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What’s the first thing that your leads want?
They want you to win their attention!
Earning your lead’s attention is the first step toward lead management. After that, going for a quick revamp of your lead management strategy to meet the leads’ evolving needs won’t be a bad idea.
Thanks to lead management automation tools, businesses can be in their best form to garner attention from their leads.
But before you get to the tools, you must ensure that you have the right lead management process.
And if you’re new to following an organized and effective lead management process, keep calm and read on.
In this post, I’ll walk you through the ABCs of the lead management process – what it is, its importance, stages, lead management best practices, metrics, and much more.
So, let’s begin with a cup of coffee!
Lead management is acquiring and managing potential customers until they convert. It involves capturing leads, qualifying, and engaging them to a point where they make a purchase.
Lead management is quite complex but popular. It involves several steps and strategies to track prospects, engage, and nurture them to ensure conversion. Let’s get into the details of lead management stages down the line.
A proper lead management process can help you understand your customers better. Not only that, lead management can contribute significantly to your business growth. Check out a few statistics here.
So, the better lead nurturing and engagement, the higher the conversions and revenue.
Besides more conversions, here are a few other important reasons why the lead management process is vital.
As mentioned already, the lead management process is all about;
− capturing leads and tracking their behavior across all channels,
− nurturing them with valuable content,
− managing interactions, and
− helping your sales team to push them faster down the sales funnel, thereby making a successful conversion.
There are five main sales lead management stages included in the process. Let’s size up!
Where do you find your leads?
Email marketing, social media channels, inbound calls, website forms, seminars, referrals, etc.
A good lead management tool or software can capture leads automatically from all sources and feed them into your CRM system. It prevents the risk of leads falling through the cracks.
Lead management combines your lead generation efforts with sales opportunities. As you run marketing and sales campaigns for lead generation, this lead management stage ensures collecting these leads from several sources and bringing them to a single platform.
Did you know 67% of lost sales are due to improper lead qualification?
Qualifying leads is a vital stage of the lead management process. It ensures quality leads and increases the possibility of higher conversions.
Sending all the captured leads directly to the sales team simply increases their workload resulting in a drop in productivity and waste of time. Thus, it is critical to qualify leads based on:
When qualifying leads, ensure that you record this information for future reference. Lead management platforms can help you store and access qualification data whenever necessary.
Lead distribution is assigning the right leads to the right sales reps. Let’s say, you have a team of sales reps with experience in different B2B products and geographies.
How would you determine the best sales rep for a lead?
Here, the lead distribution process comes in.
For instance, you can;
Though you can assign leads manually, having good lead distribution software is an asset. Lead distribution solutions can ensure routing the leads based on your predetermined criteria.
In fact, with an automated lead distribution system, you can expect a whopping 87% higher conversion rate. So, look for a platform like RevenueHero that works best for lead management and witness your sales soar higher.
Lead nurturing is a process in itself. It involves building a relationship with the leads through consistent interaction and engagement.
This stage of the lead management process consists of strategies like running educational campaigns, promotional campaigns, sending informative and follow-up emails, and engaging the leads with valuable content like blogs, newsletters, e-books, etc.
At each sales funnel stage, provide leads with appropriate content to help them make an informed purchase decision.
The final stage of the lead management process is conversion. The best thing about this stage is that if you ensure proper performance in the above four stages, the lead is bound to convert.
At this stage, the lead makes the buying decision. So, if the lead's interest in your product is genuine, they have the budget, and the product addresses their needs in the best possible way, you can expect a successful closing.
To seal as many deals as possible, track all the other stages of lead management minutely. Let the lead management process flow seamlessly without any friction. The better the user experience, the higher the conversions.
Your lead management workflow can only get better with a solid lead management process. So, if your organization lacks one, follow these lead management steps to implement an effective method.
Who are your potential buyers?
Where do they stand in the sales process?
What are the buyer personas?
Address these aspects at the initial stage of implementing a lead management process.
Your marketing team must identify the buyer personas to focus their marketing efforts in one place. First, try and create a profile based on your existing customers. Here are a few starting points to carve out the buyer persona.
Besides, you must also dig deeper to find out the job position of the lead, their mindset, how they visited your website, etc.
The lead management process begins with the marketing team determining the first point of contact of the potential lead. To generate leads, you must know their source. This, creating and tracking content is vital.
