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The Insightly Insider - Don't Lose your Prospects to your Rolodex: how Proper Lead Management Puts You in the Lead

However it happens for you, it’s happened…You’ve made first contact with someone from a cold call, inbound marketing efforts have dropped you a new lead, or possibly sales support has passed on a qualified prospect. Whatever the source, the next steps taken are our topic of the day…. Lead Management.

Lead management techniques can make or break what happens in the sales process, which makes it so important for companies, specifically sales and marketing teams, to have a clear-cut and defined process for how potential business is managed.

Hello, everyone! My name is Sarah and I am a part of the Insightly Sales Team. I look forward to sharing tips on building a successful lead management process as well as hearing your feedback and techniques that have worked for you!

Let’s get started!

 

A successful lead management system provides a way to organize and rate leads as they are generated. Without such system, coordinating distribution and maintaining a lead through the full cycle can become a blur.

In a world where the click of an advertisement online can land just about anyone on a lead list, if you attempt to qualify every lead that comes through you’ll find yourself managing a high capacity of people who are probably not very interested… Is there anything worse for a salesperson? Yes. The worst thing that can happen is that engagement with a strong lead is bogged down, interest is lost, and the lead fizzles out. To help avoid this scenario, you should choose a strategy to qualify your leads right off the bat.

Though there are many out there, one such existing strategy is to identify Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline (BANT). BANT has been around for many years and has proven to be a consistent way to qualify leads. Striving to answer the following questions from the get-go will improve conversion (Don’t be afraid to ask the questions! Be confident. The best salespeople are):

  • Budget
  • What’s the budget? How much can be spent? How much will not be spent?
  • Authority
  • Who is the decision maker? Identify who has the authority to make the decision for or the investment in your product.
  • Need
  • What problems are they encountering? Are they ready to buy or just researching?
  • Timeline
  • What is their ideal timeline? When is implementation slated?

These are going to be key factors to recognize before moving forward. This information will allow you to identify strong leads and manage your pipeline accordingly so leads are taken care of in an appropriate manner.

 

What lead qualifying techniques do you use?

 

Your sales strategy is designed to consistently land you qualified leads. Though qualified, your leads will typically fall on your pipeline anywhere from interested to ready-to-pull-the-trigger-right-now.

Leads ready to buy should take priority over leads with a timeline that is 6 months out, just as leads interested in purchasing 6 months out should take priority over those purchasing in a year. This is precisely why the ‘T’ in BANT exists, so you can prioritize and handle leads appropriately.

Though once in a blue moon a lead will fall right in your lap ready to buy, the truth is these are few and far in between… But this shouldn’t be discouraging! Some leads need to be nurtured as they move through the process and it is often the leads closely managed that not only convert to sales but result in larger purchases.

After initial contact has been made and you’ve grabbed your leads attention, persistence is going to be key in a lead management process. Annoyance is not. Though ambiguous, you should walk the fine line here. Follow up tactics can be a tricky and require trial and error, but it’s important to identify what works consistently. Keep these questions in mind:

  • Does your lead prefer phone or email?
  • Both are strong in their own rights. Both have cons. Having a friendly voice on the end of a voicemail combined with an email to provide visual is a safe middle ground.
  • When is the best time to follow up?
  • Middle of the week? Middle of the day? Finding out what works best for specific leads is great, but find out what works best overall. For instance, Monday morning and Friday afternoon are notoriously unsuccessful times to catch people.
  • How often is too often?
  • This will really be dependent on the lifecycle of your sales process. Year long sales and month-long sales have a wide difference here.
  • When is enough? How many times will you reach out to an unresponsive lead before ending the relationship? A safe benchmark would be no response to at least 3 attempts at connection. After this, consider creating a breakup response. Breakup emails are a great way to let a lead know that you will no longer attempt to reach out, while making a last-ditch effort to elicit a response. Afterall, no one likes to be broken up with so this can be an effective way to win back attention.

