored to their needs.
As Shelley put it, “people don’t want to be sold at, but they don’t mind being sold to.” That’s why it’s important to take the time to talk to prospects and create personalized interactions that are unique to each person.
Doing so allows you to quickly build rapport, address key concerns and show leads the full scope of benefits of buying your product. This brings us to our final inbound lead conversion strategy.
, Frank Belzer of Kurlan and Associates piggybacks off our previous point and mentions the importance of knowing when to slow down when selling.
Many times, companies shoot themselves in the foot by getting too aggressive and “going for the jugular” with their leads. They want to make a sale right then and there, so they push a product to the point that a lead becomes uncomfortable and backs away.
A better approach is to pump the brakes where you allow a lead to get to know your product and company and establish some integrity before going for the sale.
It requires patience and tact but can make a huge difference long-term.
To wrap up, here are some answers to frequently asked questions.
Achieving a high inbound lead conversion rate is key to getting the most from visitor traffic and for maximizing sales.
Leads can come from a nearly infinite number of channels, but some common lead generation examples include:
Be sure to check out one of our most popular resources, Inbound Lead Generation – The Ultimate Guide. It’s a one-stop resource for all you need to know about inbound lead gen.
“Inbound lead generation is creation of content and campaigns that bring in website visitors and converts them into leads,” explains Phil Vallender of Blend.
For instance, you might create an in-depth guide that answers pressing questions in your industry. In turn, this brings an ongoing stream of leads to your website.
An inbound lead is someone who has expressed interest in buying your product.
This involves developing marketing techniques that focus on creating quality content to attract targeted customers and capture their attention by providing them with value.
This refers to the specific tactics used to encourage leads to convert and become customers. Having a sound strategy is integral to boosting your inbound lead conversion rate.
There are multiple steps involved with the full inbound conversion funnel. All are important, but mastering inbound lead conversion is absolutely essential.
This is the final step where all of your previous efforts come together. It’s where you capitalize on the momentum you’ve gained and compel a lead to take action and buy.
There are numerous strategies you can utilize to increase conversions, but the ones outlined above are some of the most practical and incorporate proven tactics to maximize revenue.