It’s always a good problem to have a lot of leads, but a real problem happens when you and your team are unable to manage all these leads: Enter: Sales lead management. Just what is it and how does it benefit your sales funnel?
Sales lead management is a strategic process that begins with marketing and ends in sales: you acquire leads, monitor and understand their behavior, qualify them as SQL (sales qualified leads) and then pass them on to sales representatives, in the hopes of converting the lead into a sale.
Even the best sales teams can lose good prospects if they don’t have an efficient lead management process in place.
Creating a Sales Lead Management Process
So how do you begin to set up the process? You can begin with these seven critical steps:
1. Know Your Leads
You’ve identified leads, now it’s time to understand them. Before going to battle, make sure you’re equipped with your best weapon: intel. You have to know your potential buyer beginning with the basics:
Demographics: age, gender, location, occupation, etc. What do they want? Need? Aspire for? Etc.
Behavior: Where and how do they shop? How and where do they consume information? How do they search for information? Where do they spend their time? Etc.
Lead Source: Sometimes, once the leads are in, sales professionals forget this step. But it’s important to track the source: how were you able to capture a particular lead? These days, leads can come from different channels: ad campaigns, social media posts, an event, online banner ads, referrals, a cold call, etc. Knowing which channel helped capture the lead will show you which channels and/or campaigns are working, and which are not.
2. Track and Monitor Your Leads
Using analytics, track your lead's behavior. Where are people are clicking on your site or where they’re coming from when they go to your site (e.g. is it from a social media post? An email newsletter? A white paper you uploaded for free download on your site?) Why, you ask? This is crucial for a next step in the process: nurturing leads.
3. Segment Your Leads
Tracking lead behavior also helps you in this step: lead segmentation. Automate workflows to categorize your leads. Categories may differ depending on your product/service but they’re all generally based on demographics, behavior, engagement, conversion points, lead source, etc.—basically all those things you’ve determined in Step #1 (now you see how each step connects with and complements the next).
4. Score Your Leads
Scoring or qualifying your leads has many factors—or should we say, “criteria for judging.” And you as a team will determine the criteria. There’s size of opportunity, value of opportunity, buying cycle, geography, size of company, and all other kinds of demographic and behavioral information. The higher the score (meaning the more potential for the lead to convert into a sale), the more you prioritize that lead.
Those that score low will need the next step.
5. Nurture Your Leads
Not every lead will turn into a sale immediately for many reasons, and these leads will need some nurturing. Knowing what you know from Steps #2 and #3, influence a lead’s decision with content and information that specifically target them (e.g. an email campaign, presentation, etc.). We’ve talked about the sales funnel—the importance of mapping one and, more importantly, understanding each stage. This comes in handy at this stage, too. Knowing where your lead is at in the funnel will also help you in creating the perfect targeted message/content.
One thing’s for sure, though: Your message should always offer value—it should answer a need and/or solve a problem.
6. Distribute Your Leads
Pass on all qualified (high-scoring) leads to the sales representatives, and do so quickly. Time is always of the essence in sales. Make sure that all leads are assigned, automating this process will make it more efficient.
It’s also not enough that you distribute leads, make sure that there are guidelines on following up, scheduling one-on-ones, and that other strategies are in place.
7. Monitor and Measure
Make sure leads are moving through the funnel. Track the performance of your lead generation, lead management, and the whole sales cycle—see what works and what doesn’t. Custom reporting will help you monitor and evaluate your progress.
An Efficient CRM is a Must in Sales Lead Management
No matter how big or small your team is, or the volume of leads you’re dealing with, you will need an efficient customer relationship management (CRM) tool or platform that will help you perform all the tasks we’ve outlined. You need a tool that captures data on all leads, including all interactions with them. You and your team will then commit to using this tool.
Photo from Pexels