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.