It is likely that you have heard of the concept “lead management“. However, it is quite disheartening that despite the spreading relevance of lead management, a lot of B2B organizations still don’t take it seriously. Do you know that only 2% of B2B organizations touch leads with lead nurturing on an annual basis? 9% on a daily basis, 22% on a weekly basis, and 34% on a monthly basis!
Consequently, the statistics have reported that 73% of all companies have no formal process for re-engaging, managing, or nurturing leads after a sale. This definitely explains the reason why 80% of marketing leads are lost, ignored, or discarded.
What is Lead Management
Lead management simply refers to the act of monitoring and managing a network of potential customers. It can also be referred to as customer acquisition management or contact management. Lead management describes the process by which a marketing unit gathers, processes, nurtures, and delivers leads to the sales unit.
(Also Read: Lead Generation: A Complete Guide )
Why You Need Lead Management
It has been observed that in many cases, several businesses don’t understand the precious value of lead management. In fact, it is typical for organizations to have no provisions for the adequate management of their leads. Consequently, this causes them to spend unnecessary amount of time and money in the process of finding qualified buyers.
Thus, below is a compilation of very cogent points that will demonstrate the importance of lead management to you.
Lead management helps you to keep close tabs on your leads.
This is done by enabling you to interact with them at accurately the appropriate phase of the customer’s purchase journey. The essence of this is that a more-likely conversion is enhanced.
It allows you to personalize your communication
When you have a good lead management system, you are already equipped with all the necessary information you need, when you need then. Thus, it becomes a piece of cake for you to customize your communication with your potential customers.
Lead management enables businesses to utilize annual email automation and lead nurturing
It’s a beautiful thing that lead nurturing and email automation are optimized when a business implements lead management. Consequently, the business is empowered to greatly reduce the countless time spent on the computer and enabled to interact with the most promising prospects.
Lead management increases the effectiveness of your sales team
This is another vital reason that emphasizes why a lead management solution is undoubtedly essential for you. Lead management helps to make sure that your sales unit is highly effective. This is done by drafting a list of prospective customers and unchecking any unqualified leads.
Lead vs. Customer
A lot of people have heard of lead management as it is usually mentioned as a feature when talking about customer relationship management (CRM). This probably explains why it is sometimes hard to differentiate between a lead and a customer.
Basically, a lead is an individual that features in your targeted demography and market. A lead is open to learning more about the services you have to provide. On the other hand, a customer is an individual who has already patronized you and purchased your product.
Lead Management Process
A productive and satisfactory lead management process comprises of the following 5 stages:
During the process of lead generation, it is expected that you have interacted with your prospective customers through different online means such as paid ads, webinars, social media platforms, email etc. It is therefore not feasible that you compile these leads manually, especially if you are dealing with a high volume of data.
Lead capturing involves the automatic registration of every lead into the system, so that no prospect is left out. This stage of lead management captures the source of the information/lead. This will help you to know which marketing campaigns are working and which aren’t.
When a lead is registered on the system, the prospect’s profile automatically shows publicly available data such as their digital media handles, business name, and job title. The essence of this stage of lead management is that it makes sure your sales team is not mandated to spend unnecessary time on research and manual data entry.
Lead tracking allows you to monitor the activities of the leads on your websites, such as the links they clicked, the pages visited, and the resources downloaded. It also allows you to track the lead’s interaction with your product, as well as email engagement. These beneficial insights provided by lead tracking, will empower your sales unit to understand the interests of your leads, and then customize sales campaigns.
Lead Qualification and Lead Scoring
Via lead scoring, it becomes easy and effective to qualify leads. Basically, this stage of lead management is a system that ranks leads according to their demographic data and interaction with your business. Lead scoring involves the allocation of scores to leads according to their activity on your website and product, job title, interaction with your email, and country.
The importance of this stage of lead management is that it allows your sales team to invest quality time in chasing the right sales leads for the organization, by quickly distinguishing between qualified and unqualified prospects.
This stage in a successful lead management process involves the automatic allocation of leads to sales representatives. It becomes easy for your sales team to prioritize leads when you efficiently distribute leads to the appropriate units and sales officers. Lead distribution enables you to determine the areas that are most profitable, the potential sales territories that need improvement, and members of the sales team who are exceeding the targets.
You need to understand that not all your leads will be sales-ready. A lot of them may still be in the awareness stage, while others could still be researching and trying to confirm if your brand will satisfy their needs. This is why it is the primary objective of this stage of lead management to create and deliver nurture campaigns to these set of leads that are not yet ready to complete the purchase.
In lead nurturing, you have to enlighten and demonstrate value through promotional offers, content, and the likes. Here, you have to assist them in their decision-making process by demonstrating how your business can provide the desired solutions to their needs.
(Download Whitepaper: What Is Lead Generation?)
Best Practices for Lead Management
Basically, there are 5 best practices that every business should observe when implementing lead management. They include:
Leverage targeted content for lead capturing
In lead management strategy, targeted content is an essential factor. Most especially for B2B companies, targeted contents help to portray your brand as a leading player and expert, as well as being a seller in your niche. In fact, product reviews and how-to-guides for B2C businesses (for example cosmetics and lifestyle) can greatly influence trust and long-lasting loyalty in customers.
