Lead management: 7 tips for success
What is lead management?
Lead management is the process of identifying, tracking and communicating with prospects to turn them into new customers. It's about gathering and organising data at each interaction to understand the lead's position in the sales funnel and communicate with them accordingly. Lead nurturing — building stronger relationships with prospective customers — is an integral part of the lead management process.
Who handles lead management?
The sales and marketing functions in a company handle lead management. Typically, marketing teams and individuals are responsible for lead generation and nurture, whereas sales teams take over the relationship with qualified leads who may be ready to buy. In many small and medium-sized businesses, the same people may be responsible for both sales and marketing.
As the company grows and lead management becomes more complex, a customer relationship management (CRM) system becomes increasingly important in providing a single customer view and enabling effective lead management.
How do businesses manage leads?
1. Generate leads
The first step is building brand awareness and generating leads. Various strategies can attract your audience's attention, including online advertising, content marketing, social media and events. For instance, an ecommerce marketing firm might host a webinar on effective email sales strategies to share knowledge while highlighting their services.
The goal is to generate interest in your business, but also to get contact details for your leads. With the ability to continue to engage with potential customers, you’re better able to anticipate their needs and more likely to be able to move them down your sales funnel towards purchase.
2. Capture data
Whatever lead generation activities you choose, it’s critical that you capture your leads’ information effectively. You can do this through a lead capture form in exchange for valuable content or a discount code, for example.
Consider what data you need — usually name, email, phone number, but in a business-to-business context you may also want company name, size, industry, job title and more.
You’ll need a system that can be sorted and filtered for effective data capture and lead management. This is where a CRM comes in, making it easy for you to store data and manage your leads in one centralised system.
3. Score leads
Lead scoring ranks and prioritises leads based on their likelihood of becoming paying customers. This methodology helps sales and marketing teams focus on leads more likely to convert.
There are two main types of lead scoring - implicit lead scoring and explicit lead scoring:
Implicit lead scoring
Implicit lead scoring is based on observed behaviours and inferred information that suggest strong interest and engagement. The lead may, for example, visit your website, open your emails, download your content, engage with you on social media, sign up for your webinars — all these actions would increase their lead score by suggesting their readiness to purchase.
Explicit lead scoring
Explicit lead scoring is based on information that leads provide directly, usually through forms or surveys. It assigns scores based on specific attributes that the company deems valuable in determining lead quality and fit. In a business-to-business context, you may score a lead higher or lower according to their job title and decision-making authority, for example.
4. Distribute leads
Assign leads to the most suitable sales reps to boost successful conversions. Factors to consider include expertise, product knowledge, track record, location, current sales pipeline, personal preferences and more.
As much as possible, you’ll want to ensure a balanced distribution across the team, while engendering the best possible sales outcomes for your business.
5. Contact leads
Consider the optimal way to engage with each lead. For example, phone calls allow rapport-building and personalised service but are time-consuming. Emails are easier to automate with a CRM but are easier for leads to ignore.
6. Nurture leads
Nurturing leads involves building trust with prospective customers at every sales funnel stage. Most leads need at least 8 touchpoints before buying, highlighting the need for relationship-building before closing a deal.
A key factor in lead nurturing is your sales cadence — how and when you contact your qualified leads. A well-planned sales cadence has many benefits, as it helps you:
organise your prospecting efforts
engage leads on a timely and ongoing basis
educate prospects on the value of your offer
discover more about your lead’s specific pain points and needs
overcome sales objections and answer questions
support prospects in the decision-making process until they are ready to buy.
Ultimately, a structured and consistent sales cadence improves the performance of your lead management system.
Pro tip: Stay on top of your sales cadence by setting up automated emails and reminders in your CRM to make sales calls.
7. Follow up
It’s incredibly rare for a sale to happen at the first point of contact a sales rep has with a lead. Following up is vital to a successful lead management system. Here are several ways to continue nurturing qualified leads:
Offer a live demo of your product or service or a free trial.
Provide a free consultation with a sales rep to find out more about the lead’s challenges.
Personalise ads and marketing content based on how leads use your website.
Continuously track leads and gather data in your CRM, so you can further personalise your follow-up efforts.
Use your CRM for lead management
As your business grows and scales, the importance of effective lead management with CRM software becomes extremely clear. However, you can get even better results for your business when your CRM is integrated into your broader business management platform.
MYOB is a business management platform that addresses the six core workflows that any business may need to handle: customers, suppliers, projects, employees, finance, accounting and tax. Cloud-based, you only pay for the software you need, but can add on capabilities across all workflows as your business matures and your needs become more complex.
At MYOB, we have you covered.