PROSPECT GEN

Lead Management

What is lead management?

If you’re a new online business owner, then you probably know the excitement of landing a new customer. With a couple of customers, it’s still manageable. However, it can start getting a bit stressful once they become hundreds, and you continuously need to provide them with undivided attention and high-quality services. You can’t precisely choose customers you like the most, and then give them all the attention, while ignoring others.

Most growing businesses have one thing in common, and it’s their inability to handle the pressure of high amounts of inquiries or leads. They fail to manage leads equally and effectively (in terms of giving them attention when they require it), and that’s when their leads start scattering or shifting to other businesses.

Customer journeys are constantly evolving and are completely different from a generation ago. Buyers are now more knowledgeable and aware.

They know exactly what you want and are expecting companies to respond to their needs. Crafting a robust lead management strategy can assist you in finding leads successfully and nurturing qualified ones down the sales funnel and pipeline.

This is when lead management software comes in:

Lead management software does a lot more than only managing leads. It also affects sales directly by integrating both sales and marketing strategies together. It can be defined as:

‘’It is 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.”

The process of lead management is divided into five steps:

1. Lead capture automation

Lead capture automation happens when leads get captured automatically in the lead management software. In today’s world, there are infinite lead generation sources. When the lead volume is high, it isn’t realistic to enter every lead into the system manually. Automation ensures that every lead is fed into the system right at the origin point, preventing any lead leakage.

Another important aspect of lead capture automation is its capability to automatically evaluate sources, generating most numbers of profit and leads. Companies can easily identify with both- the high profit and the money-draining lead generation sources. This information is very important for marketing and business intelligence teams, as this enables them to reorganize their budget using this information.

2. Lead tracking

When the lead is captured by businesses, the lead management software will begin tracking the activities and behavior of the leads. This includes pages they’re regularly visiting, the amount of time spent on your website/blog, forms they’re filling, etc.

It gives the company valuable insights about the lead, which you otherwise wouldn’t have. Certain types of lead management software can also track conversations you have with customers over the phone, e-mail, or chat.

3. Lead distribution

After capturing leads, you will have to pass them on to the sales and marketing team. Again, it will take a long time to do this manually. A lead distribution system will assign the leads automatically, based on any logic that you pre-define. For example: -

Pass lead X to USA Team if the lead’s location is in the USA

or

Pass on the lead to Mark if they are interested in Product B

Companies will be able to get a definite advantage if they’re able to contact leads before their competitors. In most cases, if the lead has filled your company’s form, there is a high chance that they’ve done the same for five or more companies before yours. With lead distribution, you can significantly decrease the response time and ensure that the lead is chased by the right salesperson. This will enable the leads to receive the type of assistance they need, as soon as they make the query.

4. Lead qualification

By this stage, the leads will be checked by the team to identify if they’re valuable and worth pursuing or not. Leads that qualify are known as sales-ready leads.

Some lead management systems such as leadsquared will give a score to every lead based on their closure chances, known as quality scoring. Quality score is customized by companies based on their preferred buyer persona.

For example:

The quality score of Mark is higher than Nicole and John’s because based on the criteria set, CEO as a job title has more weight than sales heads and interns.

The quality score of these three leads makes it evident that Mark must be chased by the first. This assists the sales team in prioritizing their tasks and prevents wasting time in invaluable leads. Even though quality and lead scoring assist users in understanding buyers’ intent to a certain degree, it can never completely replace human interaction with the customer. However, it does save a lot of energy and time spent if the software is set properly.

5. Lead nurturing

Most companies do a great job when it comes to generating leads, but the issue is that most of these leads aren’t ready to make a purchase. This results in losing the lead or being taken by your competitors.

To avoid this, marketers have to invest time in lead nurturing and Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) methods to build relationships, earning the lead’s business once the customer is ready to make a purchase.

Experts agree that there is nothing called dead leads. Even though leads may not transform into buying customers or profit at a certain moment, this can change in the future. Many of them might never make a purchase of the company, but if you provide them with a great experience in the beginning (an e-book, blog post, etc.), the least that will happen is that these customers become brand advocates.

The moment you find out why a certain lead isn’t interested in your products or services, your marketing/sales team can work to change their opinion. This category will probably make the largest part of leads in your database. They will enter the lead nurturing cycle, and then passed to sales whenever they’re ready.

Lead nurturing involves consistently engaging and communicating with leads across multiple channels, by sharing information they find interesting. These channels include email campaigns, triggered e-mails, SMS, or even through using social media tools like Facebook and Twitter. Drip marketing is also a very popular method used, and you can find out more about it here.