Lead scoring is an essential part of the lead management process. It helps to determine the lead’s interest in your product.
The potential factors in determining a lead’s score are demographics and behavioral details. Based on this information, you can check if the lead can qualify or not because;
To ensure a sound lead scoring system, spend time determining the factors critical to your business. Then you can develop a lead scoring system that best suits your business.
Use the collected lead data in this step. Know your leads’ interests and their likely position in the sales funnel.
The leads who aren’t sales-ready yet can pass through a good lead nurturing campaign. Many of these leads can be in the awareness or research stage, finding the solutions to their pain points.
Provide these leads with relevant content, and educate them with useful blogs, product demos, tutorials, promotional offers, etc.
Here are a few practical tips for creating an ideal lead nurturing campaign.
Once you are sure that the lead is sales-ready, pass them off to the sales team. Take a look at the lead scores to identify the qualified leads. Here’s how you can pass off the lead strategically.
Track and measure your leads throughout the sales funnel. Even though they are passed off to the sales team, keep tracking and evaluating as needed.
The primary motive is to keep the leads moving through the sales funnel without being lost or sent back to the nurturing stage.
Along with focusing on leads, evaluate your processes as well. Find out what works and what doesn’t so that you can wipe out the roadblocks and make the sales process seamless.
Lead management is a complex process. And for those who haven’t tried it yet, it may be challenging to plan, manage, and optimize the entire lead management process.
To help you, I have created a list of six tips to improve your lead management system process flow.
Before anything else, craft your buyer personas. Create an avatar to list their most important characteristics or traits like;
Creating a buyer persona will help you provide more targeted information to the prospects. At every step of the lead management process, you must use this persona to ensure that the prospect feels like your interactions are personalized and just for them.
Even though you create a buyer persona, you must know that no two leads are identical. So, to optimize your sales lead management, personalize the lead capture process. Here are a few quick ways to implement personalization.
I have already mentioned lead scoring above. It is one of the most valuable and effective ways to improve your lead management process.
Score the leads to rank them based on their sales readiness. Then, use our predetermined criteria for qualifying the leads as ready to talk to the sales team.
Scoring helps with lead prioritization and also improves alignment between marketing and sales. It also streamlines the follow-ups with the right leads.
Create targeted content for unqualified and qualified leads with low lead scores. These leads aren’t a great fit currently, but they can be sales-ready with proper nurturing. So, focus on the content you offer them.
Run email marketing campaigns on autopilot. Personalize these emails and provide the right content based on their stage of the buying journey.
For instance, if the lead is still in the initial stages, send them content that introduces your product and tell them how it can address their needs.
You can also invest in webinars. Invite the qualified leads and unqualified groups in separate sessions and provide them with relevant content. Delivering valuable information can help you build relationships and win their trust.
Don’t make your sales team search for data when they need it the most. And prevent blunders like inaccurate lead information by cleaning your database.
Maintain database hygiene and ensure that the information you have is accurate. Some good practices for cleaning data include:
Your lead management workflow can perform the best with tech integrations. Integrations play a massive part in optimizing your lead management process.
So, invest in the right lead management automation software. It will help you capture, organize and update leads systematically.
Also, lead management automation systems can eliminate the tedious and repetitive tasks often performed by sales reps. Thus, they can focus on lead interaction and conversions.
Want your lead management process to work better for you? Then implement these best practices to achieve the best results!
Identify the lead sources that bring you the most productive sales leads. For instance, you may attract the best high-potential leads from your blogs and product videos as these contents are relevant to the target audience and deliver high value.
You can leverage the relevant content to attract leads by protecting them behind a web form. That means to access the content; the prospect needs to fill out the form. Thus, you can record the lead information in your system.
Even after attracting the leads, track them to find their type. Also, keep monitoring the leads after they purchase to understand their satisfaction and needs. These lead lessons will help you improve the process and make the sales cycle more efficient.
As leads travel through the different sales process stages, map out how they are documented. Before you expect your lead management automation software to give the best results, define how the leads will be followed-up.
Chalk out an ideal sales process before you begin changing your map. A benchmark or vision will help you achieve the perfect sales process.
According to a survey by Gartner, organizations believe that poor data quality is responsible for average losses of $15 million per year.
