If you’re looking to improve your pipeline of engineering project leads, look no further than your existing traffic. 75% to 95% of your unknown, potential prospects, are visiting your website anonymously. If you can reach them early in the research process, you can dramatically increase your project pipeline.
If your firm is struggling to generate more qualified engineering leads, the solution might exist within right inside your current marketing funnel – even if you are currently only generating a few leads. You’ll build a bigger and more sustainable pipeline of opportunities by converting more of these early-stage visitors to “information qualified” leads before they are ready to engage with your firm.
Know Your Growth Score
Before you can really focus on new lead generation, you’ll need a checkup to see if you’re ready. You might be frustrating your efforts with obstacles or missed opportunities to build a stronger platform. That’s why we created Growth-Score for AE firms. Make sure that you have the critical, enabling strategic-cores in place so that you can scale your lead and sales development efforts. Use our free online diagnostic system to generate a calculation of your Growth Score, to help you figure out whether you’re ready for… the next steps.
Is Your Firm Missing Lead Conversion Opportunities?
In an analysis of more than 50 engineering firms, we found that the majority of firms lacked any mechanism for converting a visitor to a lead at any stage of the buying process other than a “request proposal” or “contact us” form. From a competitive perspective, there’s a tremendous opportunity add a layer of strategy, functionality, and engaging content that helps transform an anonymous “early” visitor into a contact that can be identified and by utilizing a CRM and categorizing contacts in your CRM. Once you identify a contact, you can enrich the data associated with the contact, and determine how to personalize experiences for them and increase client engagement.
When Should You Be Converting Leads?
By the time that a prospect fills out your contact form or picks up the phone to reach out to you about a project, a B2B buyer has completed 70% to 90% of the buying process (Forrester) and a shortlist of competing firms has typically been created. Your business development team is no longer the sole source of information. Buyers are comfortable completing the process on their own. Why wait for your competitor to establish a solid connection?
But My Firm’s Revenues are Driven by Word-Of-Mouth
It’s true that more than 90% of all B2B decisions are influenced by word of mouth. For many firms, “word of mouth” (WOM) is the most important lead source; however, it’s important to understand that word-of-mouth referrals don’t automatically turn into new leads. Think about the behavior that follows any kind of referral, review or recommendation – either in an online or an offline channel. Nearly 100% of new referrals who have been WOM influenced will visit your website to gather more information about your services and capabilities.
Your reputation and all of the methods that you leverage to create awareness for your firm are very important, but you will struggle to grow without increasing your conversions.
So where are all of the sales opportunities hiding?
“Gleanster Research found that only 25% of leads are qualified and ready to buy, and 50% of leads are qualified but not ready to buy.” KissMetrics
Top-of-the-Funnel (TOF) Leads: Represent 75% of your website traffic. These users recognize their pain, but your prospects aren’t fully aware of the potential solutions. Educational offers that are vendor-neutral are essential to the buyer’s research process. They are looking for general information about the industry or category, thus converting them from an unknown visitor to a known visitor can significantly accelerate your growth.
Why Are TOF Leads Important?
Prospects who are not yet ready to purchase can be nurtured. Your firm can promote targeted content to prospects which is relevant to their problems and encourage prospects to take actions that lead to conversions at deeper stages of your sales funnel. A nurtured lead experiences a 23% shorter sales cycle (Market2Lead), and firms that nurture leads effectively experience a 450% increase in qualified opportunities.
Five Fast-Track Opportunities for More Engineering Leads
Without abandoning your existing traffic or investing in any new awareness-generation strategies, here are 5 additions that you can make to assist in the lead conversion process and in turn fast-track your business development pipeline.
Note: You’ll need all of the following steps to convert your TOF leads.
Group Questions and Problems into Content Themes
Dive-in to your target personas and identify 3 awareness stage themes related to questions your target personas are asking at the Top of Your Sales Funnel. A theme is a “cluster” or category of questions or problems that a prospect might ask. Themes are important concepts because they provide a structure for you to organize your research, topics, and content types.
Relate Themes to Easy-to-Consume Content
Is your firm actively writing blog articles? Yours probably should because firms that blog regularly (and effectively) generate more leads (13x according to HubSpot) and have a higher ROI on sales and marketing investment, than those that don’t. Your blog articles also provide the content format that includes links to your conversion content.
How to put this into practice: You will need to develop a series of awareness-stage articles related to your persona solution-themes, and you will need to publish one to two every week for 12 weeks. Blog content provides a number of benefits in lead conversion.
Tell The User What to do Next
Visitors don’t know how to accomplish their goals unless you tell them what to do. Each article should lead to an awareness stage downloadable content piece which furthers a solution to the discussion topic in the article. You’ll need a call-to-action to instruct the user to “download” or access your content.
Pro CTA Tips:
- Include CTAs within the content of your articles
- Test your click-through rates at different positions within your articles
- Include first-person language in the messaging of your CTAs
Give Something of Value in Exchange for Contact Information
Your content piece should provide a resource such as a quick “how-to” ebook, tip sheet, checklist, or brief discussion of key trends. For every blog article, you will need a call to action to instruct the user to download your gated content, and you will need landing pages and forms to capture relevant contact information such as name and email address.
Pro TOF Conversion Tip: Don’t ask for too much information. You need the user’s email address and name to identify who they are and to target them with future content; however, you will be able to gather deeper insights about their role and decision-making authority and current project opportunities at the next phase of the process.
Don’t Let them Leave!
Use Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) software to promote your conversion content when a user lands on a targeted article or indicates that they intend to leave the page. Most CRO software technologies will allow you to A/B test different content offers to determine which ones generate the best responses.
How to Grow Your Engineering Firm’s Project Pipeline 4x
What’s missing from the strategies of many A/E firm websites, are early opportunities to create “information qualified” leads. These leads can be nurtured to Marketing Qualified Leads and Sales Ready Opportunities. If you’re interested in specific recommendations for your engineering firm, first start by using our online assessment and generating an instant calculation of your Growth Score, then schedule a free 30-Minute consultation. We can assess your current performance and provide suggestions that can help you build a more sustainable project pipeline.