Lead management is essential for businesses seeking to increase their revenue. When done right, lead management generates multiple benefits, including higher sales volume and frequency.
There are various ways your business can go about managing sales leads.
However, a general process starts from researching potential leads and ends in conversion or purchase. Depending on your business, you may have more or fewer stages in your lead management process.
Key steps of the lead management process
Attracting leads: It may be through lead generation tactics like inbound marketing funnels or advertising.
Collecting lead information: Through the different funnels, you obtain prospect information and contacts.
Qualifying: Based on interactions and other factors, identify the most promising leads for marketing and sales.
Nurturing: Nurture qualified leads with relevant content to get them closer to purchase decisions.
Marketing to Sales Hand-off: Sales takes over “ripe leads” to convert them into customers.
Sales Automation Tools for Lead Management
Sales processes involve several activities which can be hard for you to keep up with manually. Yet, automation tools can help capture information and interactions with all your leads, simplifying most of these tasks.
Comprehensive sales automation tools like SharpSpring help our clients to manage their leads work faster and more efficiently, thus increasing sales conversion rates.
Sales automation tools and CRM systems also ensure that you don't miss any lead, which helps you process and potentially convert all the promising ones.
Best Practices For Managing Sales Leads
1. Gather knowledge about suitable leads
Knowing your target audience is a critical factor for effective lead management. You can learn a lot about your leads through various methods like social media, surveys, sign-up forms, etc.
What problems do they face, and how can your company help? What are they most interested in, and how can you communicate that?
Statistics show that leads would be more likely to become customers when a company uses a personalized approach. With in-depth information about your prospects, you can easily speak to their pain points and build trust.
2. Communicate Faster With Your Leads
Research shows that a quick response, often within 24 hours, increases the likelihood of turning prospects into consumers. Many businesses take long to do so and sometimes never even reach out.
So, a key strategy to stand out is to reach out and start nurturing your prospects as soon as possible.
Automation tools can help with this. For instance, in the SharpSpring system, you can easily program it to initiate conversations with your leads on social media.
As seen from the image below, we often use the tool to invite customers to engage via slack or other channels automatically. This sets the ball rolling faster and has proven to increase the chances of converting leads.
3. Involve Your Sales and Marketing teams
You must periodically meet with your staff to review lead management principles. All team members should have a benchmark for “quality leads” and know the best courses of action for each scenario.
Additionally, it helps to use input from different members of your team. You might have colleagues who have encountered similar situations that may offer valuable information.
So, your lead management system should allow for them to make improvements or offer guidance when needed. This team effort may help you map out a standard process to follow.
For instance, in the SharpSpring system, your members can access tips or recommendations when dealing with new leads. These help them make the most appropriate decisions for every unique situation.
4. Nurture your leads
Customers are often not ready to buy from you after your first interaction. That is why nurturing is a critical part of lead management. You must draft campaigns to help you stay in touch with prospects, feeding them helpful content until they are ready to buy.
The marketing team greatly helps the nurturing process. They can warm up leads before reaching the sales team and obtain more prospect information to use further down the line through content.
With the right nurturing tactics, you are better positioned to create a relationship with prospects. This facilitates trust and makes them more likely to purchase eventually.
Marketing and sales automation systems are recommended for the nurturing process since they help you consistently reach large numbers of leads faster. For instance, you can draft and execute email sequences more efficiently.
Furthermore, you can also manage leads that take a long time to convert with advanced automation tools by scheduling periodic communications.
5. Lead scoring
Lead scoring features greatly help in lead management since they sort out promising leads. That way, you spend more time and resources on those most likely to convert.
Sales automation tools like SharpSpring come with these inbuilt capabilities. All you must do is input the necessary data and track customer behavior and let the system do the rest.
6. Measure and analyze lead data
Measurement is an essential part of lead management. With the right statistics in hand, you can then create better data-based strategies.
We rely on automation tools that come with inbuilt analytics tools to help you measure and get results fast. On the SharpSpring system, you can even customize your reports to get a more accurate analysis.
7. Sales and Marketing must work together
Marketing and sales collaboration is a crucial factor for effective lead management. The marketing team generates or identifies multiple leads, then nurtures them through content and email marketing.
When the leads become sales-ready, marketing then passes them on to the sales team to approach. However, this process can get harder without effective CRM and marketing automation integrations. These ease the process of handing off qualified leads from marketing to sales. Once you finish with the handoff, don’t forget about your won lead – try to automate your further processes, such as sending an invoice template when they have paid.
The way forward
Above are some of the best practices you can adopt to improve your lead management process. Automation and CRM systems are front and center of these processes and greatly boost the effectiveness of your lead management strategies.
SharpSpring automation software comes with multiple lead management tools to boost your sales processes. Get a free demo today and learn more about the software.