Customer Journey
Aug 9

5 Ways to Convert More Marketing Leads into Sales Opportunities

Nate Joens

Nate Joens

Co-founder, head of innovation

What would happen if you stopped generating new leads this month?

Would you tank? Or would you thrive?

Every sales and marketing team is obsessed with more traffic, more leads, more demos.

But what if instead you just focused on converting more of what's already in your pipeline?

A crazy thought I know, but hear me out. Most of us in sales and marketing have neglected our middle of funnel or existing database of leads. Some more than others (sound like you?).

But a lift by some nominal percentage from your raw leads to MQLs, or MQLs to SQLs would drastically change your sales and marketing's ROI across the board.

We've seen hundreds of teams do just that and reap the benefits of the leads they spent so much effort generating in the first place, converting more marketing leads into sales opportunities.

Here are 5 ways you can start giving some attention to your neglected leads too:

segment your leads in various ways.

Using lead pipeline management software (like HubSpot) to convert more marketing leads into sales opportunities

In order to run these playbooks and campaigns, you must first be able to segment your leads in various ways. Things like:

  • All leads created in the last 6 months with no sales communication activity
  • MQLs without any sales communication in the last 6 months
  • All leads who scheduled a demo but did not attend
  • And more

For the sake of our examples here, we're using the HubSpot Sales and Marketing suites.

The beauty in marrying the sales and marketing suites (and therefore teams) is not only visibility into the above lead segments, but also visibility into your pipeline.

At a bare minimum, your sales leadership should be using sales management software to do exactly this, in order to report on similar metrics specific to the sales team.

So now with your lead pipeline management software in place, let's dive into converting more of those leads into opportunities.

The land of lost (sales) opportunities

Back to our original thought experiment, what if you stopped generating new leads altogether this month?

Sales and marketing teams sometimes don't agree on much, but when tasked with "generating more revenue" they'll likely both immediately look towards adding more new leads to the top of the funnel.

land of lost opportunity.

But what if instead, you focused on the middle of funnel? You know, those forgotten about leads that you spent so much time and effort generating maybe last month or last year, that still aren't sales opportunities.

That's your land of lost opportunity and here are 5 ways you can start to unearth them.

1. Send an email and text message campaign to pre-MQL inbound leads who have never received sales communication

You got an inbound lead who downloaded some content, attended a webinar, or something else. That's awesome because you know that buyers interact with 13 pieces of content before making a decision.

But for one reason or another, your lead scoring or internal sales and marketing process didn't qualify this lead as sales-ready. So this lead never received any communication from sales.

Therefore, it may have now been months since they interacted with your content (which marketing worked so hard to get them to do), yet they've likely entirely forgotten about you, and all that on-site, brand recognition, high intent has faded with it.

But not all is lost, these leads liked your content once before, so get them to like and interact with it again through a content offer email and text message campaign, here's how:

Start by segmenting leads in your database or CRM who've come in inbound, but are not MQLs and have not received any sales communication

Start by segmenting leads in your database or CRM.

Queue up an email sequence in your CRM with a call to action asking for permission to send a new form of content

‍Queue up an email sequence in your CRM.

Queue up a simultaneous text message sequence in a tool like Structurely to piggyback off your email sequence with the same content call to action

Queue up a simultaneous text message sequence in a tool.

Define a script for your sales team, or with an AI Sales Assistant like Structurely to respond back to interested leads with the content offer

Define a script for your sales team, or with an AI Sales Assistant.

Congrats, you just revived some previously high intent, but not qualified leads and turned them into sales opportunities (all without adding more new leads to the top of the funnel). Let's keep going.

2. Qualify MQLs into SQLs

Whether you're a subscriber to the MQL vs. SQL methodologies or not, you likely have leads who are more or less qualified than each other.

It's necessary to find the qualified leads from the disqualified leads in order to free up your sales team to focus on those most likely to close.

The last thing you want is to have your team chase an unqualified lead for eternity.

Start by segmenting leads in your database or CRM who are MQLs and haven't received sales communication ever, or in the past 6 months

Start by segmenting leads in your database or CRM.

Send a text message and email campaign simultaneously offering content (not selling)

Not only does sending a text message and email campaign double your chances of response simply based on 2x the channels, but your leads will pick up on the human-like nature of your messaging if done right.

Reference the fact that you've texted and emailed your lead, like so, and provide a content offer call-to-action:

Email: “Hey Jim,
I saw that my colleague, Tyler, tried reaching out to you about Structurely a couple of months ago. But we didn’t manage to connect with you. I wanted to send you an email here, but I also will shoot you a text if that's easier too.
We recently produced a State of Conversational AI 2020 whitepaper, that includes actionable insights from thought leaders in your space.
I thought that you would find this useful.
Would you be interested to receive a copy? Happy to send the PDF over, if you are!”
Text: “Hey Jim, I sent you an email but wanted to follow up over text too. Did you get a chance to review the State of Conversational AI 2020 whitepaper yet, or did you want me to send you that link here to check out too?"

Playing email and text messages off one another gives an era of human nature most campaigns ignore, resulting in a higher response rate and converting more marketing leads into sales opportunities.

3. Re-convert demo/call no show's

So you got an MQL, qualified them to an SQL and now they've even scheduled a demo. You're well on your way to a closed-won right?

Until they no-show your demo or call and ghost you. It happens, people get busy, they re-prioritize over your solution or anything in between.

