How Small Businesses Can Successfully Manage Their Leads


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So, your lead generation campaign paid off in spades with plenty of warm leads. Are you ready to manage them?

The last thing you want to do is end up squandering leads, due to confusion and overwhelm. You need a structured process and system for handling them.

Here’s a scalable six-step lead management strategy.

Customer Relationship Management

You need a CRM tool. A customer relationship management tool helps manage customer data and tracks it through your sales cycle or pipeline. It provides a single hub to manage all contacts with the customer.

CRMs integrate contact management, sales management, and customer service. They can be used to record information and send out messages like automated responses or marketing campaigns.

They can also integrate with marketing software to track how effective your online strategy is. CRMs make every customer related task easier.

Here are some quick stats:

  • The average ROI is $8.71 to every dollar spent on a CRM.
  • CRMs bring a 29% increase in sales.
  • CRMS increase sales productivity by 34%.
  • CRMs shorten the sales cycle by 8-14%.

You cannot and should not rely on memory, folders, or post-it notes. A spreadsheet or attributable database is better than nothing, but a dedicated CRM tool is much more preferable. CRMs can be niched by industry, so look for one that caters to your field.

Invest in Quality Leads

Any marketing activity targeted at the wrong people will fail.

Inbound lead generating content needs to be strategically prepared and professionally written. Outbound activities must home in on the right people – your Ideal Client/Customer Profile (ICP).

Bringing in high quality leads with good background information sets you up for success.

It will also put you ahead of the competition, since most companies have subpar lead data quality.

  • 62% of organizations use marketing data that is 20-40% inaccurate or incomplete.
  • The average company loses 12% of its revenue due to poor marketing data.
  • Only 13% of customers feel that salespeople understand their needs.

Track All Your Leads

Take and maintain very detailed notes and track everything about your lead.

Begin with where they came from/how they found you and which, if any, campaign to attribute them to. Keep tracking them through the sales cycle, regardless of how long or short your sales cycle is.

Lead tracking allows you to quickly identify who is a qualified lead and where they are in the sales cycle.

Research shows that only 25% of initial leads are legitimate and ready to advance to sales for closing. Leads shouldn’t be pushed through the sales cycle prematurely. Tracking allows you to follow and know exactly when and how to market to them.

Your CRM will help you do this. Detailed lead tracking through a CRM provides valuable insight. This insight will help you better understand your customer base, develop campaigns, and know when to stop wasting time on an unqualified lead.

Nurture Each Lead

Lead nurturing is forming and developing a relationship with your leads at every stage of their buying journey – and continuing to add value to the relationship with each touch point.

Lead nurturing is done cross-channel: over the phone, via email, through web content, on social media, and in person (when possible).

Here are some guidelines.

  • Respond quickly. 35-50% of sales go to the vendor who responds first. You don’t want to miss an opportunity because you were ‘late to the dance’. Adding lead nurturing autoresponders to your CRM will help minimize this issue.
  • Know who you’re speaking to.
  • Know your goal: where they are and where you’re moving them to.

Every touchpoint with a customer should be done with the intention of nurturing and moving them toward your goal – a closed sale.

Measure Everything

You need to collect measurements on lead interactions.

Some lead measurements metrics you may want to consider include click through rate, conversion rate, time to conversion, cost per lead, leads per channel, and leads to qualified leads.

These metrics will help you analyze ROI and determine effectiveness. Then, you can concentrate resources on those segments based on cold hard data.

Let Go

Don’t waste time on unqualified leads. Know when to close them out.

Email responders make it easy to keep leads around forever. However, unresponsive or unqualified contacts damage your email marketing open rate and skew your metrics. Even email lists should be pruned periodically.

The majority of leads won’t convert, so don’t sweat it. If they are the right prospects, they’ll come back to you to re-engage when the timing is right/better.

Following these steps will help you guide leads to a conversion, without any falling through the cracks. It will also help you identify any areas where things went wrong and measure how well you did.

With a successful lead management strategy in place, you’re now ready to scale your prospecting.

John Dubay
John Dubay is the Managing Partner at Leads at Scale, an outsourced sales support company that helps B2B companies generate well-qualified leads at scale, ready to be closed


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