Regardless of your industry, finding and nurturing the right leads is crucial. It’s what makes the difference between converting a prospect into a loyal, paying customer or wasting time and money on unqualified people.
Therefore, it makes sense to sharpen the focus on your lead management and optimize it at every stage. In fact, research shows that automating your lead management process can increase sales revenue by 10% in just six months.
Lead management results will depend heavily on the strategies and tools you choose, so consider trying different methods to find potential customers on social media, such as using LinkedIn automated messages or prospecting on Facebook, to stimulate and capture people’s interest in your product or service.
So in this article, we’ll cover the key steps you need to optimize your lead management process. That way, you can implement the right system for your sales team and consumer market.
First, let’s elaborate on what lead management entails:
What is Lead Management?
Lead management is the process of creating leads, qualifying them for sales, recording their progress, and then passing them to sales at the right time. To put it another way, your lead management process consists of several parts, each of which is crucial to the trajectory of your business.
You can conceptualize lead management like a game of Jenga. Instability in one area — such as lead gen, routing, lead scoring, or timing — can bring your whole lead gen process to fall down, and you’ll lose prospects. So it’s essential to get each part right.
Why is a Lead Management Process Important?
So what makes your lead management process so vital for growth and stability? It turns out, there are several reasons why lead management is essential, including:
- Target the right prospects – choosing the right people to do business with, and pursue in the first place, is a top priority.
- Make your sales process more efficient – when your marketing team can identify better leads, they can create better content. Your sales funnel won’t waste any steps in converting new leads.
- Increase closing ratios – there are two parts to the closing equation. The first is ensuring you have quality salespeople with a great attitude and solid training. The second is ensuring they are speaking with the right leads to increase their closing ratio.
- Make the sales team more productive – when your sales reps don’t have to chase down unqualified leads, they can spend their time on true revenue-boosting activities. Sales CRM help you free up your sales reps for higher ROI tasks.
- Know your results for improvement – an excellent lead management process is one that can be tracked step by step to identify weak points and increase closed deals.
Now that you know what lead management is and why it matters so much to your business, let’s talk about the actionable steps you can take to optimize it:
7 Ways to Optimize Your Lead Management Process
1. Craft Your Buyer Persona
Before you begin any other step, you first need to define your buyer persona. Also called an avatar, your buyer persona lists important traits that each qualified prospect should have, such as:
- Role / Title
- Pain Points
Every step of lead management should keep this buyer persona in mind. Your prospects will feel like you are talking just to them, one on one.
2. Make Lead Capture Customized
To optimize your lead management, you need to ensure you’re collecting the proper data when you convert the lead. No two leads are the same, so you need to customize your lead capture stage with elements like:
- Custom Forms – Every visitor to your site will be at a different stage in the buyer journey, also known as levels of awareness. Create different forms for different lead capture portals, such as a webinar or a free trial landing page.
- Chatbots – Modern chatbots are great at emulating real conversations that make prospects more comfortable providing personal information quickly online.
- A/B Testing – Always test your lead capture methods against a second method. One is bound to convert at a higher rate.
3. Use Lead Scoring
A lead scoring system is a vital part of optimizing your overall lead management process. Scoring a lead means assigning them a number to rank their sales readiness, based on criteria you’ve determined for qualifying prospects.
This improves the alignment of your sales and marketing. It also allows the sales team to follow up in a timely manner with the right leads, in a relatively automated fashion.
4. Create Targeted Content to Nurture Leads
What do you do with leads who are qualified, but not scored highly? In other words, they could be a great fit but not until later on. The answer is to nurture these leads on autopilot.
You can achieve this by emailing lead certain types of content at the right stage of their buying journey. This helps move them closer to being sales-ready without being pushy. For example, if you’re a real estate agent with a potential client in the very beginning stages of their search, you might send them helpful content about what a real estate agent actually does.
Or, if you’re willing to invest in a webinar platform, you can offer an informational webinar to the group of qualified leads who haven’t converted in an effort to provide them with valuable information, but also build trust with them.
5. Outline Clear Parameters for Passing Off Leads
Lead routing, or passing off leads, is a critical step in the overall sales process. An online lead could go cold quickly, so your marketing department must alert sales at just the right time in the right way.
At a minimum, optimize this handoff by outlining a few criteria:
- Handoff timeline
- Followup expectations
- How to determine which rep gets assigned the lead
By having clear parameters for lead routing, you’ll get in touch with the hottest leads in the pipeline and increase overall sales.
6. Maintain Your Database
Maintaining good data hygiene isn’t the most fun aspect of lead management. However, it is incredibly vital to ensure our lead data is accurate. Some good practices to implement are:
- Scrubbing duplicate entries – use a data analysis tool to find duplicate information or names, and delete it monthly.
- Implementing automatic verification – ensure email addresses and phone numbers are live with automated verification.
- Detail hygiene protocols – tell your team how, and when, they should be cleaning their databases to make good database hygiene a habit.
7. Integrate Technologies
A large part of your lead management optimization depends on the technology you’re using. The right lead management technology should help you systematically capture, organize, and update leads.
Invest in marketing technology that removes tedious work from sales and marketing and allows them to do what they do best.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Common questions that entrepreneurs and other business leaders have about the lead management process are:
Which companies benefit most from lead management processes?
Lead management is a universal concept. While particular tactics may vary depending on the business size, industry, and target customer, the principles remain the same. In short, every company can benefit from lead management.
Is it time-consuming to optimize your lead management process?
There’s no beating around the bush — some sharp thinking and scheduled blocks of time will be needed to establish your company’s lead management process. However, it will take less time than you might think. And in the end, it will actually save you and your team significant time by having a scalable, optimized process.
What is the difference between lead management and lead nurturing?
The difference between lead management and lead nurturing is like the difference between a rectangle and a square. A square is a type of rectangle, just like lead nurturing is part of the lead management process.
Whereas lead management involves the entire process of converting a lead from start to finish, lead nurturing revolves around building the relationship with that prospect.
In today’s business landscape, companies have a unique problem. In the past, the main challenge was getting access to enough potential clients or customers. Today, you can reach hundreds and thousands of potential leads in seconds using social media and other tools.
Therefore, companies now face the opposite challenge: being selective in a sea of contacts. Your sales and marketing team only has so much time and bandwidth in the day.
Perhaps that is why 91% of marketers mention lead management as their top goal, and it should be yours too. Implement the tips above and have peace of mind that your lead management process is efficient and profitable.