10 ways to manage sales leads better
Is your Lead Management Process in place and is concrete? Or you still old-school? Why do you have a business? For generating sales leads and profits and ROI(Return on Investment).
And how do profits come in? Through leads! And how do you convert leads into customers successfully, through lead management, right?
Lead generation can be done in many ways but after that the most important ingredient in the recipe for making profits is lead management.
In this article, I will be telling you 10 ways to better manage sales leads. But, first let us have a short glimpse of what exactly are sales leads?
What are sales leads?
A sales leads is a contact, individual or organization who has the potential or interest to buy your services or products.
Businesses gain access to sales leads through advertising, trade shows, direct mailings, third parties, and other marketing efforts.
If you are thinking why does lead management matter? It matters because it brings in business.
10 ways to better manage leads
1. Construct an effective definition of leads and make sure your employees are familiar with it.
One of the biggest disconnects between the sales team and the rest of the organization is the definition of a sales lead.
Every business organization defines sales lead on their own and that is completely okay.
The purpose is to unite your sales team under a single, well-understood meaning of a lead.
It is one of the biggest reasons for misunderstanding and confusion in the organization. The sales team may be considered X as a lead while the rest of the company believes Y constitutes a lead.
When does a prospect exactly become a lead? This is the question that needs to be answered accurately.
Were you aware that 90% of leads that come in never get the first touch from the sales department? It is because the person in charge of a lead generation never gets around to determining who the right person is to receive the lead. It is routed to the wrong person or lead is not sales-ready.
In both the incidences, the salesperson won’t be in the position to move the prospect along the sales funnel. Their attempts will go in vain as there will be no result which will make the salesperson move ahead with the hotter leads.
To be effective in selling and earning profits, the sales department and the rest of the organization need to have a concrete and clear definition of a sales lead.
2. Install a CRM tool.
Now that your whole organization has a concrete definition for what are leads for your company, you need to have a CRM tool (customer relationship management) to manage leads that will not require the use of manual systems like emails, spreadsheets or excel.
To maximize effectiveness, you need to provide your sales organization with a tool that captures information about each and every interaction with your prospects and customers. Without a dedicated CRM system, you are flying blind.
The lead management system will help your sales department record, follow-up and convert leads effectively. If you want to build engaging and meaningful relationships with the leads and prospects, you have to have an effective lead management system.
You have invested your valuable resources in lead generation, you definitely do not want to lose any.
CRM lead systems help your sales team in:
- Assures accuracy and reduces data entry time
All leads are recorded into a centralized secure database and then assigned to your sales team. Since CRM systems give you multiple ways for capturing and entering leads into the system, your team spends less time entering data and more time acting on it. Plus, with complete visibility to all leads, there’s less chance of multiple people calling the same prospect.
- Develop consistent sales processes
Sales processes in CRM systems allow you to convert more leads and helps the sales department stay in front of prospects at the right times and with the right information to avoid losing a prospect’s interest. With a sales process your sales team always knows what to do next.
- It speeds up lead qualification for better follow-up.
Powerful reporting in most CRM’s shows you where your best leads are coming from, who your best-performing salespeople are and how long it takes typical leads to convert into active opportunities. Faster and quality lead qualification means more efficient and effective sales cycles, maximizing your sales efforts.
3. Track the source of incoming leads.
There are many sources through which people get to know about your services and products, for example advertisements, websites, referrals, or maybe social media.
What you need to know is where each lead is coming from? But, why?
Think of it as an added benefit, if you track your leads, you will get to know which strategy is working best for you and which source is bringing in more leads.
You already have the information on what is interesting or compelling enough for this particular lead that they gave out their contact.
It’s also important to track lead sources as you need to keep track of important numbers like what’s the average number of touches before a visitor turns into a lead, or what sequence of touches work best in converting visitors to leads.
If you don’t know this information, you won’t be able to replicate what works.
If you don’t capture the source, you have no way of figuring out what’s working.
4. Distribute your leads timely.
Determining which salesperson should be given which lead could be tough but if you will not work quickly, you are going sales.
Online sales lead go cold faster than you think.
Studies show that salespeople need to respond to leads within 48 hours of a prospect providing a means for contact for more chances of sealing the deal.
