Are your paid search campaigns generating leads but not sales?
Are the lack of conversions got you questioning your investment’s worth?
If yes, then you’re at the right place!
In this blog, we will explore three important considerations if your lead generation campaigns aren’t performing the way they should.
Let’s dive into a little depth of these crucial points that you should bear in mind while thinking about your leads and the potential reasons they aren’t converting to sales.
1. The Type of Lead Conversion Matters
Not every lead is equal. Sounds quite obvious, right?
Well, some B2B companies still hold on to a very naive mentality that in order to be valid, all leads generated should be prepared to get placed in the sales pipeline instantly.
Or else the whole campaign is worth nothing.
In their mind, the process should look like this:
The visitor clicks the ad > visits the landing page > visitor takes the desired action, i.e., website conversion takes place > sales call is made > the deal is closed.
However, what we think is that such a linear process scenario can only possibly occur if a prospect has already made up their mind that they will purchase from your brand.
But in such cases, your sales team is not really “selling”; instead, they are only performing as dignified “order takers.”
Maybe that’s a little cruel, and in reality, things aren’t that severe.
But the harsh truth is that the conversion assets such as webinar signups, case studies, whitepapers, etc., will only result in an immediate sales opportunity if the person has already researched, compared, got a recommendation, spotted you at a trade fair, and so on.
Contemplate all the potential conversion points you have within a B2B pay-per-click advertising program. Some of these conversion points may include – signups for demo or webinars, lead forms, chat sessions, whitepapers, case studies, phone calls, industry reports, and much more.
Needless to say, organizations shouldn’t be expecting an immediate sales pipeline opportunity for all of these conversions.
No doubt, some of these conversions are certainly going to demonstrate a high level of willingness to purchase (phone call, lead form, etc.).
However, keep in mind that the majority of them won’t indicate instant readiness. You are perhaps expecting too much too fast in the process.
A quick tip: Proceed to the next step directly.
2. Not Knowing the Difference Between “Sales Qualified Lead” vs. “Marketing Qualified Lead”
Even though a huge difference exists between Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) and Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL), most often, teams fail to acknowledge this difference while reviewing their PPC campaign performance.
In simple words, with the sales qualified leads, there are high chances of them making a purchase decision shortly because of the following reasons:
- These leads understand the current situations.
- They are well aware that it must be changed.
- They are actively seeking options.
- They have the intention to make a decision.
On the other hand, an MQL is only looking at the moment. They might be just curious. Or perhaps just thinking.
It could be that they are currently in a very early stage of research and have no idea about things they don’t know.
While there can be endless relevant descriptions for them, there are two things that can be said for sure:
- The marketing qualified leads (MQLs) have no interest in being included in the sales pipeline.
- Your sales department will quickly get annoyed with the type of leads you deliver.
The difference between SQL and MQL links directly with what we discussed in the previous point that not every lead is equal.
It’s absolutely fine that they aren’t equal. In fact, that’s how they should be ideally!
Under no circumstances shall the sales qualified leads to be treated the same way as marketing qualified leads.
Nor should you expect all those leads to respond to a sales push in the same way.
a. Reflect Sales Qualified Lead vs. Marketing Qualified Lead in your reports
You should create your reporting to reflect SQLs versus MQLs.
b. Track your MQLs over time
Monitor all your MQLs over time and see how many of them ultimately mature and convert to sales.
However, beware, it might take some time, or it might be super quick.
c. Add your MQLs to a remarketing list
Based on the volume, you should add your marketing qualified leads to a remarketing list.
But you should design that remarketing campaign to offer value to your leads and not to strike them on the head with a quick sales pitch.
d. Adjust your Cost Per Lead goals
Depending on the type of leads – whether it is a Sales Qualified Lead or a Marketing Qualified Lead – your CPL goals should vary.
While we have no intention to tell you how to run your own business, if you are like most other people, you will most probably be eager to pay more for leads which are ready to go into your sales pipeline right away as compared to the ones that should only receive emails and newsletters for the moment.
e. Explore your own and your competitor’s marketing automation experience just the way a prospect would
The majority of PPC managers have very little to no insights into what their post website conversion experience looks like for a potential customer.
But you must understand it.
And for that, the best thing to do is go through your own and your competitor’s marketing automation experience.
3. Lack of Self-Qualification by the Prospective Lead
Or to phrase it better – “lack of opportunities for the prospective lead to self-qualify.”
While there can be any number of reasons, most often, budget is the key driver in ascertaining whether an individual is a qualified lead or not.
This usually occurs in:
- B2B Software & Technology: Having the budget of a small or medium-sized business but filling out the lead form for an Enterprise solution.
- Luxury Senior Living: Merely using the terms like “luxury” in your ad and landing page without including phrases such as “rents starting from $XYZ per month” won’t help the leads in self-qualifying themselves, and therefore, you might end up engaging with prospects who can’t afford it in the first place.
- Professional Services: Let’s assume that you own a financial planning firm that only works with estates valued above $5 million or more. Having a lack of clarity on that might bring in heaps of unqualified leads to you.
Here are some other reasons that might make a lead unqualified:
- Regulatory compliance challenges
- Unsuitable technology solutions (like in the case of B2B Software & Technology)
- What you are offering is different from what the leads thought you were offering.
- They are just unqualified – today. This does not mean one day their situation will change.
Audience targeting is the magic bullet that the PPC advertisers have been anticipating since forever, and that wipes out the need for any prospective customers to self-qualify themselves.
While we fully agree that the advanced audience targeting tools are a desirable addition to the PPC world, even then, at times, you will certainly acquire unqualified leads with your PPC programs.
For instance, housing walks a fine line regarding audience targeting options and ad approvals at times.
While your rental unit might be valued for the high-income earning population, there are laws (great laws, in fact) that strictly prohibit housing discrimination, and therefore, Google Ads, for instance, limits the ad targeting capabilities.
In the world of B2B, a lead from an enterprise organization does not inevitably imply an “enterprise-level budget.”
If you haven’t been a part of such an organization or worked with that kind of client yet, you may be astonished to know how minuscule budgets they can sometimes have.
If you have a very small-sized targeted audience, the ad platform might not display it, so you are compelled to discover new ways to expand your audience just to make your ads show up.
a. Leverage custom and identical audiences
In the PPC world, they’re your best friends.
b. Spread a wider net
You may face certain circumstances sometimes when you must spread a wider net to make sure you grab anything at all.
Keep in mind, if the lead is not qualified for an immediate sales opportunity, is that still the case for marketing?
Think about spreading that wide net at the top of your funnel and then follow up using a remarketing strategy in order to qualify that lead further.
c. Try to place yourself in your prospect’s shoes
Think like a customer and try to find out what additional information you would require (in the ad or landing page or CTA) to successfully determine if the potential solution presented before you “may” even be suitable for your needs.
Wrapping it Up
Being a PPC manager, it is not inevitably your responsibility to solve every single problem drafted in this blog (even more so if you work in a huge organization that has a separate marketing department).
But that does not set you free too.
You need to be in close communication with the team to grasp the entire end-to-end process from lead generation to closing the sale.
You will realize that having such insights at your disposal will help you design a better informed PPC strategy.
Work with your company’s stakeholders to clearly define the concept of Sales Qualified Lead versus Marketing Qualified Lead.
Then create your marketing campaigns around the foundation. It’ll completely change your way of doing business.
In the lead generation world, do not fall into the trap of equating marketing to sales and vice versa. In no world are these two same.
It is the job of marketing to organize sales to enable them to close the deal.
So we have done our part and now it’s time for you to implement it. Keep these few tips in your mind and create and run your campaigns accordingly.