Does your company have a defined lead management process in place or is your sales team managing incoming leads in an unstructured way?
Growing revenues is the only thing that every company is looking for. One of the core ingredients to grow revenue is without any doubt lead management.
Leads can be generated in a number of ways. Companies put emphasis on getting more leads adding constantly new tools. When it comes to managing them, however, a lot of businesses are shooting in the dark. Usually, loose processes that don’t have a strategy behind when it comes to reacting to inbound leads are in place.
After generating leads, your ability to move prospects along the company sales funnel begins with lead management.
Here we take a look at 7 ways to have a successful lead management process for your sales team.
Have A Common Definition Of Lead
What is a lead? Is it a contact number? A sign-up? A prospect who has expressed interest after a few interactions?
Organizations define leads in different ways – and that’s fine. The key is to unite your sales force under a single, well-understood meaning of a lead.
This is one of the biggest points of disconnection within companies. Sales departments consider X as a lead while the rest of the company believes Y constitute a lead.
When does a prospect become a lead? This is the question that has to be answered clearly and communicated to all departments.
It has been shown that 90 percent of the leads that come in never get the first contact from sales. Whoever is in charge of the lead generation process never gets around to determine who the correct person to receive the lead is. It’s either routed to the wrong person or it is actually not a lead as the sales team defines it.
In both cases, the salesperson won’t be in the best position to move the prospect along the sales funnel. They will be making some attempts to turn them into closed sales but will hardly achieve the desired results. This will result in salespeople turning their back to those leads and moving on to hotter leads.
To be effective in selling, the sales force, staff, departments and the rest of the company need to have a categorical definition of what a sales lead is.
When does a prospect become a lead? When should a contact be forwarded to sales? These are important questions that need to be answered.
Treat Lead Nurturing Seriously
Sales and marketing are like siblings or at least should be. They live together–but don’t always get along. Sales teams complain about the quality and quantity of leads received from marketing. This is one of the biggest issues that many organizations face.
There are usually two reasons behind this complaints.
- Leads are not enough
- Leads are not perceived as good enough
Developing prospects in sales-ready leads is a big challenge for many organizations, perhaps the biggest. Lead nurturing is the answer to this question.
The importance of nurturing leads in keeping the pipeline filled should not be overlooked.
Bad leads may just be deemed “bad” at the beginning, but eventually turn into a closed sales. According to a study by SiriusDecisions, 80 percent of bad leads in B2B go on to make purchases within two years. Correct lead nurturing programs prevent the “forced churn” that the inexistence of such would cause.
Discovering opportunities within bad leads is only possible when sales nurture leads. Assuming that prospects are ready to buy on the first call is just bad selling. If your sales team hop on a call with the idea of closing the lead straight away, then your sales managers have done a bad job in coaching the team.
Moving prospects along the sales funnel by showing them value is at the basis of good lead nurturing. Content, service and constant connection are major points in this process. Sales enablement teams help bridge the gap between marketing and sales. Nowadays such role is getting more relevant for companies of all sizes. They calibrate marketing collateral so the material provides value to the sales department in a selling situation.
Know Where And When Leads Come In
Did the marketing department set up an inbound marketing campaign and leads are now pouring in?
Lead sources must be tracked. What piece of content did the lead encounter? Did you get their contact through organic search, social, referral traffic or paid ads? Were these referrals from other customers?
Why is source tracking so important? Because in this way your sales team will be able to understand what attracts that lead to your company and therefore adjust their pitch accordingly.
It’s also important to track lead sources to put in place a scalable and repeatable process for success. What is the average number of touches before a visitor turns into a lead? What sequence of touches works best in converting visitors to leads? All these questions need to have an answer in order to predict correctly future sales
Distribute Leads Fast
Determining which salesperson should handle a lead is very important to create a smooth process. If this hand-over process is not done quickly enough, your company might lose sales.
Leads go cold quickly. You don’t want to risk it.
Studies show that salespeople need to respond to leads within 48 hours of a prospect providing a mean for contact to increase the likelihood of closing a sale. Considering, however, how sales has evolved in the last decade with online communication taking over and how the means of capturing leads have changed, the time has already dropped dramatically.
In a study of 1.25 million sales leads across 29 B2C and 13 B2B companies in the U.S.A., it was found that companies tend to be 7x more successful in lead qualification when they get back to prospects within an hour of receiving the contact compared to those who delay the first contact. Stretching that to 24 hours or longer, the immediate response to leads netted 60 times more results.
Just think about the last time you found a product or service interesting. Didn’t you wish they got back to you faster? How many times have you opted-in, left your email or contact number and no one came back to you? Didn’t your interest naturally fade away?
Fire Up Your Sales Force About Each Lead
Many organizations suffer from an unmotivated workforce. When it comes to lead management, an energized sales team can make the difference between lost or a won deal.
Motivation, however, is very subjective. Salespeople are motivated in different ways. So, how do you keep salespeople excited and motivated each and every day?
Motivation is fully achieved when salespeople are in the position to succeed. If the leads are hot enough, have enough information, and are qualified to really close that deal, salespeople will be motivated. The prospecting team needs to do a great job at making sure that all the information is present to make a touch with the lead. It’s important to extract information from prospects on each interaction of the lead management process.
Making sure that the leads passed on the sales team are close enough to the decision maker is also key to not frustrating your salespeople. Making sure that they have what needed to perform at their best is key to success.
Treat The Prospects Like Customers.
Leads are engaged and nurtured until they decide to buy in. Then, salespeople move on to the next lead. This process can become mechanical, bringing the service level down.
To prevent this from happening, reinforcing the idea that prospects are customers (in the making) is something sales managers should focus on. A customer-centric sales approach is at the basis of an effective sales process, treating leads like just another number on the list is not going to cut it. Your sales team should be providing value from the very beginning.
Here’s a way to do it: Show them the magic. Give them a slice of a customer’s life…
Measure Your Team Efforts
It’s not unusual for sales organizations to be lousy when it comes to keeping and analyzing data. Looking at closed deals is much easier and might give a good picture of sales activities. However, having closed deals as the only metric for success will not help managers and reps improve on their activities.
Closed sales is an indicator of performance for a longer period.
As a sales leader, you want to make sure that your reps have clear in their mind what are the key indicators that contribute to success. Deciding what to measure and why you want to measure it, is part of your job. With the current technological advancement any organization can now capture data in realtime. The only component that needs to be determined is what needs to be monitored.
Once KPIs are identified, it will be easier to determine the ROI of your activities and their impact on the pipeline.
When you don’t plant, you don’t harvest. Leads bring life to sales teams. If lead management is not done properly, results might not be scalable.
Consider the amount of resources allocated to generating leads. They’re liquid gold for businesses in growing influence and revenue.
How is the lead management process in your company? Does your organization have any specific activity in place to make sure lead management yield to best results? Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.