When a longer process is anticipated, don’t hesitate to build a relationship! Nothing crazy, but remembering a favorite sports team or fun fact during a call one can help your next discussion avoid coming off too sales-y. However, it is a sales call… so don’t stray too off topic and be sure to meet the goals of the call. Friendly and effective is what to strive for.

 


Never stop improving!

Was the sales won? Did the lead go with a competitor? What lead source has the highest conversion? The lowest?

A lead management system will not create itself overnight. Stay encouraged because proper lead management systems take time to perfect. Be sure to regularly review what worked and didn’t work with your leads. Yes, your process should have guidelines in place to help hold its form, but don’t keep it too rigid. Leave room for improvement and adjustments. A sales process should always be flexible so that it can be amended when necessary because people and markets change.

In order to manage everything we’ve discussed, establish a system to help you stay on top of your communications, follow ups, and pipeline stages. If you haven’t already, implement, commit to and use a CRM! It’s what they’re there for! It is not enough to have a CRM. You gotta use it. A CRM’s effectiveness is lost if you don’t.

A CRM allows you to capture contact information, of course, but also track the last time you were in contact, what you were in contact about, and what you need to accomplish the next time you connect. Don’t let the lead stray away because you forgot to call them one month down the road like you said you would. Make it an instinct to immediately schedule a follow up task and, if you need, set a reminder to be associated. This way (even if you can) you don’t need to remember every lead you’ve contacted and what was discussed. Your CRM will do it for you.

What tips do you have for implementing a Lead Management Process?

As mentioned, there’s not one right answer so sharing ideas helps to explore the many available options.

I’ll look forward to hearing your feedback!

Thanks,

Sarah 


23 comments

  • -1

    Hi everyone:

    This discussion will happen right here on this page. You can post your questions here and Sarah will be here to lead the conversation. We are excited to see you next Tuesday! 

  • 1

    I'm excited for this discussion! We use a "chat format" with another sales organization I'm involved with and it's actually quite effective. You can be passive and read all the tips as they are posted or active by asking questions and offering your own experience on the fly!

  • 0

    Hi Amanda! Great to see you're joining us.

  • 0

    Hello everyone and welcome!

    I'm excited to get this discussion started. Please feel free to provide feedback on your experiences and ask any questions you may have about creating and implementing a lead management process!

    I look forward to hearing from you.

  • 1

    I'm here. Has this thing started? I'm not sure what's supposed to happen but I don't see anything going on.

  • 2

    Hi Sarah! I suppose my first question is about getting team members to embrace a lead mgmt system. I work with someone who used a "multi-spread sheet/color code system" (which was time consuming an inefficient) and is just starting to Insightly. However, it is still more like a glorified Rolodex and she's not making the connections between how she previously prioritized leads and how she can easily do that now. So how do you introduce using Insightly and embracing ALL it's functionality?

  • 0

    Hi Robert!

    I'm so glad you're joining us.

    Yes, we've started. What happens from here is we'll post tips from Sarah over the next two hours regarding managing leads and we'll hold a discussion as a group. Feel free to ask questions or share examples of your best practices. .

    Sarah is also with us live! 

  • 0

    Community,

    Make sure to refresh your page every few minutes to see all the new information being shared.

  • 0

    I’m hoping this is an acceptable question but, if not, perhaps it could be addressed outside this discussion.

    As a small business, if we’re attracting people to our website by using content marketing, I’d have to assume those people are at least somewhat interested in our product - in my case new custom homes. What I don’t know is how able they are to purchase, how soon they’d purchase, whether our product is the right product, and so on. Using an automated system, I’d like to get them to “self qualify”. I envision using a series of emails, like a drip marketing campaign, that’s based on whether or not they own land or are looking for it. Part of this strategy would be the use of surveys. Based on those results, I believe it would be possible to have the leads be automatically graded. How can I accomplish that using Insightly? It seems like I’d need to add an automated marketing product and use APIs provided by Zapier (or similar) to feed that data into Insightly. Does this seem right? I've never really made use of a CRM like Insightly or any marketing automation tools, so my understanding is limited - and strictly theoretical.

