Inbound & Digital Marketing Blog

Marketing Automation: How Marketing Can Convert More Leads to Sales

November 9, 2011, Clarke Bishop

Get prospects into the funnel, work the leads, and make sales. Right?

If you're using Inbound Marketing to fill your funnel, you already know it's easy to get lots of people to your website. And, if you have good opt-in offers, you already know how to turn your visitors into leads. So, why aren't your sales and profits skyrocketing?

The Problem: Some "leads" aren't really prospects


Let's say you are a tax attorney -- You help people resolve their tax problems.

There are a lot of people with tax problems -- Especially in today's economy. And, a lot of these people are doing web searches for help. If you provide a useful opt-in offer, they'll jump on it.

Now you've got a funnel full of people, but many of them aren't qualified. They don't have any money (That may be how they came to have tax problems in the first place). Or, they only have a small tax problem -- It's not worth involving a tax attorney. Worse still, they don't have tax problems at all, but are just curious or bored.

You know the real customers are in there somewhere. So, what do you do? Hire a bunch of salespeople to start contacting your leads.

Now you've got a bunch of expensive, frustrated salespeople. They can't reach any of the leads, and when they finally do talk to someone, they aren't qualified. Even the leads that do seem to be qualified suddenly disappear and won't respond.

For some situations, you might be able to tune up your inbound marketing to reduce the problem. You could discover the keywords that only qualified buyers use, then adjust your AdWords, messages, and landing pages to only get the good leads. However, many times, there just isn't enough information in keywords to let you find the good leads. Everyone uses too many of the same search terms.

Marketing Automation

There's another answer -- Marketing automation. Separate the marketing funnel from the sales funnel, and protect your salespeople from lousy leads. It's marketing's job to filter and qualify leads and only send reasonably good prospects to sales.

Here's what you do:

  1. Keep filling the marketing funnel with inbound marketing. Just don't immediately pass new leads to sales.
  2. Send email messages to your marketing leads. Are they clicking your links and coming back to your site? If not, they aren't qualified.
  3. Add tracking analytics throughout your site to detect when a lead visits a buying indicator page. If you setup the analytics well, you'll discover that visits to a few of your pages indicate buying intent. If they're visiting these pages, pass them on to sales!
  4. Monitor social media sites like Twitter to see if your leads are mentioning relevant problems and asking for help.
  5. Create middle and lower funnel content and landing pages. Leads who have a vague idea of their problem search with general keywords. They aren't qualified. Good leads who are closer to buying will respond to bottom of the funnel offers.
  6. Use lead scoring to segment your list and know when they're ready to buy. Send messages to your leads based on where they are in the funnel to further qualify their buying interest.

With good leads, your salespeople can focus on building trust and resolving concerns. Your marketing automation platform can qualify and warm your leads.

It used to be that only the largest online companies could afford the technology required to implement marketing automation. Thanks to companies like Hubspot, the tools you need have become less expensive and are now appropriate for small businesses.


  • Don't waste money and destroy the morale of your salespeople by sending them poor leads.
  • If you're a business owner, stop wasting your time on poor leads.
  • Use marketing automation to generate warm, qualified leads.

Image Credit: M Glasgow

Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing, Marketing Automation

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