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5 Best Practices to Convert Leads Using Sales Automation Software


Five tips to improve conversion with Sales automation software
Five tips to improve conversion with Sales automation software
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Best PracticesBuilding Pipeline
Published 07/19/23
6 minutes read

Research shows only 25% of leads are legitimate and should be passed to Sales. So, how do enterprises prevent Sales from contacting the wrong prospects?

Technology innovation has transformed lead generation with user-friendly websites, rich content marketing and social selling, but for most companies, the initial contact with prospects is still heavily reliant on old-school, traditional prospecting that takes up a lot of employee time.

How do you prevent your Sales team from contacting the wrong customer prospects? Prospects who are not interested, not decision-makers or simply individuals conducting their own market research or competitive analysis?

If only a quarter are truly qualified and in-market, how do you weed out the other 75% without burning expensive sales resources?

The answer lies in AI-powered Sales automation software that helps you prospect, follow up and accurately score your leads.

We know we should touch all leads. We know we should transfer the hot leads directly to Sales, educate the warm leads and get the cold leads into webinars and lead nurturing campaigns. We also know we should split the Sales team into Sales Development (qualifiers) and Account Executives (closers).

But how do we quickly drive more qualified leads into the hands of Sales?

I see a lot of companies trying to solve the problem with more spend on content marketing and increased frequency of drip campaigns, which increase the inbound lead flow but don’t necessarily boost lead quality.

To cope with increased volume, they hire more Sales Development Reps (SDRs) to qualify the leads and find the gems, but that drives up acquisition costs and doesn’t increase qualified sales opportunities as fast as expected. Why? Because it’s time-consuming and frustrating to get in touch with non-engaged prospects, and we often give up on good leads before we’re able to get the quality of lead engagement desired. Not only that, but it becomes an infinite arms race—it’s not a scalable solution.

With AI-Powered Sales Automation Software, There’s a Better Way

The advances in state-of-the-art SFA and marketing automation systems make it easy for Sales to respond quickly with the right content (on-message and with directed calls to action), but the problem is that it still costs time to respond. Time is a commodity that high-growth enterprises have in rare supply.

This is where automation comes in. Harnessing AI-powered Sales assistants equipped with Natural Language Processing for all those revenue-influencing conversations adds an unlimited boost to Sales teams’ initial lead qualification effort. AI automatically identifies who’s really interested, who needs more nurturing and, just as importantly, who’s simply not interested.

This allows Sales to focus their time engaging with prospects who are Conversation Qualified—meaning who have actually been engaged in a two-way interaction, validated for fit and confirmed their desire to be contacted.

This transformative approach overcomes traditional Sales challenges for companies of all sizes, but is particularly helpful for enterprises where the lead volume is far beyond what any human team can manage.

Conversica pioneered AI for Sales back in 2007. With the experience of processing more than one billion interactions, we’ve developed five best practices for significantly boosting the conversion rate of leads into Sales opportunities.

The 5 Best Practices to Convert Leads to Opportunities with Sales Automation Software

1. Treat your leads like real people
Buyers today are bombarded with automated email marketing from companies. Marketers are stuck in a paradigm to send email blast after email blast, hoping for a 1-3% click-through rate. Buyers perceive many of these emails as spam and specifically create throw-away email accounts to avoid clogging their corporate inbox with marketing. While content marketing and nurturing are both still important for education and building awareness, they simply can’t replicate the power of a two-way conversation tailored to the individual recipient when it comes to moving leads through the funnel. AI for Sales needs to interpret the context of the situation and use that information to generate messages that elicit a genuine response. For example, your AI-powered Sales assistant could contact a lead that visited a trade show booth to say, “I saw you stopped by our booth. Did you get all the information you needed? Would you like to speak with our Sales rep?” The timely, personalized outreach entices prospects to respond, enter a dialogue and ultimately end up with the right Salesperson.

2. Engage prospects in real-time
Imagine you’ve just spent a chunk of your marketing budget on Dreamforce. You generate a lot of Sales leads, but have a limited Sales staff to follow up with them in a personal and timely manner. Now what? Nearly 80% of prospects buy from the company that reaches out to them first. Any delay in follow-up means you’re losing revenue. AI for Sales can reach out to prospects in real-time with a personal, genuine and helpful message that not only elicits a response, but kicks off a back-and-forth dialog that moves prospects down the funnel on your behalf.

3. Don’t give up too early
Continuing with the Dreamforce follow-up example, not every opportunity lurking in the leads you generated is going to be ready at the same time. Sometimes the prospect’s timing is urgent, and sometimes they need a week or two to digest the information and pull in stakeholders. Sometimes it’s even months later when their purchase window for your solution opens. After the event, AI for Sales would autonomously reach out to prospects in real-time, then sets a natural cadence to follow up days, weeks and months later until the prospect either responds that they would like to discuss options, or says no thank you. 92% of Salespeople give up after the fourth contact attempt, but 80% of sales are made between the fifth and twelfth contact. So giving up too early leaves great prospects behind. We humans are conditioned to stop after “bugging” people a few times, but an AI-powered Sales assistant never gets tired and never gets overwhelmed, allowing you to capture the long-tail of leads without adding more qualifiers.

4. Eliminate the grunt work for your SDRs
Does your company struggle to hire and retain great SDRs? When you calculate the costs associated with this Sales group, it’s quite high, and the costs of hiring and training are exacerbated by high employee churn. What SDRs do you know who would be satisfied with that title their whole career? The leaders quickly get promoted to an Account Executive role or get hired away by other companies after you’ve trained them. The laggards get frustrated and opt out or get let go. The answer to this struggle is to let sales automation – AI for Sales – work on your leads to determine which are qualified and ready to speak with Sales and which can be returned to Marketing for lead nurturing. This method removes the frustrating and often-fruitless lead qualification workload from your SDRs and allows them to focus on target accounts and high-value prospects, resulting in higher SDR productivity and job satisfaction.

5. Prioritization is paramount
We all know prioritizing leads is critical to Sales productivity. With AI for Sales, you benefit from establishing a natural, two-way exchange that results in SDRs getting the useful information they need in order to prioritize follow-up. The prospects feel like they’re interacting with a real human and, in trying to be helpful, give out key information about their project, timing and process, when they would like to be contacted and their phone number. All of this rich information is automatically logged into the lead record in your CRM so the SDR can prioritize and have discovery information in hand to open the conversation.


Smooth Your Prospects’ Path from Marketing to Sales

Lead-to-opportunity conversion is one of the most critical aspects of scaling revenue. Whether or not you use sales automation software, the above five best practices for prospecting can make a huge difference to that funnel stage. But with Conversica’s AI for Sales, the process becomes fully automated, removing human error and capacity issues from the equation to radically improve predictability while reducing costs.

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