All about b2b marketing

What is B2B lead management?

Business to Business Lead Management is the strategy of capturing leads, tracking all touchpoints (the contact you have with your customers) and qualifying and engaging with them until they are sales ready. Marketing teams use lead management as a way of understanding where leads are in the pipeline, ideally using software to streamline customer data and automation to encourage leads through the process before handing off to sales to close the deal.

Lead management is essentially the organised process of converting leads, otherwise known as potential customers, into delighted customers. It hinges on the ongoing and changing relationship that a prospect has with your company through the stages of awareness, research, decision-making and purchase. Marketing works to acquire, evaluate, nurture leads and then hand them over to sales.

And yet, while it sounds straightforward, many companies don’t have a working lead management system in place, leading to wasted time and resources going after unqualified leads. According to a study, only 25% of leads in a typical sales pipeline are legitimate prospects [Gleanster Research], while 65% of B2B marketers don’t have an established lead nurturing strategy in place [MarketingSherpa]. The dangers of no lead management system? Quite simply: lead leakage (also known as a ‘leaky funnel’), missed follow-ups and no lead engagement.

61% of marketers say generating traffic and leads are their biggest challenge

But when an effective lead management system is installed, the sales pipeline is streamlined to create better-educated buyers, a solid understanding of your buyers’ needs and their position in the pipeline, improving sales forecasting. Lead management often forms the launchpad to other tech that nurtures customer relationships with personalised campaigns and automation, which in turn increases revenue.

Lead management can be broken down into five stages:

1. Lead Capturing

Feeding every lead manually onto an Excel spreadsheet is a sure-fire way to a headache and missed opportunities. Lead capture automation software ensures that every lead obtained from email, website, webinars, social media and paid ads are automatically recorded in the CRM system. You can also assess the sources of these leads easily and identify which are the most profitable avenues, leading to important data for future budget allocations and business intelligence.

2. Lead enrichment and tracking

Data, data, data. The importance of tracking can’t go underestimated. Once captured, lead management or generation software will track the lead as they engage with emails and navigate your website – everything from the pages they’ve visited to the links clicked and the resources downloaded. The lead management functionality will auto-populate a lead’s profile with public information such as location, time zone, company name and job titles to provide context for your next email campaign and valuable insights to your sales team.

3. Lead qualification

One way to avoid wasting time and costs on unqualified leads is through a contact lead scoring model, which assigns leads with a score according to their likelihood of purchasing. Scores are based on their awareness and engagement in your brand, product or service, and a variety of other factors which could include website visits, campaign opens, demographic information, job title and more. Using automated scoring saves time and resources within sales and marketing teams.

4. Lead distribution

Now you’ve captured your leads, you need to give them to the relevant sales team and more quickly than your competitors so that they can close the deal. An effective lead management system auto-assigns your leads to salespeople in the right territory, and generates reports to reveal the highest earning territories, as well as new opportunities for sales to capitalise on.

5. Lead nurturing

Not all of your leads will be ready to make a purchase just yet (Marketo’s research says that just 4% of website visitors are ready to buy, whereas Gleanster says it’s more like 25%), and some of them will never buy. Lead nurturing is the phase where you educate and demonstrate the benefits and value of your product or service. Your LM software can automate promotional offers or nurture campaigns (engaging leads with multi-platform content such as email campaigns and triggered emails) to your leads and help in the decision process. Or, by providing a useful resource such as a e-book, guide or webinar, your lead could become a brand advocate, championing your product or service, even if they don’t make a purchase.

With an effective lead management programme in place, companies are best placed to improve their sales pipeline, and ensure more follow-ups, responses and revenue. According to research, 74% of top-performing companies use automated lead nurturing [Gleanster], while 46% of marketers with well-planned lead management strategies have sales teams who follow up on more than 75% of leads. [Strategic IC]. In today’s business landscape, securing an effective lead management system is essential to success.


Are you considering trying Lead Management for the first time, or maybe it’s time to take your current lead generation efforts to the next level? Why not contact us for a no obligation discussion on how MarketOne’s tried and tested frameworks have helped businesses scale at speed and drive measurable impact.