If you’ve ever worked in the restaurant industry, you know how important good service is to the customer. Even if you haven’t worked in the food industry, think about everything that goes into getting excellent customer service at a restaurant. While servers may be responsible for taking your order and delivering food, they also offer other benefits such as making small talk, refilling drinks, removing empty plates from the table, asking how everything looks and tastes, etc. And more often than not, this is before you even pay for your meal and their service.
Lead management is similar to the restaurant industry; even before a lead in the sales pipeline signs the dotted line with your business, sales development teams must routinely follow up with them to learn what they’re looking for in a product or service provider. By having a lead management system in place, you present the lead with excellent customer service before they even convert into a customer.
Lead Management Definition
Lead management is the process that sales and marketing teams follow to keep track of where leads are in the sales pipeline. This process encompasses lead qualification and lead nurturing, which is crucial for sustainable lead generation because it empowers sales and marketing teams to reach out to the right leads at the right time. Additionally, it ensures they receive the best content marketing materials that align with their business, industry, pain points, and overall product or service interests.
Why Is Sales Lead Management Important?
If you reach out to each sales lead, in the same manner, you risk losing prospect interest because you’re not putting their wants and needs at the forefront of your mind. Sales lead management is crucial because it can help your sales and marketing teams segment buyer personas based on a prospect’s industry, pain points, product or service interests, and current stage of the sales cycle.
For instance, a lead in the awareness stage of the sales funnel more than likely doesn’t have the same buying mindset as a lead in the consideration stage. Therefore, you need to share materials and insight that meet them where they are in the buying process. Sending leads sales and marketing materials that don’t align with what they’re looking for can look lazy and turn potential customers off from doing business with your company. To present your company in a positive light, it’s crucial that you have a sales lead management process in place, and it’s streamlined between your marketing and sales teams.
How To Create a Proper Lead Management System
To create a lead management system that delivers sustainable and predictable results, you must:
Identify What a Qualified Lead Means to Your Business
First things first—what does a qualified lead look like for your business? Does the prospect’s building need to be over a specific size? Do they need to reach a certain number of full-time employees? A qualified lead means something different for every business, especially in other industries.
For a lead to be qualified, you must consider both their sales and marketing qualifiers and how they align with your ideal customer profile (ICP). Sales lead qualifications are the objective qualifiers a prospect must have to do business with your company, such as the size of the commercial space or the number of full-time employees. However, other qualifiers must also be considered depending on the industry served. For example, many commercial cleaning businesses require at least three days of ongoing cleaning services for a prospect to be considered a sales lead, so it’s essential to consider these as well.
When it comes to marketing qualifiers, this is determined based on a prospect’s level of interest in learning more about the products or services your company has to offer. If a prospect is interested in learning more, they’re more likely to convert into a sales opportunity because they see the value your company has to provide. If a prospect meets your sales and marketing qualifiers, they’ll be a qualified lead, and sales reps can set sales meetings with one of your account executives.
Create a List of Lead Qualifying and Scoring Questions
Now that you have a firm understanding of what a qualified lead means to your business, how do you gather this information from the prospective company? To have a solid lead management system, your sales reps must ask questions to qualify and score the lead. Here are some sales qualifying questions your sales development reps can implement in their pitch:
- What’s the square footage of your commercial space?
- How many full-time employees do you have at the office?
While asking these questions can help ensure the prospect is sales qualified, it’s vital that you also ask open-ended questions to learn about their marketing qualifiers. Asking value-focused questions helps your sales teams practice lead scoring. Lead scoring is essential for catching the right leads at the right time because it assigns leads as a priority if they’re more interested in your company or closer to the end of their buying cycle.
Here are some open-ended questions that sales and marketing teams can ask to further qualify the sales lead:
- What do you currently have in place regarding this product or service?
- How does your current provider support your product or service needs?
- Where do you think your current product or service provider could improve?
Asking these questions helps sales reps better understand the prospect and explore where your company could help them in ways their current provider cannot. Even if the lead isn’t ready to schedule a sales appointment just yet, they can be implemented into a lead nurturing sales funnel where they receive additional sales and marketing assets until they’re towards the end of their buying cycle.
Use CRM and Sales Technology to Your Advantage
Lead management has evolved a lot over the years. In the past, sales teams had to mark their calendars with a prospect’s contact information and remind themselves to contact them later when they’re closer to the end of their buying cycle. Today, sales and marketing teams can use many different lead management software to catch the right leads at the right time.
One of the most impactful lead management software companies can use a CRM platform. Many businesses use CRM software to streamline everyday business operations, and lead management isn’t any different. While there are many other CRM solutions to select from, most have sales and marketing extensions that lead generation teams can use to follow up with prospects in the sales pipeline effectively.
CRM software and other sales technology are vital for automating tedious business development tasks. For instance, instead of individually crafting each email sent to leads in the sales pipeline, your email marketing experts can draft emails that align with the different buyer personas within your target market. This empowers your sales development team to save time to continue building relationships with leads closer to the end of their buying cycle.
Additionally, these tools can present your business with relevant email marketing metrics and insights into how their email campaigns perform. Do your sales emails have a low open rate? This could be because the subject line isn’t capturing their attention. Are a lot of prospects unsubscribing from your emails? This could be because it doesn’t align with their needs, meaning your sales team either has the wrong contact information or sends them the wrong emails based on their buyer personas. Gaining insight into these vital metrics allows your team to explore where there can be growth in your lead generation efforts to generate more revenue.
Bridge the Gap Between Sales and Marketing
Lead management can be confusing if it’s not set up correctly. While sales and marketing departments are vital contributors to business growth, many high-quality leads can get lost in the mix because they don’t know which department is responsible for which lead. With the proper lead management system in place, you have the opportunity to bridge the gap between sales and marketing, maximizing business growth.
One of the most significant ways business development teams can bridge the gap between sales and marketing is by building a sales enablement team. Sales enablement teams are the “middlemen” between the two departments and are responsible for directing marketing leads to sales and account executives. They help streamline lead management by gaining sales insights from the sales team to help marketers create campaigns more aligned with what potential buyers are looking for.
Additionally, sales enablement teams take the inbound leads generated by marketing teams and follow up to ensure they’re sales qualified for your company’s product or service offerings. If they are, the sales enablement team directs them to the account executives to present them with a high-converting sales opportunity.
Lead management is a vital part of having a streamlined sales process because it empowers sales development teams to chase leads that meet their qualifiers. Additionally, it ensures that sales and marketing teams reach the right decision-makers at the right time. With a lead management system in place, you have the opportunity to engage more potential buyers and accelerate their time spent in the sales cycle.
At Sapper Consulting, our lead generation experts are well-equipped to develop a lead management system that presents clients with qualified sales meetings with leads who are ready to convert. If you need a hand with your sales lead management, contact the business growth experts at Sapper!