4 Critical Steps for Effective Lead Management

You know how much time and effort goes into generating leads for your business.  However, according to Gleanster research, a whopping 50% of those leads are not ready to speak with a salesperson immediately.  The good news is – these leads don’t have to go to waste.

Lead management is the process of segmenting out your unqualified leads from those you hand over to your sales team, and engaging them with educational content through lead nurturing until they are sales-ready.  In other words, you help them learn more about your industry, company, and/or product or service so that they are ready for that phone call from your sales rep.

The process of managing your leads involves 4 crucial steps:

  1. Capturing leads when they look for your product or service.  The critical piece of the puzzle for capturing leads is having them fill out your forms on the landing pages for your offers.  By offering compelling educational content to your prospects, you can encourage them to provide you with their information in return.  Along with contact information, you should also gather enough information about each new lead to be able to qualify them.  From this data, you can decide which of your leads are qualified to be sent to your sales team, which are bad leads, and which are unqualified and should be nurtured.

  2. Nurturing leads that are not yet ready for sales contact.  The next part of the process is to take your leads that have the potential to be qualified for sales and segment them into closely-targeted lead nurturing campaigns.  You should set up your campaigns based on the specific actions of each lead category.  Look at which pages of your website that they have visited, which of your offers they have downloaded, and so on, and use this information to determine their interests.  You can then provide them with appropriately-targeted emails to offer them other content that will help them learn more about this particular topic.
  3. Scoring leads to identify those that are ready to buy.  Lead scoring is a key part of the lead management process in helping you to determine the lead’s potential interest in your product or service. Work with your sales team to agree upon a set of specific qualities that define a strong lead for your company.  Potential factors for determining a lead’s score include demographic information and behavioral activity.  You can then compare each lead’s score to that of your ideal lead or your sales team’s best leads, and identify those that are qualified.

4. Passing leads that are ready to buy over to your sales team.  Once you have determined that certain leads are ready to have a sales rep get in touch with them, send them over to your sales team.  Make this marketing-to-sales transition as efficient as possible by providing your sales reps with the lead intelligence information you have collected, such as behavioral data, demographic information, and anything else you used to qualify your leads.  This will allow them to better understand the needs of each individual lead, target their sales more closely, and ultimately, make it more likely that they will be able to convert these leads into customers.

As you’re setting up or optimizing your lead management process, keep in mind that timing is key.  Lead scores are normally determined by when the leads perform each action, meaning that the score may be reduced by inactivity (such as not clicking on email links or blog posts).  The goal is to figure out the best time to send each of your leads to your sales team, so keep timing at the front of your mind.  Also, make sure you track all information about your leads throughout the entire process so you can use this data to improve your system as you go.

Lead management certainly isn’t easy, but it’s absolutely imperative to a strong lead-to-customer conversion rate.  So get started on your lead management today and stop wasting those valuable leads!

This is a guest post by Sarah Goliger, an inbound marketer at HubSpot. HubSpot is a marketing software company based in Cambridge, MA that makes inbound marketing and lead management software.

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