The steps above are the essential elements needed to make up a successful lead management system. The buying process is constantly changing, and marketers must find new ways to attract buyers and overcome competition. Instead of attracting customers with techniques like mass advertising or e-mail blasts, they now should focus on building a continuous relationship with customers and being found.

The next step would be to choose the right lead management software for your business.

Every business uses lead management software differently, depending on their customer base, and products/services offered.

In many cases, your mobile phone can act as a lead management software, whereas in other cases, you will have to implement a complex CRM lead management system to manage leads. This difference mainly depends on the size of the business and services offered.

Before you begin searching for lead management software, you should first plan your lead management process. The next step would be looking at all the different vendors, and then begin mapping your requirements based on the features they offer.

Here are some questions that can help you gain clarity on what you might need: -

Q1. What is the aim of using a sales lead management software? Different reasons can include:

1. Increase sales

The purpose of lead management software here is to combine sales and marketing efforts to converge on to the common goal, and that’s increasing sales. Apart from acting like lead databases, the software tracks activities of all the different leads. This results in triggering marketing actions, such as sending offers and promotions using email and SMS. The sales team will then be notified when leads perform any essential actions such as: checking out the costs and spending a lot of time on sales centrist pages.

2. Increasing the number of leads

Not every business wants to sell in the beginning or on the first go directly. Some businesses would need to collect data from different channels, and then strike their conversation with customers using SMS, messengers, or periodic emails. Such businesses would usually implement a solid lead capture mechanism from all the significant lead generation channels, using tools like surveys and other lead capture widgets.

3. Analytics

Most businesses want to get insights into what’s happening in the lead funnel. For example, sources generating the revenue, conversion analytics at every stage, lagging communication points, and the response time of sales rep. These insights are invaluable in empowering the whole lead management process. The need for this type of lead management software is to have access to customized reporting.

Q2. Can the lead management software be modified to my business?

Since the lead management process differs for each business, you need to make sure that the system you implement is flexible enough to adapt to your existing business process.

For example, if a financial organization wants to sell different types of insurance policies, it will first map lead attributes, such as government ID numbers, salaries, etc. They will then validate these details using lead management software.

Apart from this, businesses should check if their lead management CRM organizes and maps out different customer stages well. There are many businesses that have more than twenty lead stages. However, it is important to ensure that they’re all covered right from the beginning. Once you have 50,000 leads, for example, mapped to various stages, and various rules set to move leads between the different stages, remodeling them again isn’t going to be easy.

Q3. Does my software capture leads from all significant lead sources?

Today, there are infinite lead generation channels, and this is going to increase in the future. Whether you’re looking to enhance sales, or expand your customer database, lead capture automation is still the most sought out lead management system feature.

Apart from e-mail and chat, lead aggregator websites are becoming a popular source in generating leads. There are other paid and unpaid sources to consider as well, including social media websites like Google and Facebook Ads, Twitter, etc.

Inbound and outbound marketing tools can be used by businesses as well. Outbound marketing includes using outbound channels to introduce your message and content to your prospects, usually through rented attention, instead of making content readily available on your own website, for example.

Inbound marketing refers to the process of assisting potential customers in finding your company, before they’re even looking to buy a product/service, and then turning this early awareness into leads, brand preferences, and ultimately, profit.

Q4. Do I have a professional field sales team?

This is an important question to answer. If your business heavily depends on a field sales team, then you should track their activities too.

A field sales team could be responsible for going from home-to-home, and for recruiting new customers for you. Or, they could be responsible for following up with leads by sending them subscription e-mails or new blog posts. This will differ from one company to another. For example, software businesses with large-sized deals were using customized solutions are required by the sales team.

If this is the case, the sales lead management software should allow the field sales reps to manage leads from their mobile devices effectively. The laptop could become impractical, both on a logistic basis and cost-wise.

So, online lead management software should have the ability to:

Enter data related to leads while on the move from a mobile app.

Utilize incoming calls as possible leads.

While on the move, enable sales reps to check any details related to leads.

Set tasks and check their meeting calendars on their mobile.

Make them more productive because working on the mobile application is a lot easier than on the laptop.

It would also enable you, as the business owner to:

Assess their performance based on the number of meetings attended daily (if logging their activities takes time, your reps would prevent doing it, messing your reports up).

Create an incentive structure for them because this will enable you to compare the distance they traveled, the different meetings they attended, against the actual deals they were able to close successfully.

Therefore, if you have a field sales set-up, your sales lead management software should be able to handle and sync the data across devices.

So, once again, these are a few things your lead management software must be able to take care of; if you need to manage your multi-location organization on it.

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