There are many paths a prospect or lead will take on their journey. To effectively manage these leads, B2B companies must have a set of best practices.
When done right, lead management creates more educated buyers, helps you better understand their needs, and ultimately means more revenue. So how do you do it?
Use these lead management tips to help your sales and marketing teams streamline their efforts and increase conversion rates.
What is lead management?
Lead management is a process that includes systems and activities designed to acquire and capture prospects, monitor their actions and behavior, educate and engage them, and when they are ready for a sale, pass it from the marketing to the sales team.
In carrying out the process of successful lead management, it is always a good idea to never forget three principles:
1. Acknowledging: Acknowledging requires you to note who is on your contact list, why they are still in your database, and use that knowledge to your advantage.
2. Adapting: Adapting asks you to work with leads and be prepared for different outcomes.
3. Nurturing: Finally, nurturing focuses on how you can put leads through your sales process, combining your marketing strategy and knowledge to turn leads into customers.
How to manage leads effectively
Take a look at these eight tips for best practices in lead management that you probably aren’t using.
1. Know the source of your leads
Prospects come from a variety of sources and enter the sales pipeline at various points. A lead source is defined as "the starting point where potential customers first hear about you." Your leads can come from the following sources:
-Any page on the website
Treat each of these sources differently. For example, don't follow up on leads from your website like you follow up on leads from events. Also, note that different lead sources come in different contexts.
An event lead would include a request for an inquiry and any conversations an on-site representative had with them and other matters mentioned in that conversation. This can lead to the purchase of more products or services. Therefore, keeping your lead sources in mind is critical when determining the best way to follow up.
2. Simplify your lead collecting efforts
There are so many ways to source leads, and sometimes this can be a bit overwhelming.
Many businesses use a combination of methods because potential customers are everywhere. However, it can be challenging to track, manage, and maintain a long-term system without automation when you’re trying to get leads through multiple channels.
With ScaleOcean CRM, you can easily collect your leads from multiple sources, whether from landing pages, forms, events, or social media. In addition, with this system in place, it will be easier for the marketing and sales teams to collaborate. Our CRM gives a detailed overview of the progress of leads throughout their buyer journeys, which helps marketers and sales executives target their efforts more effectively.
3. Understand how your leads flow
It is essential to think about your sales cycle. When is it time to strike a deal for a prospect? How do you know if a lead qualifies for sales, marketing, or none of them? Map out this process first. Then, start over. Once you have a qualified lead, find the person on your team that needs to know.
ScaleOcean CRM frees you from struggling to get visibility on your leads as they come in. It enables you to see every single lead that has been added to your database. In addition, you can easily send leads where you want them to go. For example, maybe you want your marketing-qualified leads added to a newsletter subscription list, while you want specific sales reps to be notified for your sales-qualified prospects.
4. Score your leads at all times
To make the handover of leads from marketing to sales as easy as possible, it is essential to emphasize that the marketing and sales teams must align in their definition of a sales-ready lead.
Marketing might tag leads as anyone who responds to an ad or social media campaign, while sales might categorize leads as only those who are ready to make a purchase. And, this is where lead scoring steps in.
Lead scoring is the process of assigning a score, often in the form of numerical values,’ to each lead you generate for your business. This score lets sales and marketing teams know which leads are more urgent to follow up with, which ones are more likely to lead to sales, which require more maintenance, etc.
Every business uses a different methodology when implementing lead scoring. Some companies even use multiple lead scores. Many marketing platforms also support using multiple lead scoring systems to give you more flexibility for different sets of contacts and B2B lead groups.
There are various methods for calculating a lead's score, such as selecting customer attributes that are important to you, such as their geographic location or budget. However, you can also use automated tools to help determine which leads you should focus on. Once you've chosen the leads that interest you, you can focus on nurturing leads that have a higher chance of converting into sales.
5. Get to know your leads better
Remember, every campaign a prospect responds to tells you about their interests. Every link they click and every information they fill out on a form tells you more about them.
Understanding where your prospects are on the buyer's journey helps you market to them more effectively. You can find out what your leads think by asking them to reply to an email or by sending them a survey.
However, don't ask your prospects to provide information you already know. Instead, use progressive profiles and take the opportunity to discover something new. You can also use this information to target what types of content may interest them in your email or lead nurturing campaign.
6. Nurture your leads
Now that you have prospects to work with, the real work begins: nurturing your leads. Lead nurturing is the process of building a relationship with a potential buyer who isn't ready to buy. The goal is to educate them about your brand, products, and solutions by sending them targeted informational content at every stage of the buying journey.
Stay in touch with prospects that aren't ready to purchase. Over time you can develop relationships with these prospects that can turn into sales. A great way to expand relationships is to be a thought leader on best practices, statistics, research, and the like for your industry or product/service to help customers make informed decisions.
Some lead nurturing techniques you can try:
Send follow-up emails or call your leads right away. Leads lose interest if you don’t contact them quickly enough.
Provide content or services tailored to your prospects' specific needs. For example, send content on the same topic to prospects who downloaded ebooks on your website.
Connect with prospects using different channels. Use a combination of email marketing for email lists, social media, direct marketing, retargeting, etc., to reach them.
Your CRM software can be used to personalize interactions with your leads as it contains the entire context of your relationship with a record of all the calls and emails you have made and received.
7. Improve lead capturing with personalization
You can't use the same lead capture mechanism for all leads. For example, someone visiting your website from a Google search might look for something different from someone who attended one of your live webinars. Therefore, make sure to personalize your lead capture form and create custom landing pages for leads coming from different sources.
8. Review your lead management process regularly
As with every business process, you should monitor and review your lead management system regularly. You must also inform all your team members about the new CRM software, lead management techniques, and implemented procedures. You want to make sure your marketing efforts pay off and your sales team takes full advantage of every opportunity. As these tactics change and evolve based on the needs of your industry, legacy processes may not be as useful as they once were.