While leads have always been the engine of sales success, managing leads today is a whole different ball game from the way it was just two decades ago. Not only is competition more intense than it’s ever been, but businesses must contend with multiple channels for lead generation.
Efficiently sorting through your leads is vital for closing that sale and outmaneuvering your competitors. Here are six tips that will give your lead management the edge.
1. Define What a Lead Is and Ensure All Staff Understand It
This might sound pedantic, but you’ll be surprised by the disparity among your employees in their understanding of what a lead is. As subject matter experts, the sales team might get it, but other workers might not quite grasp the distinction between a prospect and a lead.
Without enterprise-wide knowledge of what a lead is and who it should be assigned to, you risk getting a lot of unready prospects sent to the sales unit. Worse still, legitimate leads may not be recognized by line employees and, therefore, not be acted upon as is appropriate.
Develop and disseminate a granular definition of leads then provide practical, contextually-relevant, everyday examples each department can relate to.
2. Leverage the Power of Technology
Lead management can quickly become overwhelming, even for a small enterprise. Unlike decades past, when lead generation revolved around phone calls and face-to-face interaction, the Internet has exponentially increased the leads the average business contends with. Manually tracking leads is no longer a viable option for most enterprises.
It takes procuring the right technology to contain the scale and complexity of today’s lead generation environment. Lead management by Salesforce.com might be the go-to solution for many businesses, but there are multiple lead management and CRM applications available that can serve the purpose. Just make sure the tool you go for is the one that’s best aligned with your overarching lead management strategy.
3. Track Lead Source
One of the reasons you want all your employees to grasp the definition of a lead is because leads don’t emerge or exist in one context. People will hear about your product through on-site visits, posters, audiovisual ads, referrals, banner ads, native ads, search engine optimization, social media posts, email marketing, and more.
You must keep track of where each lead originates. That allows you to better understand what piqued their interest. Armed with this information, you can evaluate the performance of different forms of advertising and focus your resources on those that prove most effective.
4. Act on Leads Fast
Think about the times you had sent an email inquiry to a business and what alternatives you sought when the business took too long to respond. When it comes to lead conversion, studies have consistently shown that time is of the essence.
Remember that just because someone has shown interest in buying your product doesn’t mean they aren’t talking to and evaluating what your competitors have to offer. Many leads are lost because the business did not act promptly on someone’s expressed interest.
Develop an ambitious, yet realistic deadline for responding to people who contact you. The faster you can respond, the greater your chances of lead conversion.
5. Nurture Leads
Depending on what type of product you sell, people who express an interest may not necessarily buy immediately. Often, the time it takes for decision making depends on the value of the transaction. That’s why B2B leads have a much longer conversion cycle when compared to B2C sales.
Either way, facilitate multiple interactions with a lead, during which you continuously guide them toward buying. Design your marketing campaigns in a way that creates multiple touchpoints with your prospect. Position your product front and center of their mind throughout the sales cycle. Continuously provide or reinforce the reasons your product is what they need.
6. Get Sales Staff Excited
Despite the proliferation of automated tools that guide your lead through to the conversion, lead management is still heavily dependent on employee action.
So, get your sales team excited by making sure they have all the information and tools they require to drive a successful conversion. That would include extracting as much information as you can on each prospect before each interaction. For B2B leads, have the salespersons engage with the relevant decision-makers in each organization.
If you want to increase the proportion of leads that convert to sales, you have to adopt a well-thought-out approach to lead management. Apply these tips and you’ll be on your way to accelerating your sales.