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):
- What’s the budget? How much can be spent? How much will not be spent?
- Who is the decision maker? Identify who has the authority to make the decision for or the investment in your product.
- What problems are they encountering? Are they ready to buy or just researching?
- 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!