You probably organize your clothes in a wardrobe or on a shelf if you’re a minimalist.
Imagine you woke up one day and discovered you’re a popular Kardashian or Jenner, with a massive collection of clothes and accessories. It would be a nightmare if you tried to organize everything the same way you would organize your wardrobe.
Many businesses without a robust lead management system are in a similar situation when their sales pipeline gets flooded with new leads.
Several celebrities have “wardrobes” spanning the size of multiple bedrooms, resembling a fashion store. The clothes and accessories are segmented into genres and subgenres based on colors, types, and occasions. Extra care is taken to display each article and to label which clothes were worn at particular events.
We can learn a thing or two from celebrity closets to manage leads more efficiently. In this article, we cover what lead management is, why it’s necessary, and how to do it effectively.
What Is Lead Management?
Lead management includes methods and systems you use to attract potential buyers and convert them into customers.
Successful lead management consists of several steps. The first step involves generating leads and feeding them into your sales funnel. Along the way, you track your prospects’ behavior, segment them into multiple campaigns, and nurture them with relevant content. After they fulfill your predefined conditions of a qualified lead, you pass them onto the appropriate sales representative.
3 Reasons You Need an Efficient Lead Management System
Now that we have an idea of what lead management is, let’s look into how an automated lead management system saves your time, increases the quality of leads, and boosts conversion rates. Here’s why you need an efficient lead management system:
1. Avoids Lead Leakage
When you started your first business, you might have recalled all your leads from memory. As you grew, you likely maintained an Excel Sheet. Further down the line, when you attracted leads from multiple sources, things got confusing and beyond Sheets’ capability.
Leads at different stages of the sales cycle make it difficult for your team to collaborate effectively. As a result, you’re likely to miss follow-ups and lead engagement. An efficient lead management system helps to keep everything organized and avoid lead leakages.
2. Fosters Consistency and Predictability
An automated system allows you to take a quantitative approach to lead generation and management. Based on the response and conversion rates, you can estimate how many emails you need to send to achieve your target. It eliminates guesswork and enables you to manage your resources better.
3. Enables Testing and Finds Bottlenecks
Businesses with a growth mindset test new ideas and strategies regularly. It keeps them innovative and ahead of their competitors. Automated lead management systems like QuickMail allows you to A/B test multiple subject lines, email messages, call-to-actions, and value propositions. You can also test at the campaign level by varying target audiences and industry verticals.
With a solid lead management strategy, it’s easier to locate problems in your prospecting and sales process. For example, if your open rates drop significantly from your average open rates, it’s likely due to a new subject line, unverified email list, or a drop in deliverability. Through A/B testing, you easily find the probable cause for your problem.
The Lead Management Process
From prospecting to closing, lead management can automate repetitive tasks and use artificial intelligence to generate, track, qualify, distribute, and nurture leads. Let’s dive deeper into the five steps of the automated lead management process.
During the lead generation process, you try to establish a connection with potential customers through email, social media, phone calls, or ads. QuickMail allows you to integrate CRM software such as HubSpot, Marketo, and SalesForce into it through Zapier. Through integration, you ensure that leads from all your sources are fed into the lead management system. You can categorize leads from different sources into different campaigns and nurture them accordingly.
In the second level of the lead management process, you cultivate your leads’ interest and transform it into a purchase intention through data. Marketing automation helps your sales team keep track of the lead actions, which gives them an idea of their behavior. In the QuickMail dashboard, you can filter data such as opens, replies, repeat opens, repeat clicks, and more.
You can also track lead activities outside email marketing campaigns. Here are some examples:
- Phone/Skype call
- Downloading a white paper
- Visiting your landing page
- Signing up for a free trial
- Agreeing to a strategic session
- Watching a webinar
- Filling out a web form
In a survey of 1,745 marketers, 61% of their leads were sent directly to sales — 73% of those were unqualified. There is no point in chasing leads that are not an ideal fit for you or are less likely to convert.
Lead scoring comes in handy in the lead qualification process. Lead management tools assign a score to each lead based on its profile and actions. For example, the CEO of a marketing agency who checked your web page twice is more likely to sign up for a free trial than a university student who only opened your initial email.
Marketing automation saves a ton of time and effort, but you need human intervention to know the true intent of the sales leads and achieve the best results.
Lead distribution is the process of directing your qualified leads to your appropriate salesperson. An automated lead management system assigns the leads to the sales representatives.
In the simplest form, the sales-ready leads are usually distributed in a round-robin format. However, more complex systems allow for deeper customization. For example, you can distribute leads from different regions and industries to corresponding sales teams. Likewise, assign high-quality leads to the best-performing sales representatives.
You can choose different nurturing processes for leads with different interest levels. For example, leads that opened the email but didn’t engage in any other way might need more convincing. On the other hand, leads who clicked your call-to-action repeatedly are likely to be on the fence and just need a slight push.
Many businesses make a mistake by throwing the leads out of their pipelines that are not sales-ready. These leads might not be qualified now, but by adding them to a drip campaign and providing constant value, you make sure you’re the first company they come to when they need your service.
3 Lead Management Best Practices
There are several ways for a lead management system to go wrong. Most problems arise when there is no clear definition of the processes, target audience, and roles of the team members. Let’s review lead management best practices so you can make the most out of your marketing and sales strategy.
1. Define Sales Process
Depending on your goals, lead generation mediums, and team, you define your sales process. Before adopting a lead management strategy, ask these questions:
- Marketing automation and CRM system: Which lead management software suits your organization and goals?
- Lead generation: Which lead generation and marketing strategies you want to focus on?
- Define qualified leads: Not every lead will become a customer. What makes a lead a qualified lead?
- Sales roles: How should the qualified leads be assigned to sales reps?
- Develop leads further: What actions can you use to retain undecided prospects?
2. Simplify Team Communication
Clear communication between teams is the key to successful lead management. It enables teams to have context on the ideal client profile and pick up the workflow where the previous team left.
Your lead management tool can play an important role in easy collaboration between the sales, operations, and marketing teams. QuickMail allows you to add or remove team members and audit their actions, which makes them more accountable and responsible. With Google Drive, you can easily collaborate with team members working on different client accounts.
3. Leverage Outbound Lead Generation
A large number of B2B businesses depend heavily on inbound leads for lead generation. By leveraging outbound channels such as cold email marketing, cold-calling, and LinkedIn prospecting, you can add another funnel to lead generation. Besides, outbound lead generation is more consistent and predictive. Here, the marketer makes the first move and takes control of the lead generation process. Although the benefits of outbound lead generation are not ongoing, the sales cycles are shorter than inbound marketing.
Selecting the Right Lead Management Tool
At this point, you know how an automated lead generation system can improve the productivity and ROI of your marketing and sales funnel, and allow smooth collaboration between teams and team members.
With plenty of lead management solutions, it might be difficult to pick one. Many of these also function as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms, bridging the gap between your potential buyers and you.
Take your time to compare the features. Go through the reviews. Note that some automation tools are more geared towards specific lead generation strategies – for example, QuickMail is strong with cold emailing. The right lead management tool will fit your business.