But that doesn't mean you should give up. It means you need to reassess, and start by reclassifying your lead from an SQL, back to an MQL (assuming they still meet that criteria) and get them to re-convert to a sales opportunity, here's how:

Start by segmenting leads in your database or CRM who've had a demo scheduled but did not attend (this may take some more data cleanliness than other campaigns

more data cleanliness than other campaigns.

Send a text message sequence to overcome the no-show and follow-up with a reschedule if still interested

Many leads will no-show demos or calls they signed up for themselves without any prior warning. They do this for a number of reasons, some innocent or unintentional, other times intentional.

You want to find that out upfront and only ask for a reschedule if the no-show was unintentional and they're still interested.

It's best to use text messaging for this approach because you've likely captured their phone number from your scheduling system (most ask for it as optional for this exact reason).

Here's how to reach out:

Text: “Hey Jim, we had a demo scheduled for today at 2pm but unfortunately we didn't connect. Is Structurely still a good fit for you now, or did you have some other priorities come up?"

If the lead responds that it was unintentional and they're still interested in your company, you can follow up with a simple text message offering some new times, or simply linking your automated scheduling link for them to book again.

(Bonus: AI Assistants like Structurely can interpret lead's responses to the first message in this playbook to determine interest/priority levels from your leads and follow up with your scheduling link automatically).

4. Revive and qualify unresponsive leads post-demo

Similar to handling demo and call no-shows, some leads will ghost you after they've actually had a demo with you.

The reasons are similar to the no-show, a lead's priorities may have shifted, your demo didn't land, or something else.

You need to get to the bottom of that reasoning so you can move the lead forward to closed-won or closed-lost. In the world of sales, either can be a win, here's how to do it:

Start by segmenting leads in your database or CRM who've attended a demo or call but have not replied in 3+ months

Start by segmenting leads in your database or CRM.

Send a text message and email sequence to gauge interest to buy or not buy

With these leads, you have a bit more control because you've talked to them, you likely know their pain points, goals, and priorities. But nonetheless, they've ghosted you.

We've found that offering a fun and simple "out" moves the needle with these leads and will give you a clear direction if they're heading towards closed-won or closed-lost, here's a successful email and text campaign we've sent:

Email: “Hey Jim,
It was great connecting on a call a few weeks back. It sounds like Structurely can help you out a number of different ways but I haven't heard back yet and I wanted to make sure I'm not dropping the ball.
Could you let me know where you want to head next?1. I want to sign up now (which you can do at accounts.structurely.com)
2. I'm interested in signing up, just need a week or two, follow up with me then
3. I've been abducted by aliens and I need you to call NASA to save me
Hope that last one at least gets a chuckle, but seriously let me know how I can help!"
Text: "Hey Jim, it was great to chat a few weeks back about how Structurely can help you out. I sent you an email to see where you wanted to head next but also wanted to reach out here. I wanted to make sure we weren't dropping the ball. Do you want me to bump that email back up in your inbox to get signed up or give you some time?"

A little pattern interruption with the "abducted by aliens" email can cut through the noise here, which is our primary goal. And once again, playing text messaging off of email feels human-like, doubles your chance of response, and gets you closer to converting your lead.

5. Reactivate past churned customers

We've all lost customers before, it's a part of the customer journey. But not all that is lost is lost forever.

These past customers should be reclassified as MQLs (or possibly even SQLs) post churn or cancellation. This segments them into the sales and marketing team's wheelhouse which is once again where they belong.

We've seen tremendous success in texting these leads because they've previously likely seen a lot of emails from your company as a former customer, text messaging can be a breath of fresh air. Here's how to get them (re) converted.

Start by segmenting leads in your database or CRM who were previously customers that have canceled and who haven't received communications in the last 6+ months

previously customers that have canceled.


Start by segmenting leads in your database or CRM who were previously customers that have canceled and who haven't received communications in the last 6+ months

Text: “Hey Jim, Scout with Structurely here! We’d love to have you back with us. We are currently offering [DISCOUNT/INCENTIVE] if you get started with us again. Interested?" GIF

This campaign, along with another 15 text message follow-ups over 3 months has resulted in a huge number of win-backs.

The winning combination of a discount to get them back and prove your worth, updates of what new features have been added since they've left and a GIF message for fun knocked response and interest rates out of the park.

Start converting more marketing leads to sales opportunities automatically with marketing and sales management software

Adding more and more leads to your pipeline means nothing when you've got a leaky bucket in the middle of your funnel.

Use the 5 tactics outlined in this article to plug that leak, to recap, they were:

  1. Send an email and text message campaign to pre-MQL inbound leads who have never received sales communication
  2. Qualify MQLs into SQLs
  3. Re-convert demo/call no show's
  4. Revive and qualify unresponsive leads post-demo
  5. Reactivate past churned customers

Seeing a lift in conversion from any or all of these campaigns can result in higher ROI across the entire customer journey.

And you can even automate it with automated lead conversion tools like Structurely. Every campaign listed here comes ready out of the box in Structurely over text message and email, ready for you to customize entirely to your specific company and liking.

So there's really no to neglect your existing leads any further. And maybe someday you'll even be so self-sufficient in sales and marketing that you'll never need to generate new leads again.

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Create your account, onboard with our team, hook up your lead sources and you're up and running. It's that easy.

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