  • 0

    Hi Amanda!

    Anytime there is a change in the process, buy-in from your team is going to be difficult, but necessary. Many of Insightly's first time users are coming away from using spreadsheets to manage their leads and while this can be comfortable, its not scalable as volume increases.

    Making the change to using a CRM or new lead management process can be uncomfortable, but does become easier and makes work more efficient for yourself and also gives insights for a team as a whole. Stressing the importance of this is key.

     

    Hi Kathy, 

    Thanks for joining us! I look forward to hearing your feedback! 

  • 0

    Hey Community-

    Sarah's second portion has been added!

  • 0

    Hi Robert, 

    You're absolutely on the right track!

    With your use case specifically, you need to identify a leads budget, timeline and need before a qualification can occur. Self qualification would be a good place to start narrowing in on these identifiers through the drip campaigns and surveys. Once this information has been collected and you've qualified/rated your leads, this would be the perfect time to make personalized connections through phone calls and/or emails. 

    A way to push this collected data into Insightly would be through the use of our open api or integration with Zapier. Once in Insightly you can filter against lead rating to be sure your are reaching out to your hottest prospects first and tracking their notes, interests and follow ups under their record. 

     

  • 0

    We have the third portion posted.

    We would love to hear any tips you all may have. 

  • 0

    To speak to Amanda -- We've had more than a few people who were married to their spreadsheets. So we showed them by getting all their info into Insightly we're all working off the same "system" (no need for special coded tabs that only they understood!). This also meant that if they got sick or went on vacation we could easily cover for them. They definitely saw the bonus in that! 

  • 0

    Exactly, Bengt!

    The use of a CRM allows not only allow you to pick up where you last left off with a lead, but others on your team as well. Specifically with Insightly, you're able to delegate tasks to other users on the system so the tool becomes a collaborative environment for everyone. 

  • 1

    Thanks Bengt! Yes, I completely agree with you and have actually set it up that way, all previous spreadsheet info is now in Insightly. Where I haven't been successful (yet!) is translating the color coding and other info that's still in her head to a prioritization process in Insightly. 

  • 0

    I'm starting my first Sales job soon and those questions you listed like, Does your lead prefer phone or email? were really useful. My question is, once the lead has converted, what's the right amount of contact to keep the relationship going? 

  • 0

    All of Sarah's tips have been posted. She'll be here until 10 am (pst) to answer any questions you may have.

  • 0

    Hi Thomas!

    A standard timeline as you're getting started with a lead might be to reach out every 3 or 4 days until you've established a relationship. Beyond will depend on how long your sales process takes! If a typical sales process for your product takes a month, I would not allow more than a week to pass without contact. If your process takes many months, you can start to expand this time to touch base once a week or every other week to check in and gage their standing.

     

     

  • 0

    Amanda,

    Getting someone's color coding translated can definitely be the toughest part. But it sounds like you're on the right track. Plus, being positive and helpful (which it sounds like you are) goes very very far. The best of luck!

  • 0

    Awesome. Thanks!

  • 0

     

    There are plenty of lead management strategies out there, the key is to find one that works best for your industry, team, and process. Keep the tips we've discussed in mind during implementation:

    • Put to action a lead qualifying strategy to rate your prospects
    • Nurture your relationships and follow up, follow up, follow up!
    • Make adjustments when needed
    • Track and maintain your data with a CRM

     

    What techniques out there have been successful for you?

     

  • 0

    Though the end of the 2-hour time slot has come to an end, I'd still love to hear your feedback! I'm more than happy to continue to discuss lead management techniques and answer any questions you may have!

    Thanks everyone!

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