Leads are the lifeblood of any business.
But just by increasing the lead generation, your business may not be able to increase sales revenue.
Leads which have interest in your offerings may be clueless about the next steps. More often than not, leads require nudging, guidance and prompting until they become sales- ready leads.
I remember when we were implementing Salesforce CRM for a client in the energy sector, that time they had an impressive lead generation rate. But their lead conversion rate was low. Our CRM consultants analyzed that it was not because the leads were not qualified, but primarily because they were not able to manage leads properly.
There’s little point in investing in generating more leads if your existing conversion process results in most of your hard-won inquiries falling through the cracks.
In this article, I’m going to introduce the lead management process and talk about the symptoms indicating that your business needs to pay more attention towards managing leads.
I’m also going to cover the impact of lead management on sales revenue, including the benefits of managing this process within CRM or customer relationship management system.
But first, here’s an introduction to lead management.
What is lead management?
Simple way to define lead management is that it is a process of systematically making acquired leads sales-ready.
Leads are potential customers who may buy our product or service in future. But it’ll be wishful of businesses to expect that the moment you acquire a lead, it converts and brings sales revenue. Some leads may not have the problems or challenges which could be solved through your offerings. Some may not be ready to make a change to solve those challenges.
Lead management is the process of educating, guiding and following up with leads to make them ready for a purchase.
Lead management process
Lead capturing can be automated from multiple sources, making it easy for the team to take action and never lose the opportunity. Lead can be automatically fed into the system from sources like web forms, emails, live chat, etc.
Lead enrichment and tracking
Lead tracking involves understanding the browsing patterns, links clicked, resources downloaded, email engagement, etc. Tracking the leads activities helps in gaining valuable insights about their interests and can be used in personalizing sales efforts.
Lead scoring or qualification allows ranking leads based on their level of engagement and their profile information. That helps your sales and marketing teams to prioritise an pursue the right sales leads.
Lead distribution helps in allocation lead managing responsibility to the right person or department. Lead management software helps in creating and customising workflows for automatic lead distribution.
Lead nurturing campaigns help in guiding the leads till they become sales-ready. Educational content, promotional offers, product demos, etc help in building awareness and trust in leads and help in decision making process.
Lead management software helps in automating and streamlining these functions.
If you’re not using lead management software or a CRM which supports lead management, then here’s the list of symptoms indicating that you need one!
5 Signs you need lead management software
Scattered lead information
Is your team juggling between emails, spreadsheets, Google drive or other project management tools to access lead information?
Missed follow-ups leading to lost opportunity
Is your team missing out on follow-up email or calls?
It could be due to various reasons – long sales cycle, small team size dealing with high number of leads, cluttered inbox, etc. While your leads are engaging with you, chances are that they are evaluating your competitors as well. Forgetting to follow-up moves your leads towards your competitors.
Clueless about lead activities
Are your clueless about your prospect’s activities on your website, emails etc?
Engaging with leads without any context puts your team at a disadvantage as having a meaningful conversation becomes difficult.
No lead prioritization
Is your team is unable to focus on quality leads because you don’t have a process to rank or score your leads?
Unable to push your leads towards purchase
Do you have educational content and collateral but you’re not using them properly to build relationship with leads & prepare them for a purchase?
How lead management in CRM helps increase sales
If you observe the above dreadful signs in your business environment, it’s time you acknowledge that you are losing sales opportunity due to a faulty lead management system.
High ROI from targeted sales leads
Instead of running generic marketing campaigns, lead management process helps businesses invest resources to increase sales revenue from targeted leads. They can track and nurture captured leads and make the right move at the right time when the lead is ready to purchase.
Increase profits by building customer relationships
Let’s not forget that the cost to acquire a new customer is much greater than the cost to retain an existing customer. Hence lead management should not be considered as the sole responsibility of sales team. Marketing, sales, and customer service each play a vital role in ensuring leads are properly managed.
By getting all three teams on CRM system, they will not only be able to perform lead management functions, but beyond as well. Unlike lead management software, CRM provides additional features which help in retaining clients, servicing them, up-sell, cross-sell, etc. That helps in building profitable customer relationships. Let’s not forget that the cost to acquire a new customer is much greater than the cost to retain an existing customer.
You might also be interested in: How CRM helps in building profitable customer relationships?
Improve lead conversions by fixing gaps
When it comes to improving the lead conversion rate, best place to start is by looking for gaps in the lead funnel. For instance, at what stage is the conversion weak, what is causing delays in response time of sales reps, etc. By fixing such problems in the lead management process flow, the cumulative effect is achieving higher number of sales-ready leads. The integrated reporting and analytics tool in the lead management software gives access to powerful and customized reporting.