Think about your own experiences while buying a product, if the company did not respond on time, you lost interest, right?
So, for your leads to be interested in your product, your lead distribution should be quick and follow up should be quicker.
5. Nurture your leads properly.
Sales and marketing are like Tom and Jerry, they live together but do not always get along well.
Sales complain about the quality and quantity of leads received from marketing. This is one of the biggest issues that many organizations face.
There can be two reasons for the conflict: leads are not enough or leads are nor perceived properly.
The solution to this is the lead nurturing process that does its job well.
Developing prospects into sales-ready leads is a big challenge for many organizations and lead nurturing is key.
Depending on the products and services you offer, most people are probably not ready to buy based on their first interaction with you. Best practices call for nurturing your leads over time.
Moving prospects along the sales process by giving them value is the core of lead nurturing. Content, service and constant connection are major keys in this process. Sales enablement teams help bridge the gap between marketing and sales. They calibrate marketing collateral so the material provides value to the sales department in a selling situation.
6. Extract more information from prospects.
The team of best salespeople focus on detailed and qualified leads and so should the rest of the team.
More the information about the prospect, the more the excitement of your sales team would be for the lead.
Whoever’s collecting prospect information needs to extract additional information from every prospect with each interaction.
Information including “what interested you about our products” and “why is it important to you.”
If the leads are hot enough, have enough information, and are qualified enough to really close sales, the sales team will be motivated. The prospecting team has to do a great job making sure that enough information is present to actually make touch with the lead.
7. Hold regular sales review meetings with the marketing and sales teams.
Regular meetings with the team help you in tracking their progress, reviewing the lead quality, tracking the win/loss records and CRM systems.
Through meetings, you can also address the problems your team is facing and can find a solution to it.
Your staff should feel valued, comfortable and appreciated so that their motivation to work never goes down.
8.Quality over quantity of leads.
Quality definitely surpasses quantity anytime.
The number of leads does matter at some point, but if none of them are of your use then?? Quality matters more.
If you have 5 leads and 3 are quality leads who are really interested in your product and want to buy, and 2 are there just for an inquiry.
The 3 which are interested will be your preference over all the 5 leads together.
The sales team focusing on the quality of sales leads instead of the quantity of sales leads will be more effective for the business.
9. Measure your every activity.
First, you need to determine what you want to measure and why.
Measurements generally include cost per lead, cost of acquisition, lead source, size of the opportunity, buying cycle, geography, size of the company, etc. Once you determine what you want to measure, you can put the necessary tools in place to capture the information.
When you have the right information, you can determine the return on investment of your marketing efforts and focus on the campaigns and prospects that will increase your sales pipeline.
As a sales leader, knowing the key indicators and ensuring that they’re kept an eye on is crucial to your team’s success.
10. Give your prospects customers like treatment.
Treat prospects like customers and watch as leads become customers.
Leads are engaged and nurtured until they decide to buy-in.
Then, salespeople move to the next lead.
Sales managers should inculcate the idea that prospects are customers.
With customer-centric sales being the proven effective style of selling, treating leads like they’re just another number on the list is just not going to give them any value and will make them unimportant. It’s about providing value and letting them know how important they are for your business.
Remember that leads should never be treated as contacts. They are deemed sales-ready (or at least close to that), so interacting with them with the attitude that they’ll be working closely with your company in the coming periods is a good mindset to take on this matter.
A bonus tip.
Preload your database with the right prospects.
Your customers are the first step you have to climb on the business ladder.
Most people have the mindset that they already know who their customers are, but many companies tell us they find a few shocks and surprises when they do an analysis of their customer base.
So get an assured confirmation on what you know about your customers. Then, once you know who your customers are, define a few key attributes about them.
This could be external attributes such as geography, company size (employee count and revenue), or internal attributes such as products, territory, credit type and contract type.
Now you can use the profile of your best customers to better define and acquire new prospects.
No sun means no photosynthesis and no photosynthesis means no food for plants. Same way sales lead brings in business for your organization.
But, when they are not managed well, they can prove to be fallout for your organization.
So, now you know why you need these 10 ways to manage sales leads
Now go and apply these ways in your organization and do some great business.
Do not forget to thank me later!!!