Lead management aims to connect marketing and sales, establishing a meeting ground between these essential functions. At its most basic, this customer acquisition strategy identifies new customers (leads), informs and engages them, and moves qualified leads from marketing to sales.
Does your business adhere to a structured and efficient workflow for lead management? This will improve your marketing and sales ROI and substantially impact overall revenues.
What is a Lead Management Workflow?
By analyzing customer data, lead management is a set of processes to understand how likely a lead will zero in on a purchasing decision. A lead management workflow facilitates the advancement of customers through the funnel by using nurturing techniques.
Because of the difficulty of manually managing leads, marketing automation software is almost always needed for any contemporary lead management strategy. While some businesses try to automate lead scoring using a spreadsheet, this requires extracting consumer data and analytics from different channels.
Now, this is impossible to accomplish at scale; Any modern organization will need lead management tools capable of streamlining and automating the workflow.
Critical Steps in the Lead Management Workflow
Lead generation is the first step in any lead management workflow, culminating with the sales handoff. Your team executes outbound and inbound marketing campaigns to generate leads across multiple platforms, including social media. A B2B customer is considered a “prospect” when interacting with your brand or marketing materials by performing an action that exhibits interest (like submitting a form).
Lead monitoring is the next stage, wherein you identify leads that are an even better match for your organization. Tracking and reviewing the specifics of a prospect’s progression across a sales funnel is termed lead tracking.
Next, lead qualification begins, during which a numerical rating is assigned to each lead in line with their conduct and interactions, acting as an indicator of their purchasing readiness. Sales agents are allocated qualified prospects and start talking and interacting with them in a bid to close the deal.
These stages must be designed and optimized for maximum returns when setting up an effective lead management workflow.
How to Set Up an Effective Lead Management Workflow? 5 Best Practices
Companies often face a scenario where leads don’t convert into sales, or the number of leads passing through the funnel isn’t worth the investment. To prevent this, organizations can:
Diversify your lead generation channels
An effective lead management workflow begins with a strong lead generation strategy.
One can earn a high ranking for specific keywords, particularly those that convey purchasing intent, by optimizing website and blog posts with relevant keywords. Therefore, achieving a higher ranking on Google lets you increase website traffic. Direct response marketing is another emerging trend in lead management workflows.
This category of promotional content elicits an instantaneous response that prompts the target audience to take immediate action.
Almost every platform, including Facebook, YouTube, and Google, presents ways for running native advertising. They even allow marketers to set up CTAs within the ad, such as buying products via a YouTube ad or downloading a newsletter on Facebook.
Position lead magnets at the correct stages of the funnel
Customers receive a lead magnet as a complimentary product or exclusive offer in exchange for their contact details. Additional resources may include supplementary materials – a discount code, webinars, white papers, eBooks, or templates.
During the early stages of the sales process, when potential customers are just starting to recognize their concerns, offering educational and user-friendly content, such as checklists and templates, is critical. Conversely, prospects who have progressed partially across the funnel demonstrate an essential understanding of their concerns. So, the middle-funnel lead magnet must highlight how your offering can fix or remedy the target’s issues through case studies and video demonstrations.
Those prospects at the bottom of the sales funnel are ready to purchase the product or the solution. The magnets must, at this juncture, point out the reasons why your product is better than those of your competitors.
You can achieve this with a free trial, discount/coupon, or comparison chart.
Assign a lead owner for each high-value contact
Establishing real-time submission notifications is advisable to alert the marketing, sales, and customer success teams whenever a new prospect comes in through the CRM. In addition to establishing these alerts, it’s advisable to configure workflows that allocate generated leads automatically to the corresponding lead proprietor/assignee within the marketing or sales departments.
“Round-robin” is one method by which the lead distribution workflow may be configured. Each generated lead will subsequently be allocated to a particular lead proprietor based on a rotational queue. The other strategy involves appointing a lead administrator to oversee screening newly generated leads before moving them to sales as deemed appropriate.
Whichever workflow you choose, having a predetermined routing methodology is essential so that your leads stay visible.
Adopt a data-driven segmentation process
Market segmentation entails segmenting the target audience into specialized categories based on predetermined standards. By thoroughly researching the target audience and buyer personas, you’ll be mindful of which demographics will likely purchase from you.
Think of a business where software is shared with senior administrators. If the marketing lead fails to implement a lead segmentation framework, resources might be incorrectly assigned; executives could end up chasing customer types/personas that aren’t a good fit for the product.
Typically, companies segment their audiences based on:
- Demographics: This includes demographic data on the consumer, such as age, gender, occupation, location, and education.
- Psychographics: Segmentation factors in the personality traits, beliefs, desires, and way of life of an individual.
- User behavior: Past behavior is an excellent indicator of the prospect’s level of interest. A prospect who contacts you might already be aware of your brand and is looking at a purchase sometime soon.
Through accurate segmentation, it is possible to streamline the lead management workflow and ensure the right actions are applied to the suitable leads.
Design the workflow to follow up on leads that don’t convert automatically
An effective lead management workflow should continue after conversion. Setting up the workflow to follow up after drop-off and maintain some engagement can pay rich dividends.
Getting a personal sales rep to follow up with a sales-qualified lead might be optimal, especially if the lead has previously interacted with a sales agent. On the other hand, if marketing-qualified leads fail to move forward with requests for live demonstrations, consulting calls, or upgrading to a premium subscription, it’s wise to switch to a marketing strategy-led approach for future communication – e.g., through lead magnets.
Effective lead management workflows often focus heavily on remarketing ads. This is because their ROI is far higher – driven by the audience’s pre-existing affinity with their brand. On top of that, prospects will probably go through numerous advertisements across platforms, each reaffirming the brand’s ubiquity.
Next Steps: Analyzing Lead Management Workflow Outcomes to Optimize Continuously
Once processes are established, the only way to keep pushing forward – is to assess the outcomes at each step of lead management. Assess whether the leads you collect are free-trial users, information-qualified leads (IQL), marketing-qualified leads (MQL), or sales-qualified leads (SQL).
Also, calculating the opt-in and sale conversion rates is vital. A low opt-in rate indicates that the lead magnet wasn’t compelling. To enhance sales conversion rates, rolling out supplementary sales training or taking a wholly different approach to lead harvesting may be necessary.
And as a caveat, the lifetime value of a customer is a measure of how robust and viable your business model is in the long term.
An effective lead management workflow is a gift that keeps on giving. It is crucial not just for sales and marketing success but for the sustained growth of an organization. CMOs that successfully iron out any bottlenecks from this process can expect great ROI and maximization of resources, enabling the business to thrive.