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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

How Well Do You Convert Leads Into Sales?

Most of us have worked in a sales capacity; if not by title, then by need.  We’ve seen how difficult it is to uncover leads and how it’s even tougher to actually close on them.  We've found a study that documents the difficulty of lead discovery and quantifies how pitifully low conversion rates actually are.

A Broad and Objective Analysis

The study is from Implisit and was conducted in the business-to-business environment.  It offers more understanding of relative conversion-to-sales rates from various different lead-sources.  Based on input from nearly 500 US-based companies Implisit reports that:
Only 3.6% of leads from customer-referrals and employee-referrals convert to sales.  Imagine, 1,000 leads producing a paltry 36 closed sales!  However, 3.6% looks pretty hot when it's compared to conversion rates from other lead-sources.  Consider:

  • 1.6% for website leads
  • 1.5% for Facebook/Twitter/Social Media leads
  • 0.8% for advertising and marketing leads
  • 0.6% for trade show leads
  • 0.5% for webinar leads 

While discouraging, these closure rates probably aren’t a complete surprise. If you consider it further, the superiority of personal recommendations (referrals) shouldn't be a surprise at all.  We’ve previously cited research from Nielsen and other organizations to reinforce our belief in the power of personal communications versus institutional sources.  People simply trust other people!

There's No Hiding From the Numbers

Yes, Implisit gathered these numbers in a B-to-B environment. No doubt many consumer products enjoy higher close rates.  But even so if generating new sales weren’t so critical we might be tempted to ‘throw in the towel’ on the lot.  After all, the highest conversion rate is a measly 3.6%! 

Or, the Reality

The answer might just have to be one of generating a lot more leads - the most productive type of leads - those generated by customer and employee word of mouth.  Unfortunately, no matter how great your product or service, even the most loyal of customers usually don’t generate the level of word of mouth you deserve.  And strange as it seems, even those people whose paychecks are dependent on your company’s success (your employees) may not be of the mindset or have the total corporate picture needed to speak to their friends, neighbors, relatives or strangers about your brand.

Turning Customers (and Employees) Into Everyday Advocates

Positive word of mouth can be an incredibly powerful force in encouraging potential customer to consider and buy a brand, but it doesn’t easily happen without some facilitation.  Both customers and employees need a well-orchestrated word of mouth management program; one that provides them:

  • Motivation
  • Opportunity
  • Content
so they can effectively lobby for your brand.
Until such individuals are reminded of their connection to your brand they won’t be motivated to promote it.  This holds unless and until an incident or event occurs that provides them with an opportunity (and content) to share about your brand.  Unfortunately, most such opportunities are moments of failure; and the news that's disseminated about your brand is negative.
But we all have the chance to 'arm' our customers and employees with positive stories to tell; providing them both with opportunities and content.  And, the amazing truth?  It's all free!  Your everyday advocates are just waiting to be activated!
4:51 pm est          Comments

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Measurement, Management, Optimization
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