There are many avenues a prospect or lead will take along their journey. To effectively manage those leads, it’s crucial that organizations have a set of best practices. Use the lead management tips in this post to help your sales and marketing teams streamline their efforts and boost conversion rates.
What is lead management?
There are tons of different definitions out there, and they’ve changed over time. LeadSquared’s new-age description defines lead management as “the process of capturing leads, tracking their activities and behavior, qualifying them, giving them constant attention to make them sales-ready, and then passing them on to the sales team.”
Explore these 6 effective lead management tips:
1. Understand the source of your leads.
Leads come from a variety of sources and enter the sales pipeline at a variety of points. A lead source is defined as “the original point at which a customer first hears about you.” That’s simple enough, right? These sources vary based on organization and industry, but let’s use some examples from PR 20/20’s list for reference:
- Premium content
- Media coverage
- Email marketing
- Direct marketing
- Digital advertising
- Social media
Treat each of these sources differently. For example, don’t follow up with a lead coming from your website the same way you follow up with a lead coming from a trade show. Remember: Different lead sources come with different context. In the aforementioned example, a trade show lead would include not only the request for an inquiry, but also any conversations that the onsite rep had with the prospect and any other items mentioned in that conversation. It may lead to the purchase of more products or services. Keeping your lead sources in mind is essential when determining the best way to follow up.
2. Implement lead scoring.
Lead scoring is defined by HubSpot as “the process of assigning values, often in the form of numerical ‘points,’ to each lead you generate for the business.” This score lets sales and marketing teams know which leads are more urgent to follow up with, which are more likely to yield a sale, which need more nurturing, etc. How leads are scored can vary from company to company, but there are some basic best practices organizations can use.
There are many factors to consider when scoring a lead, and the way those factors are scored will help you better understand how to move forward. HubSpot lists the six different lead-scoring models as:
- Demographic information
- Company information
- Online behavior
- Email engagement
- Social engagement
- Spam detection
3. Prioritize clean data.
It’s imperative that you work with clean and up-to-date data. It’s the only way you’ll be able to accurately score and follow-up with the leads that your efforts are generating.
Each interaction with a prospect or client must be recorded and made available to every pertinent party to ensure that anyone interacting with that lead is aware of previous engagements. This ensures that prospects are being properly moved through the funnel and not receiving too many, too few, or repeat communications. If a prospect receives too many communications, it can lead to them unsubscribing from email lists or stopping communications entirely. Alternatively, if a prospect doesn’t receive enough communications, they may lose interest in communicating with an organization. They may also begin communicating with a competitor.
4. Nurture your leads.
Lead nurturing is defined by Marketo as “the process of developing and reinforcing relationships with buyers at every stage of the sales funnel.” As mentioned above, leads come into your pipeline at various stages. The goal of your marketing and sales teams is to take the leads at their various stages and move them toward conversion. Every lead is different and needs to be handled based on the stage they’re in.
If a prospect is in the beginning of the cycle, communications, promotions, and information sent to them will be very different than communications, promotions, and information sent to a lead who knows what product they want and is on the verge of making a buying decision.
Lead nurturing includes multiple different channels, but email marketing is one of the most common — and effective. Here are a few options for lead nurturing through email:
- The “checking in” email. If you haven’t heard back from a lead in a while, it’s a good idea to check in. The “checking in” email is a quick note to ask if there are any questions you can answer. It may also include answers to frequently asked questions so the lead may not have to respond.
- The special offer email. This classic email offers extra value to the customer in the form of a discount, upgrade, reward, or perk. What you offer should be based on your customer segments and what’s valuable to that audience.
- The loyalty email. By sending highly-personalized emails, you can keep customers up-to-date on special offers and any other updates. Think of these as updates during the “inactive” portion of the sales cycle.
5. Regularly review your lead management process.
As with every business process, your lead management system must be monitored and reviewed on a regular basis. As new CRM software, lead management techniques, and processes are put into place, teams must be informed and re-informed as necessary. You want to make sure your marketing efforts are paying off, and that your sales team is taking full advantage of every opportunity. As those tactics change and evolve based on the needs of your industry, old processes may not be appropriate or as useful as they once were.
One example of this relates to scalability. As your organization grows and begins taking in more leads, your old processes may not be able to handle the influx of prospects. This is a good problem to have, but it can become a bad problem quickly . Fortunately, there are a lot of lead management software solutions that can help.
6. Prove your expertise to your prospects.
A sure-fire way to increase the number of leads coming into your lead management system — and keep them coming back — is to continuously prove that you’re a thought leader in your field. Building a reputation as a thought leader in your industry takes time and resources. But it pays back huge rewards in brand awareness, customer loyalty, and new customers.
By building your organization’s image as a thought leader, you gain the trust of your clients and build awareness in the industry. This must be done through various channels in your organization, from who your company partners with to how you handle your prospects. Demonstrating value to your clients and prospects and taking a consultative approach to leads will engender a strong sense of trust in your current clients and, just as importantly, in those prospects you haven’t done business with yet.
Start putting these lead management tips to use today!
Lead management is an important process that must be regularly evaluated and re-evaluated. As your company grows and adapts, lead management keeps your sales pipeline full and your marketing tactics relevant. Make sure you’re always carefully considering your approach and keeping your vision clear so your teams can do what they do best.
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