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How to Improve Pipeline Conversion (3 starting steps)

Most board meetings have a request to look at funnel conversion. 

You either have a top-of-funnel problem (primarily) or a middle or bottom-conversion issue. Compounding this issue are sales and marketing leaders tending to go away and get back into the day-to-day.

Guess what?

From a high level, the problem never gets resolved. Couple this with the tension that navigating the road to enhancing funnel conversion can feel like a maze. But let's simplify the journey with some straightforward, actionable insights you can get started with today. 

The first step is fine-tuning MQL Definitions.

Let's start with a clear look at what qualifies as an MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead) across your channels. It’s about pinpointing the moments that genuinely signal interest/ intent—whether engaging via an event, webinar, or showing consistent interest across your digital platforms. Identifying these moments accurately is the foundation for moving leads effectively through your funnel. The big mistake everyone makes is classifying all MQLs as the SAME. I’d create a Google sheet with a breakdown of each channel to understand channel conversation, then assess the criteria in each channel that determines an MQL (for example, attendance at a webinar is NOT an MQL in itself but often labelled that way).

For you CEOs and investors, it’s essential to understand the differentiation in MQLs per channel to avoid making assumptions that all MQLs are the same. 

The second step is aligning Sales and Marketing Efforts.
Moving on, it's crucial to understand how your sales team handles MQLs. This isn't just about quantity; it's about quality and fit. Analysing your AEs' (Account Executives') conversion success can reveal valuable patterns. Some AEs may excel with certain types of leads due to their approach or expertise. Recognising these nuances enables you to route leads more strategically, ensuring they land with the AEs best suited to nurture them toward a close. Ensure you train AEs and SDRs in the type of MQL, as this affects the approach to conversion. An example of this would be if the MQL is from thought leadership, you may need a soft approach to that prospect, whereas if it is a direct inbound, you can be more direct.

Most AEs are one-dimensional and don’t cater for types of leads - well, top AEs do, and that’s why their conversion rates are better. You can sometimes solve conversion rates at the rep level (it happens) because the quality of your AE can make or break funnel conversions, especially in the middle to bottom. 

The third step is evaluating your Content and Message. 
Content plays a pivotal role in guiding potential customers through your funnel. Conducting a content audit can shed light on which pieces resonate at different stages of the buyer's journey and where gaps may exist.

The aim is to produce content that addresses your target audience's specific challenges and needs. It’s not just about creating endless top-of-funnel but solving your customers' problems through content designed to help make a buying decision. These would be case studies, actionable use cases, market maps and pain/gain content angles specific to your buyer. In short, content must be tailored to build trust (trust is brand); if you do right, you’ll create more traction with your content while building trust and credibility, paving the way for more effective conversions.

The audit will uncover if you have a value prop, positioning, messaging and offer problem - the root causes affect your conversion. It’s the case many forget that content is a vast lever (it’s not about tactical levers often but the root cause, i.e. ICP - message - value prop - offer). 

Practical Steps Forward:

1. Define Your MQLs: Ensure you understand what actions or engagements qualify a lead as an MQL across all your channels. This clarity is essential for focusing your sales team's efforts effectively.

2. Evaluate AE Conversion Performance: Consider which AEs are most successful at converting MQLs and why. Use these insights to refine your lead routing process and sales strategies.

3. Undertake a Content Audit: Review your content's alignment with each funnel stage. Ensure your content strategy is finely tuned to meet your target audience's needs at every step of their journey. Leverage Expertise: If you have team members adept at translating product features into customer solutions, empower them to create content. Short, problem-solving videos or articles can significantly boost your content's impact. Focus on pain/gain content to help move buyers in the journey. 

Following these foundational steps drastically increases the likelihood of you being on the road to better conversions.

Remember, it's about taking small, actionable steps. Not trying to pull ten tactical levers at once. 

The following step is picking off each channel linked to the customer journey. 

Get going!

Whenever you're ready, there are three ways I can help you:

(1) DUE DILIGENCE FOR INVESTORS & CEOs: A bespoke framework and capability model 'DEMAND KARMA' that delivers DD services to investors, VC firms and CEOs.

(2) ADVISORY: Retained advisory at funded scale-ups. A simple monthly fee. Helping CEOs build a scalable marketing machine. (Booked out until December)

(3) STRATEGY COACHING: Book time on my calendar to work through a standalone project or to get answers to your most pressing marketing strategy and execution questions.

If you're interested, let's jump on a call to see if you're a good fit.

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