Make use of cleaned lead data always
Whatever data is contained in your sales and marketing system will ultimately determine the final outcomes of your campaigns. This simply interprets that if your sales and CRM funnel houses terrible leads, then by implication, your team will only be spending unnecessary efforts on ineffective campaigns and poor follow-ups.
The impact of lead management efforts should be measured
This is pretty straightforward. It is a necessary best practice for you to track the outcomes of each lead campaigns in order to identify the ones that are yielding the most satisfactory results.
Throw a vast net at the top of the funnel
We do not recommend that you start your lead management strategy by concentrating on the hot leads. It is most likely that your first network of leads will be comprised of a mix of several prospects at various phases of the purchase journey.
When you focus on capturing only big leads, there is a possibility that you are losing the prospective ‘warm’ customers, that you could nurture into solid conversion. This is why we advise that you employ strategies such as paid display advertising, social media presence.
Join hands with the sales teams
As experts and professionals, we will always put unending emphasis on the importance of collaboration between marketing and sales teams in order to realize a successful lead management strategy. Typically, it is the responsibility of the marketing team to generate leads, while the sales team are tasked with follow up duties, as well as managing, and converting the prospects. Through collaborative efforts, these two units can achieve higher conversion rates and improve customer experiences.
Problems of Lead Management
Leads require extensive formatting and cleaning
This is indeed one is the biggest problems that is often faced in lead management system. It is not news that majority of marketers generate leads from a plethora of various sources such as digital advertising, tradeshows, websites, or through customer service teams. The issue now is that with each source comes a specific layered approach for classification and management.
For instance, a lead generated from an online platform might comprise of very precise, intent-signaling details like engineering specifications or project timelines. However, this would be in contrast to a lead generated from a digital campaign which would likely contain plenty non-contextual details such as email address and name.
Therefore, because each source can produce widely varying qualities of lead data, managers usually generate leads that are not deemed to be “sales-ready”.
Time-consuming effects of manual sending of leads
Do you know that according to a report from the Harvard Business Review, “47% of leads are contacted more than 24 hours after the initial customer inquiry”. By implication, this significantly affects the chances of making a sale.
One major reason for this is because leads usually get stuck in nurturing models or CRM systems. This means it could take as long as weeks for a lead to even be prepared to be sent to channel partners.
Lack of Feedback on Leads Results
In certain cases, managers have no insight into when, or if, a lead is being contacted after a qualified lead has been transferred to a distributor for follow-up. In addition, they have no way of knowing whether a lead ended in a sale, the worth of the sale, or if the lead was even qualified to start with.
This means that the old-fashioned, manual one-on-one communication is the only way to get information from distributors. This open-loop solicitation method is naturally ineffective in keeping track of leads and encouraging sales.
Lead Management Solution
Marketing automation and data appending
The first solution, which pertains to the first problem discussed above, is marketing automation. Due to the distinct data structures associated with various lead sources, lead managers therefore need to inculcate the ability to aggregate and format their leads in a uniform manner without having to compromise the important intricacies of the data.
On the other hand, data appending is a faster solution that businesses can use to covert a lead into “sales-ready” in give or take 8 hours.
Automate the lead routing process
It has been observed that 75% of sales are gotten by the business that follows up first on the lead. This is why it is pertinent to get leads into your sales channels’ system as fast as you can. The solution to achieving this is the automation of lead routing process. This can help to maximize revenue by 10% or more in just 6 months.
The use of CRM system
This is obviously the solution to the inability to hold distributors accountable for lead feedback. Nonetheless, you would have to put in efforts to get channel partners to log in and report on every single lead that they get.
Therefore, the we highly recommend that you to adopt a simplified lead management solution that will promote, and not hinder your sales process. This will help to effectively impact distributor participation and their feedback.
How a Lead Management Strategy can help your Business?
To a very large extent, a lead management strategy can greatly influence your business’s growth. This is because lead management basically enables you to monitor the complete process from the first contact to the sales process, and to lifetime cycle.
In contemporary times, the automation of sales processes in lead management is becoming highly popular and significant. This is because automated databases are vital in the successful management of sales funnels. The option of sales automation under lead management will help businesses to make sure that meetings, demos, calls, and even revenue, are not falling through the cracks.
Furthermore, lead management is the pillar of a successful sales operation. It helps to ensure that the first step in the sales cycle which is to create qualified opportunities, and ultimately, satisfied customers, is realized.
Importantly, an effective lead management strategy will help your business to highlight tactics that are achieving the most desirable outcomes. By implication, you are empowered to evaluate which methods and strategies are effective and those that are not yielding the best results. This will position you to accurately make efficient and effective business decisions.
In conclusion, it is conspicuous that lead management is an essential business strategy if you are looking forward to maximizing your revenue generation. Start practicing the best lead management strategies today, and you’ll be surprised how large your network of customers will grow.