There are lots of reasons why a good lead may not convert into revenue, or even a qualified sales opportunity. This can be very frustrating, but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater! There is so much you can learn from leads that don't convert. This intel is pure gold for adapting your value proposition, your messaging, your operations, to get that much closer to product-market fit.
WHEN GOOD LEADS DON'T CONVERT
First, you need to rule out process and team reasons why good leads don't convert to qualified opportunities:
If you are convinced the marketing and sales are firing on all cylinders, and MQLs are simply not converting, this is when the real market intelligence starts to show itself through patterns of lead behaviour. Use it to shape your go-to-market strategy, or your product itself!
WHO IS GATHERING AND ACTIONING THIS INTELLIGENCE?
It is critical to have a person or team on the front lines responsible for directly experiencing it and sharing it with the organization so that we can adapt quickly. If the team is not continually recording and sharing all of this rich intel, change that today. This is what will allow you to nimbly adapt your pitch, timing, product features and overall value prop accordingly. This could be a marketing growth manager, a product leader, even a sales operations lead.
The key is to have a person deeply focused on the details of each lead and the patterns of lead behaviour. This is typically a marketing, product or growth leader, not just an admin mechanically generating an end-of-month report from Salesforce.
WHEN IT'S TIME TO PIVOT
If everything is aligned process-wise, you have a dedicated team whose primary focus is processing MQLs, a killer pitch deck and product, and the leads are all right in the target audience - but they’re simply not buying - another question to ask if whether you have the right target audience.
For early stage companies that don’t have product-market fit yet, this is a continual process of understanding the market and pivoting until you hit it right (see Do This 1 Thing For Product/Market Fit). Maybe the problem you are solving is not urgent enough, or you're just ahead of the curve and not yet urgent enough, or what you're selling is valuable for a different audience, or you need to change something about the offer or the message to better connect. For established companies, it is also possible that the world is changing and your target market that used to be so hot is now too competitive, saturated, or disrupted. Your target market needs a refresh.