79 percent of inbound marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance. (Source: MarketingSherpa)1

Fixating on conversion rates is easy to do. They are important. Conversion rates are basically the percentage of people who completed a desired action (i.e., signed up for a newsletter, purchased an item, became a register user, etc.). Conversions aren’t the same for every business but are the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that matter most to your organization when determining Return on Investment (ROI).
Conversion rate optimization, can help you control lead acquisition costs, acquire more customers and grow your business.  However, conversion rates tell only part of the story and must be viewed in the proper context. Conversion rates vary by industry. The graph below by Marketo helps to illustrate the industry variation. 

Separately, Implisit analyzed the pipelines of hundreds of companies and found that, on average, 13 percent of leads convert to opportunities and the average time for conversion is 84 days. The conversion rate from opportunity to deal stood at 6 percent but takes only 18 days, on average, to convert.2 The numbers varied depending on the channel.
So, why can conversion rates tell only part of the story?
• Coincident events can have an impact (negative or positive) on your conversion rate.
• Conversion rates are subjective and factors like industry or product can play a role in your company’s ability to convert leads into customers.
Conversion rates are important, but they should not be viewed in isolation from other factors. It is best to focus on conversion value and your converting goal (i.e., is it only qualified business leads or anyone who takes the desired action).
To optimize conversion rates, Jeffrey Eisenberg, CEO of Buyer Legends, refers to a formula they’ve coined “The Conversion Trinity.”
1.    Relevance. Are you relevant to my wants/needs/desires?
2.    Value. Do I know why you are the right solution for me? Have you explained your value proposition/offer well?
3.    Call to action. Is it obvious what I need to do next? Have you given me the confidence to take that action?

Key Takeaways
• Conversion rates are important but they tell only part of the story.
• Coincident events can have an impact (negative or positive) on your conversion rate.
• Heed caution when benchmarking. Conversion rates are subjective and factors like industry or product can play a role in your company’s ability to convert leads into customers.
• Take a step back and think about the conversion value and who counts toward your converting goal.
 
Click Here to download the complete B2B Lead Program Success:  Setting Expectations, Data Hygiene, Lead Scoring and Nurturing and Conversions.
 
  1 Vaughan, Pamela. “30 Thought-Provoking Lead Nurturing Stats You Can't Ignore.” HubSpot Blog, blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/30901/30-thought-provoking-lead-nurturing-stats-you-can-t-ignore.aspx.
  2 Raichshtain, Gilad. “B2B Sales Benchmark Research Finds Some Pipeline Surprises [INFOGRAPHIC].” Salesforce Blog, 20 Nov. 2014, www.salesforce.com/blog/2014/11/b2b-sales-benchmark-research-finds-some-pipeline-surprises-infographic-gp.html?_ga=2.87056408.1481510132.1523100463-1275822744.1523100462.