Moreover, about 60% of the surveyed organizations have no idea how much bad data costs their business.
To avoid such overwhelming losses, make small changes like monthly reviews and deletion of duplicate entries to improve data quality. It will help you;
Anonymous visitors to your website can give you a lot of information. Although they may never fill out your form, you can track their IP address and location.
The information about anonymous users can also help you determine whether or not you are getting the right people to your page or website.
You can think of tweaking your message in social posts and ads if you have too many visitors and too few leads.
How to know if your lead management process is working or not? By tracking metrics!
Here are the three most important metrics that indicate whether or not your lead management system is working.
CPC tells you the amount spent to acquire a customer. You can calculate CPC by dividing total ad cost divided by the number of conversions.
Your objective is to reduce this metric as much as possible without affecting the best outcomes. Ask yourself these questions when calculating the ad costs:
Addressing these questions will help you determine the balance between tactics that generate higher leads but are expensive and tactics that generate lower leads but are affordable.
Balance both tactics can help you generate leads without spending massive amounts.
Measure your conversion rates to evaluate the lead management process. But before doing so, set a benchmark conversion rate per industry standards.
You can also set a conversion rate based on your past performances. For instance, if your previous year’s conversion rate was 5%, set a benchmark of 10% in the current year.
To improve your conversion rates, there are a few things you can consider working on:
Is your lead response time within 5 minutes? Or 30 minutes? Or do you take 24+ hours to make contact with your lead?
To capture leads, you need to be fast. The faster you respond to your leads, the more likely they will convert.
When a lead makes initial contact, try interacting with them within 5 minutes of contacting you. It is the golden window you must aim to achieve.
Research says 78% of customers buy from a company that responds to their inquiry first. So, grab that chance and don’t let your competitors take over.
To make your lead management process seamless and efficient, getting the best lead management software is essential.
Here are a few features you must look for when purchasing a lead management tool.
Your lead management tool must be able to capture leads from various sources like websites, events, social channels, marketing campaigns, etc.
If you have an existing list of leads, the best lead management tools help you import these and eliminate duplicate entries, thereby cleaning the data automatically.
The best lead management systems assign incoming leads to sales reps based on predetermined criteria.
For instance, to assign leads based on geography, you can input the criteria in the software and get leads from a specific location given to reps from the same geographic area.
Tracking multiple leads manually is a big no-no. Lead management software can follow each lead seamlessly without your intervention. In addition, it helps sales reps to access previous records of interactions like meetings, phone calls, and emails and also reminds sales reps of follow-ups.
Your lead management tool must enable users to track significant metrics like conversion, close ratios, acquisition rates, sales cycle, etc.
It must also help users identify suitable lead sources, lead quality, and evaluate performance. Advanced tools can also help you discover trends and patterns in marketing processes.
Data security measures are a must in your lead management tool as lead data is highly confidential. You do not want it to land in the wrong hands or even internal teams. Hence, ensure that the tool has top data security protocols.
The best lead management tools integrate with your existing tools, like CRM systems, product development platforms, etc. Your lead management system must connect to your existing software through native or supported APIs or integrations.
While many lead management tools are out in the market, I have handpicked the three best ones (with great difficulty!). Here they are:
The lead management tool has one of the best features, a lead management software by Salesforce. It is best suited for enterprises that require advanced lead management features. The software nurtures leads, automates the sales process, and tracks the marketing ROI.
Users can start with a 30-day free trial. But the price range of the software is relatively high. So, it seems to be a fit for enterprises or large-scale businesses.
A sales acceleration platform, RevenueHero offers users the necessary lead management software features. The tool allows marketing and sales teams to qualify leads, route them in real-time, and schedule instant meetings.
For pricing details, contact the RevenueHero team.
Apptivo has several features, along with lead management. It can effectively track leads and manage them in a centralized database.
Compared to Salesforce, the platform is affordable with a 30-day free trial and a free forever starter plan.
I promise there are many lead management tools to be added to this list. Want a few more options? Check out here.
I hope there’s no doubt regarding the importance of a solid lead management process.
To stay ahead of the competition, you must (ASAP) implement a sales lead management process if you haven’t already. Once you implement the process, you can make continuous iterations to achieve perfection.
Manage your leads efficiently; nothing can stop you from witnessing a massive surge in conversions and bottom line revenue.
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