Improving the way you handle your leads is one of the best ways to increase sales. Good lead generation is critical for keeping a sales pipeline full, and proper lead management is necessary for closing a higher percentage of those leads.
Unfortunately, many companies lose sales by mishandling their leads. Some common oversights include:
- Having less experienced sales reps handle important prospects.
- Forgetting to follow-up with warm leads.
- Using the wrong messaging with potential clients.
A good lead management process is important if you want to close the most leads possible. Let’s go through specific strategies you can employ to better manage your prospects and ultimately make more sales.
Use a Good Lead Management Tool
You need to start managing new prospects as soon as you get them. A good CRM system (or Customer Relationship Management Tool) is the best way to accomplish this.
CRM systems organize each new lead’s contact information into a computer program that monitors the new prospect’s activity. The CRM can manage any details about the prospect that you’re able to discover. With the right information, the notes you keep for each prospect will help you make the best sales decisions and help you increase sales.
If you’re looking for a Customer Relationship Management Tool, we recommend looking at Salesforce, which integrates nicely with our Salesforce power dialer software. Salesforce is a great CRM solution for companies doing a lot of cold calling because it allows you to manage your leads at every step of the process.
You can also use PhoneBurner's built-in CRM if you don't want too many different tools. Either way, make sure you have a good system for tracking leads through each step of the sales process to prevent them from getting lost.
Know the Source
You need to know where your leads come from to better understand your relationship with them and to figure out what's driving most of your acquisition. Here are a few questions to keep in mind when recording the sources for your leads:
- Were they referred from a satisfied customer?
- Did they join your email list through your landing page they found on Google?
- Did they give their contact information to a customer service agent to receive additional help?
This knowledge is extremely helpful for both marketing and sales. By recording where your leads come from, your marketing teams will know which marketing campaigns are performing best so they can invest in the most productive efforts.
It can also help your salespeople make sure they inquire about important things to the prospect. For example:
- If the lead came from your website looking for more information, the salesperson could offer to answer any further questions they have.
- If the lead is a small business owner who was referred by a friend, you might point out their missed sales opportunities and offer a solution that fixes the problem.
Different leads require different approaches based on their needs, desires, and understanding of your product or service. By knowing the source of your leads, you can better address these different situations.
Score Your Leads
Lead scoring measures how far your leads are along the sales cycle. Typically, lead scoring has four elements:
- Engagement. You’re trying to understand how engaged and interested your potential customer is. How many pages did they view on your website? Did they open your email, click on the link, and view your attachment (which you can measure with PhoneBurner’s SmartSender)? Their level of action helps you gauge their interest.
- Behavior. Behavior is similar but more specific than engagement. Common behavior questions are: What specific pages have they visited? Which videos did they watch? Did they sign up for a free trial? How much action have they taken? Answering these questions will help you determine what the prospect is looking for, and how to best sell to them.
- Velocity. Velocity is the rate your prospects are interacting with your company. How often do they open your emails? Do they open each one multiple times? How often do they go to your site? A higher velocity shows that the prospect is thinking about your company, product, or service a lot and that they’re more likely to make a purchase.
- Persona. A prospect’s persona is a list of attributes that describe who they are and how they relate to your company. What industry are they in? What title do they hold? Where are they? Their persona helps you determine whether they are more or less likely to want what you have to sell.
An easy way to score your leads is to create a set of rules that determine what kind of score they receive for each category. For example, if your scale for each category is one through five, watching an instructional video on how your service works could be a five. But if you sell consulting to high-level executives and the person watching the video is a restaurant server, their persona could score a one. Then, you total the scores for each category and see how it ranks.
Nurture Your Leads
Your sales staff know that people aren’t always ready to buy right away. Although your sales reps can show prospects how your product will improve their lives, prospects need to make the final decision themselves, and that can take time.
This means that salespeople need to nurture leads by following up when most people would give up. There are a few effective ways to do that:
- Email – Send them relevant content, whitepapers, case studies, new feature updates, etc. This reminds them of the value you provide and may convince them to purchase from you.
- Webinars and demonstrations – Invite leads to a webinar or demo where they can learn more about the potential solutions to their problems. If they’re looking to learn more about solving specific problems, your solution may be what they’re looking for.
- Call them (again) – Unless a prospect has specifically stated that they are not interested and do not want to be bothered anymore, try calling them again. They may not have been ready to purchase before, but now might be the time. A “no” doesn’t mean “never.” It means, “not right now.” Call them, learn more about their situation, and help find a way to make it better.
The key to lead nurturing is to help your prospective customer. Stop trying to sell them something they may or may not need. Instead, help them achieve their dreams. Help them eliminate their problems. Figure out what your prospects are concerned about and help them find the best possible solution for achieving their goals. Hopefully, your product or service is just that solution.
Generating leads is just the first step. From how you approach prospects, to how you organize their activity, to how you nurture them through your sales cycle, your sales success will reflect your lead management efforts. Effective lead and pipeline management are the tools you need to ensure your sales aren’t falling through the cracks.
We’re curious, which of these lead management strategies can your business most improve on? Have you had success with other lead management strategies? Let us know in the comments below!