Lost in the shuffle of all of those marketing tactics you are trying to get a handle on for your business (Twitter, Facebook, Pay-per-click, SEO, email campaigns, website design) is the concept of Lead Management. Think about your business? Do you have a sound process for lead generation? What happens when you get a lead? How do you qualify that lead? What if that lead is not ready for sales yet? Without a sound process for lead management, your sales and marketing teams will be challenged and have to work harder for results.
An optimal Lead Management process has the following elements:
- Process. A framework has to be developed for your firm covering the “procedure” of managing sales leads from generation to closing. Hot leads and cold leads need to be managed differently. Does your firm have a process?
- Quality Lead Focus. Lead Management means Sales gets only the highest quality leads immediately. Those leads that aren’t ready for sales need to go through a nurturing process (ideally through Marketing Automation) until they are sales-ready.
- Buyer Engagement. By creating one-to-one relationships with prospects throughout their purchase cycle, close rates increase. Offering quality content and dialog to prospects is essential. This is where social media fits in.
- Measurement. A proper Lead Management program will increase conversion rates, generate better quality leads, and increase marketing ROI.
Aligning Marketing and Sales is the first step to a better Lead Management system. By agreeing to a universal lead definition, both departments will have the same goals and work more efficiently. A Lead Management framework consists of the following:
- Data Strategy. Is your current database organized with segmented fields? Are the lists cleaned, scrubbed, and updated? Are you using a CRM to manage the leads you receive?
- Lead Generation. By better understanding target audiences, pain points, and decision drivers, a sound strategy can be implemented. A combination of advertising, search marketing, and social media work together to generate “marketing-qualified-leads” that with proper nurturing, can turn into “sales-accepted leads”
- Lead Conversion. Websites are not online brochures. They need to be lead generators. Your online presence must be engaging enough to persuade website or landing page visitors to offer their email address to you because of the relevant content they read.
- Lead Qualification. When leads are received, they need to be scored and routed based on their explicit characteristics (who they are), and implicit characteristics (what they do on your website). By creating a scoring grid, sales-ready leads can be determined easily, which then allows further sales engagement.
- Lead Nurturing. By delivering relevant unique content via email towards prospects throughout their buying lifecycle, relationships are built as they are moved along from initial research phase to “ready-to-buy” phase.
- Analysis. Utilizing tools like Google Analytics, Marketing Automation, and CRMs, analysis of quality leads by media source and keywords can be determined, with the goal to spend more time and funds on those media sources that generate the most engaged, sales-ready leads.
In summary, as a firm looking to grow, do NOT think tactics first when developing a marketing plan. It’s not about just website designs and SEO. You must evaluate, consider, and budget the entire Lead Management system, otherwise leads will slip through the funnel and go to competitors. Think about it.