How to Improve Your Lead to Opportunity Conversion Rate

Lead to opportunity conversion rate is the percentage of leads that convert into opportunities and enter the pipeline. Nearly every marketer struggles with how to sufficiently optimize it. This article provides actionable ideas for optimizing lead to opportunity rate, helping you grow revenue at reasonable cost.

How to calculate lead to opportunity conversion rate

To calculate lead to opportunity conversion rate, divide the number of leads converted to opportunities by the total number of leads and then multiply that number by 100 to get the percentage. You can use the following formula: Lead to opportunity conversion rate = (leads converted into opportunities/total leads) x 100. For example, if you had 200 leads and 80 of these converted to opportunities, your lead to opportunity conversion rate would be: (80 / 200) * 100 = 40%

What is a good lead to opportunity conversion rate?

It varies depending on your industry, type of business, and your marketing strategy. The average B2B lead to opportunity conversion rate across different industries is 13%- 18%.

Start with the metrics

Your first step should be focus on knowing your metrics. Specifically, your lead to opportunity conversion rate over a 12-month period. This helps determine if a low rate has been consistent or is recent. If it’s the latter, narrow down the period when the dip started and see what could have led to this change. If it’s been consistent, you may need to run various experiments to determine the cause(s) along your conversion path. For example, look for the difference between high-performing and low-performing CTAs. Are there are steep drop-offs on certain pages, that could indicate friction with your forms, like the length or the order of the fields, or even the type of information requested. With so many potential causes, start with the metrics to lead you in the right direction.

Tactics to improve lead to opportunity conversion rates

Be crystal clear on why leads are coming to your website and laser focus on the urgent problem.

Start with the data you have on your leads: source, industry, company, employee size, pain points– any information that will help you build a strategy that aligns with you’re the needs of your leads. Ask yourself, why these leads are coming to your website in the first place. What is the underlying problem they are trying to solve? Then you can create an integrated sales and marketing follow-up strategy laser focused on helping them solve that problem. Too often follow up is generic or completely product centric. That never works. By laser focusing on the urgent problem, you’re more likely to establish a connection and convert them into an opportunity/customer. If you’re missing that information, work on obtaining it through forms and customer research.

Identify high-intent behaviors & use these to build effective lead scoring

How do you know when a lead is ready to make a purchase? What behaviors will the lead exhibit? Having these answers is key to differentiating between leads who are ready to make a purchase and those who aren’t.

A lead who only reads your company’s blog posts is likely not at the same purchase readiness as a lead who visits your pricing page. So, if you send an unqualified lead to the sales team, they will likely have a much harder time closing a sale. How do you avoid that? Team up with your sales team to determine what signals low-intent and high-intent behaviors. Specifying those behaviors allows marketers to know what follow-up actions to take.

If you’re having trouble aligning your sales and marketing teams on MQLs and SQLs, lead scoring will help.

Lead scoring works by attributing points to actions taken by leads (based on the high intent behaviors identified above) and helps marketers know where a lead falls in the funnel. It also helps sales reps prioritize leads and know which follow-up actions to take. Lead scoring ensures that both sales and marketing have a unified system for qualifying leads. And, of course, a well-qualified lead means that its more likely to convert into pipeline.

Implement behavior based nurturing automation

There are two reasons to use automation: it saves time, and it scales well. Let’s say a lead is sifting through testimonials on your website. That may indicate an interest in your product. With this in mind, why not automate a series of follow-up emails that bring the lead one step closer to a purchase? This could be an email focused on their challenge with the offer of a free tool where the prospect learns more about the magnitude of their problem. Emails based on high intent behavior perform much better than other most of the generic nurturing emails I’ve seen.  Here is a list of high intent behaviors that could benefit from automation. The lead:

    • Reviews your pricing page
    • Schedules a product demo
    • Signs up for a free trial/tool
    • Inquiries about product features through chat
    • Downloads a high-intent content offer

Don’t forget to personalize the emails as much as possible. Start by Including your prospect’s name and what asset they downloaded. Leverage as much social proof as you can. Never forget that social proof is the new word of mouth. The key takeaway here is that automated nurturing isn’t a one-and-done process. It calls for strategy, cross-team collaboration, and a whole lot of experimentation.

Retarget through PPC & digital based advertising

Retargeting is a great way to reach leads that have considered your business before but weren’t quite ready to make a purchase. When you retarget them, you can re-introduce compelling offers they may be interested in or present new ones that align better with their interests.

Define the lead conversion path/cadence model with sales and channel teams

Think of your lead conversion path as a trail of breadcrumbs guiding your leads to purchase. The path itself will include marketing and sales outreach with offers and CTAs to offer opportunities to convert. For example, high-intent behaviors will trigger automated emails, the right sales rep receives notification containing information on the lead, their activity, and a follow-up timeline. The rep will attempt to call the lead. If the lead does not act within a certain time frame, an automated, personalized email will be sent to the lead on behalf of the sales rep. Once you determine your lead conversion path, you need to determine your sales cadence. Having a systematic follow-up structure will help you determine when to engage with calls, follow-up emails, and supporting content, which will help minimize lapses in engagement. Keys to success include the following:

Establish communication with your leads as soon as they convert 

Prospects are always looking for reasons to talk themselves out of why they are interested in the first place. It’s human nature – all of us do it. Even a day’s delay can make them lose interest in your product causing them to seek out your competitor. I know a company that has a leads dying on the vine report that tells the CRO and CEO if a lead isn’t followed up in 15 minutes. I don’t know what the right follow-up time is right for your business. But odds are you’re not following up fast enough!

Define a Service Level Agreement (SLA)

To prevent missed opportunities from happening, define the SLAs which outline the follow-up agreement between sales and marketing teams to better align their lead conversion strategy. The SLA should include each team’s goals, initiatives, and accountability measures for a given time frame. This SLAs will require regular review and updates.

Improve how your sales team engages with a lead

Many organizations overlook the importance of planning what sales reps should say to prospects and how they say it. Those who understand the value of this process often struggle with how they can ensure that reps are covering all the bases and delivering a consistent experience. It’s easy to create a sales script. It’s hard to create an effective one. Scripted sales calls rarely generate a natural-sounding conversation that is flexible enough to speak to a customer’s unique pain points. Therefore, regular training that holds reps accountable for proving they can properly communicate based on real customer scenarios is key to success. Video tape the training (even if done over Zoom) and have reps learn how good (or bad) they are to speed improvements.