When a lead is generated through marketing, what happens to it? According to some surveys, apparently nothing.
A staggering 80% of leads generated through marketing gets lost, discarded or ignored. That’s a loss of a lot of revenue. To prevent leads getting lost, a lead management system can be deployed. A lead management system helps in justifying marketing efforts, by nurturing and managing the leads. A lead management system provides an organised structure for classifying and scoring leads as they are captured.
Through lead management, potential customers are educated, informed and convinced about a product/service’s viability and when they are ready to invest, their details are passed onto the sales department. Lead management can be more effective and result-driven if done with the help of a CRM software, which comes with marketing and analytical tools for easier conversion.
The Importance of CRM Software In Lead Management
Before you begin the process of managing leads, you’ll need a CRM software that can assist with your sales and marketing research, and analysis needs. It also incorporates necessary aspects of inbound marketing: content marketing, social media marketing search engine optimization and branding. Additionally, top CRM software solutions include modules for lead conversion, lead nurturing, marketing automation (email marketing, list segmentation, lead scoring, lead management workflows), enterprise application integration (customer service apps, e-commerce, business intelligence systems) and CRM integration (seamless, bi-directional transfer of lead data, KPIs and communications).
If you’re struggling with effective lead management and it’s affecting the bottom line, let’s take a step-by-step approach to success.
Identify and Collect Information About your Leads
Image Credit: Callbox
Identifying your leads is the first step to proper lead management. Determine your potential buyers first and develop a process that will enable you to identify where they stand in the sales process.
To do so, you should develop buyer personas which help you identify buyer types and their personality. This will help you have a clear picture of your ideal buyers and understand their needs better. Buyer personas can be developed by identifying the target demographic, their behaviour and the lead source. Where does your ideal customers live? What do they do? What gender do they belong to? Such questions will help you understand the key demographics.
To understand buyer behaviour, find out their behavioural patterns. What are their habits, hobbies, spending habits and values? What kind of lifestyle do they live? Demographics explain “who” your buyer is, while studying behaviour explains “why” they buy.
Lastly, identify your lead sources by figuring out the methods which your best leads use to find you? Do they come directly or through a link on a website or social media mention? Use a marketing analytics tool to identify and analyse your lead information and build a detailed ideal buyer persona.
Nurture Your Leads
Once your leads have been identified, it’s time to start nurturing them. Lead nurturing is the process of forming a relationship with customers during their journey to the final purchase. It involves listening to customer queries and answering them to develop a bond of trust and understanding.
A buyer’s journey is often described by the concept of a sales funnel which is comprises the different stages that a customer goes through while making the successful purchase. The sales funnel starts when a customer comes in contact with a product all the way to when he/ she finishes the process with successful buying of a product or registering for a service.
The sales funnel is composed of four steps: Awareness, Interaction, Interest and Action. The image below will clarify how the sales funnel functions.
Image Credit: SearchSalesForce
Most of your leads will enter the funnel through the awareness phase during which they spend significant time into research and information gathering for product/service. It is at this point where lead nurturing begins. Educate your leads and demonstrate about the product through valuable and relevant content passed on through calls, emails and messages. This way, you can convince them that the product is right for them. You should also enter their information into a CRM software along with the stage in the sales funnel. This will help you keep a track of their progress through the lead lifecycle.
Pass Off Your Leads to Sales
Once your leads have been properly nurtured, it’s time to send their details to the sales team. The process of passing on leads has to be initiated at the right time, as pre-mature leads can result in no sale at all.
To understand whether your leads are ready to be passed on to the next stage, create a lead scorecard. A lead scorecard will help in determining a lead’s potential interest in your product or service and allow you track their growth through the sales funnel. You can use a CRM tool to create a lead scorecard and make the process smoother and more efficient. A lead is scored based on his/her interest in the product, awareness about the product USP, demography, behavioural patterns, etc. Additional factors for determining a lead’s score depends on the individual criteria of every business. For example, if your business is selling HRMS software, your leads are scored based on their department, designation and how closely are they associated with the HR process. Depending on their score, you can determine the next course of action. If they score enough to be passed on to the sales team, do so quickly so that they don’t lapse back to the nurturing stage.
Track, Measure and Analyse Your Leads
Once the leads have been passed on to the sales team, it’s time for you to evaluate the challenges faced by your leads during the nurturing phase, and devise ways to make the lead management process more efficient. Leads have to be tracked and measured throughout the sales funnel to record their purchase journey and analyse the result. Tracking and measuring will also help get a better understanding of marketing and sales ROI as it would inform about the efficiency of your current lead generation techniques. CRM software can prove to be a vital tool in measuring and analysing leads at every stage objectively.
The trick to an effective lead management process lies in constantly evaluating your process and assessing what works and what doesn’t. Only then your business will have a lead management system that seamlessly creates, processes and converts leads into successful buyers.