How Does Conversion Rate Optimization Increase Sales Opportunities?

Conversion Optimization and Sales image

Why is it that when you say something like, “More leads equals more sales” a salesperson’s eyes roll?

Is it because salespeople relish in the opportunity to remind marketers how little they know about sales?


But more likely it’s because it ain’t true. While more leads can mean more sales opportunities, more leads do not necessarily mean more sales. Whatever the source – an event, a campaign, a “lead list”, etc – a lead has to be qualified, called, and closed before it can be put in the “win column”.

And just like leads don’t equal sales, website visitors don’t equal leads. In order to be of any value to your sales team, a website visitor has to be “converted” to a lead, often by getting him/her to fill out a form.

The funny thing is, while by now most business owners can tell you what “Search Engine Optimization” is, and while many even spend marketing dollars to have their website “SEO’d”, most don’t take their website optimization beyond SEO.

More Organic Traffic Does Not Equal More Sales

The “SEO it and they will come… and leave their information” mentality has, no doubt, led to a lot of frustration among business owners who, month after month, spend money to have their site “Search Engine Optimized”, only to find that, while their organic visitor count has grown, the number of leads generated from their website is about the same as it was before.

What’s the problem? The problem is that while your SEO delivered on her promise of more organic search traffic, more traffic does not necessarily translate to more sales.

Again, those additional visitors have to be converted to leads – i.e., we have to get their names, email addresses, etc. – if Sales is to engage them.

Optimizing for More Sales Opportunities

So what does it take to convert visitors to sales opportunities?

The formal name for this branch of optimization is “Conversion Rate Optimization” (CRO) and it entails using what we understand about psychological triggers, along with multivariate testing (testing different versions of a given web page), to identify what moves our prospects from visitors to sales opportunities.

At a high level, the conversion optimizer takes the following steps:

  • Interviewing the executive management to understand sales objectives – which products/services are the best sellers and which are not performing well, product/service margins, sales goals for each product, etc.;
  • Auditing the website to identify CRO opportunities;
  • Creating optimization hypotheses and designing tests for those hypotheses;
  • Working with the development team to create the page variations and run the tests;
  • Determining the “winner” (the variation that gets the most visitors to take the actions we want them to take) and making that version the new production version.

While this is a highly simplified explanation of the Conversion Rate Optimization process, it quickly becomes clear that:

  • This type of approach – using a scientific approach to finding out what converts a given company’s prospects to leads – can lead to marketing that generates more sales opportunities;
  • Whereas website design focuses on aesthetics and content creation (often) focuses on cleverness, not much of we do around our websites today focuses on conversion optimization.

To learn more about Conversion Rate Optimization, check out some of the research the CRO gurus at ConversionXL are doing.

If you’re not quite ready to run A/B tests but you’d like to wade into the “create an optimization hypothesis, make some changes and see what happens waters” (not scientific, but everybody has to start somewhere), I’ve written a blog that outlines 3 simple steps to converting more website visitors to opportunities.

Hope this helps!

Feel free to contact me at with any questions you have about CRO.

Happy Optimizing!


P.S. If you found this blog helpful in understanding Conversion Rate Optimization better, please share it!

Winston Clay
Winston is an irredeemable nerd, information consumer, ever analyzing and creating solutions.

He started his career in IT as a Macintosh computer lab manager and ended up as a software engineer before he exited the corporate world to help IT SMBs market better.

Winston and his wife, Ginger, live in Charleston, South Carolina with their awesome youngest son.  Their older children, who are also awesome, are in different states of self-sufficiency.