The state of lead conversion in marketing and sales

Companies continue to struggle with establishing contact, qualifying, and effectively following up with the leads they spend so much time and money to generate, according to research “The State of Lead Conversion in Marketing and Sales by market research company Ascend2 and Verse, a provider of lead conversion platform.

Here are four key takeaways from the report:

  • Companies need more lead qualification data. The ability to collect enough qualifying data on leads is ranked a top challenge for successful lead conversion. Only 39% of businesses are using lead qualification criteria in their lead generation process.
  • Companies struggle to establish fast initial contact with leads. Research shows that 24/7 speed of response to a lead inquiry is critical for improved conversion. 41% of companies feel following up with leads quickly is a challenge, especially given that a significant number of leads come in after regular business hours.
  • Communication capabilities matter. Email and phone calls account for the majority of most companies’ follow-up communications with leads. Recent studies show a growing consumer preference for live 2-way text to start conversations with companies.
  • Companies are challenged to conduct effective follow up. 44% of respondents say sales staff is too busy to follow up, yet only 25% of businesses report using a lead conversion solution.

The report also found that many organizations are not communicating with prospects in the way they would like. While 89% of consumers prefer to communicate with businesses by text/SMS, only 6% of survey respondents said that text is one of their most-used channels for follow-up with leads. And the most common follow-up sequence is phone call, email, phone call.

“Today’s digital marketers continue to innovate in lead generation, with many adopting marketing automation software, conversational marketing apps, and other methods to improve targeting, engagement, and click-through rate. Yet, only 12% are currently very satisfied with their lead conversion abilities,” commented Todd Lebo, CEO and Executive Partner at Ascend2, in a news release announcing the report.

Ascend2 benchmarks the performance of marketing strategies, tactics and the technology that drives them. With a custom online questionnaire, this survey was fielded to a panel of 277 marketing and sales professionals from a variety of industries. The respondents’ role in their company included Owner/Partner/C-level executive (22%), VP/Director/Manager (48%) and non-management professional (30%). Company size ranged from more than 500 (40%) to 101-500 (39%) and fewer than 100 (21%).

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