Are you frustrated with the amount of time you’re spending on qualifying and weeding out your genuine buyers from the time-wasters?
Sifting through and identifying your genuine leads can be an incredibly arduous task that eats into expensive sales time which, in turn, ultimately detracts from revenue. It can also result in some genuine opportunities being lost.
Unfortunately, it’s a common mistake we’ve seen many businesses make over the years. But it’s a mistake that can easily be rectified if you have the standards and processes in place to enable you to properly nurture and manage your leads.
According to Marketing Sherpa, 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales because of a lack of lead nurturing. And while 61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to sales, only 27% of those leads are qualified.
This is where lead management comes in. In a nutshell, lead management is the process of acquiring, evaluating and nurturing your leads through marketing before handing them over to your sales team.
While it may seem like yet another process to have to follow, lead management can improve your lead flow and pipeline velocity and generate better quality leads.
As leads enter the funnel via different channels, such as social media, emails or trade shows, it’s essential that each and every lead is managed appropriately. Take your social media leads, for example, you wouldn’t nurture and manage them in the same way as your trade show leads because the cost of acquisition and qualification is extremely different.
Implementing a process for managing different leads at different stages of the buyer journey and sales funnel is central to delivering a successful demand programme, as is managing the different types of contacts, such as strangers and known contacts.
So, where do you start? The best lead management results undoubtedly require:
One of the biggest issues that many businesses experience is not achieving sales and marketing alignment or agreeing a process that’s suitable for both teams, who understandably have different motivations.
The key is to have sales and marketing teams that are tightly aligned, which takes executive ‘encouragement’ and leadership, visionary thinking and two-way conversations between sales and marketing, to make it happen.
According to SiriusDecisions, B2B organisations with tightly aligned marketing and sales achieved 24% faster revenue growth and 27% faster profit growth over a three-year period.
Speaks volumes, doesn’t it?
2. A top-down approach
This approach involves setting out any common objectives to the management of leads, from first engagement, right through to orders.
It involves breaking down and mapping out what’s typically a three-step process – marketing nurturing leads, inside sales qualifying the leads and converting them into opportunities and sales then working the opportunities to closure.
This crucially raises the question of what constitutes a qualified lead that’s passed on by marketing to inside sales and the criteria for handing off to sales.
3. Clear hand-off criteria
This is the crux of the whole lead management process. Organisations should not purely rely on the attainment of a lead–score threshold as the criteria for handing over leads from marketing to inside sales.
Some behavioural factors are more important than others, as is demographic information, so grading of leads, as well as scoring them, should be defined in the hand off criteria.
The job then is for inside sales to take the insight passed on from marketing and make sure the lead has a defined need, the necessary budget and purchasing authority and an appropriate purchasing timeline before passing on to sales.
An area that’s often overlooked is the criteria for recycling leads back into marketing. What happens to the score thresholds and the process for re-engagement? Again, this needs to be defined up front.
Having taken these initial steps, the next stage is to execute the following processes:
- Working leads effectively
- Tracking lead generation efforts
- Keeping data clean
Businesses who may perceive lead management as yet another process they simply don’t have the time for, should never underestimate its impact, especially given the fact that only 25% of leads are legitimate and should advance to sales in the first place (Gleanster Research).
When was the last time you reviewed your lead management processes?
Learn more by downloading our Ultimate Guide to Lead Generation.