“I need more leads.”
What small business hasn’t said this? Honestly, I’ve worked with enough small businesses that the meaning of this sentence has nearly worn off. In fact, I said something similar recently and I had to call myself out on it.
“I need more leads” is the second lead nurture myth. Because, no, you don’t.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I believe that nurturing your prospects is the single biggest thing you can do for your business without spending an additional cent.
Nurture is all about doing more with what you already have. There are plenty of ways to generate leads, and I know that there are various sophisticated methods for telling you the cost of each acquisition. But rarely do I see people focusing on the number of leads that they aren’t capturing. Or those that they have captured and still aren’t converting.
There’s a fundamental flaw in the way I see a lot of small businesses talking about lead generation. The problem is that most people see their conversion rate as a fixed percentage. Here’s what I mean: Say you get 1000 visitors to your website, and you capture 100 leads, and 10 of those leads become customers.
Now if I tell you that you need more customers, most businesses would say “Okay, well then we need more leads.” Some would say that they need more visitors. Because they see those numbers and they are able to infer that as they trickle down they turn into more customers.
But there’s another way to get more customers out of this equation without changing the number of visitors or leads.
Let’s say a basketball team takes 60 shots, and makes 10 of them. And they’re losing the game. So they call a timeout to talk about it. Is the coach going to say “We need more shots!”?
No. They’re getting plenty of shots, they’re just not making enough of them. Similarly, there are two ways to grow your customer base, you can get more leads into your funnel, or you can convert the leads you already have at a higher rate.
Now, I don’t want to downplay the impact that new leads can have on the health of your funnel. I think that it’s really important. But I was talking with my friend Jacki McLenaghan recently and she said something to the effect of “Small businesses don’t have awareness problems. They have process problems.”
And we went on to discuss this further and she’s pretty spot on. (Here’s our chat)
We live in the most connected day and age that there has ever been. You can build a website today, and start selling online, internationally, tomorrow. Between all the various paid advertising channels, and through organic reach with your existing social channels you can get eyes on your website.
It’s the “what happens next” part that people really struggle with. And that’s where you need to have a nurture process in place.
Now, I wish there was a single barometer for success so that you could easily tell whether or not you were efficiently converting leads into customers, but even if there were then you’d be comparing yourself to other businesses without really knowing if your businesses were the same. I recommend tracking your own conversion numbers, and comparing against where you used to be. How many new leads did we bring in. How many new customers do we have. The number of new customers divided by new leads is your leads to customers conversion percentage.
Long term, you may even want to look at your average sale price so that you’re assigning dollar values to these leads instead of just counting the number of customers. There are plenty of numbers you can dig into to really get granular on this process, but all I’m asking for now is that you revisit the way you’ve been thinking about this.
Think of it this way, if you have a juicer, and it does a really poor job of making juice for you. Maybe it’s broken, or maybe it just isn’t very efficient. You don’t need more fruit to shove into it, you need a better juicer. In fact, it almost doesn’t make any sense to put a single additional piece of fruit into it UNTIL you’ve fixed the juicer.
Well your nurture funnel is exactly the same. You don’t want to focus on getting a bunch of new leads until you’ve optimized the existing funnel for the leads you already have.