If we know one thing about lead management, it’s that it’s not easy. What works for one company isn’t always the right approach for another. When it comes to generating new business and managing the sales process, every company needs a defined lead management process that will get sales the leads they want and marketing the recognition they deserve.
But that’s a lot easier said than done, isn’t it? With the interests of multiple departments at stake, it can be hard to come up with a set process that will satisfy all parties. Fortunately, we’ve got your back. Sometimes, all you need is a little push in the right direction to get you started.
Here are our 7 simple tips for fail-proof lead management:
1. Know your buyer profile.
Sales and marketing need to be on the same page. Are you selling to B2B or B2C? Small companies or enterprise? What’s their annual revenue look like? What about the length of their sales cycle? Are you selling to a CEO, marketing director, or other decision maker? Set up a profile that both departments can reference so that the definition of a “good lead” always matches up.
2. Score and grade leads.
Once you know your buyer profile, it should be easier to set and weigh criteria that will tell you whether or not a lead is a good fit. Instead of manually sifting through lead data, use a system like marketing automation to do this kind of thing for you. With scoring and grading rules in place, you can assure that leads are getting passed from marketing to sales exactly when you want them to be.
3. Define the difference between interest and intent.
Are leads looking at white papers and webinars, or are they browsing more action-oriented items like buyer’s guides and pricing information? If they’re just poking around on your site, they’re showing interest. But if they’re showing more initiative, like signing up for product demonstrations and viewing pricing information, that indicates intent. These are going to be your hotter leads. Make sure your sales and marketing teams understand the difference between these two behaviors by having a clear definition of what actions matter the most.
4. Collect (the right) information from leads.
An important part of lead management is creating forms and landing pages to collect lead information. Have sales and marketing agree on what information is the most critical to collect, whether it’s job title, industry, or location. Depending on how you qualify and assign leads, certain criteria will be more important than others. Include these fields on your forms, keeping in mind that the longer your forms, the lower your conversion rates.
5. Nurture leads who aren’t quite sales-ready.
Lead nurturing, or the building of relationships with leads through tactics like drip campaigns (emails that drip content to leads over time), is an important part of lead management. During the sales process, you’ll often encounter leads who aren’t ready to buy, and won’t be ready for several months. Instead of giving up on them, you can place them on lead nurturing tracks to keep your company’s product or service top of mind.
6. Develop content to support lead nurturing efforts.
When it comes to lead nurturing, many companies find themselves unprepared from a content perspective. To send drip emails that are both effective and relevant, you need to have an existing store of content that you can pull from. Take the time to build up this content before deploying any of your lead nurturing campaigns.
7. Track and report.
Take advantage of any reporting functionalities you have at your fingertips to constantly track and measure your lead management efforts. For example, marketing automation allows you to report on drip campaigns and see how many prospects were converted to opportunities or closed deals. Taking a look at your metrics gives you great insight into what you’re doing well, while also helping to identify points of improvement.