Many companies have a thoroughly inadequate process of acquiring new leads, driving them through their funnel, evaluating their interest, and passing them to sales.
Just let these facts about lead management sink in:
- 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales, with the lack of nurturing being the primary cause. (MarketingSherpa)
- 68% of B2B organizations have not defined their sales funnel. (MarketingSherpa)
- Only 25% of leads are legitimate and should advance to sales. (Gleanster Research)
Chances are your organization is faltering when it comes to lead management and by doing so, you are losing revenue.
Creating a comprehensive marketing and sales strategy for lead management may seem like a daunting task, but by taking these 5 steps your organization can begin mending the holes in your process, moving leads from cold to close in a seamless transition.
To create your lead management process, a few items must first be defined. Your sales and marketing teams should jointly agree on the definitions and the processes involved. Kick start this by detailing these items:
- Define what your ideal lead looks like (title, industry, company size, etc…). Who is an influencer and who is a decision maker?
- Define what digital behaviors you are tracking and how they relate to your lead’s buyers’ journey. What defines someone in the awareness or educational stage, and then what differentiates this from the consideration stage or middle of the funnel?
- Define the buyer signals. What are the clues that a lead is ready for sales?
- Define how these data points trigger specific activities. When does specific content get served up? When and how does a lead get passed from marketing to sales? Who should be alerted?
You now have enough defined data to begin scoring. According to MarketingSherpa, 70% of B2B marketers don’t have lead scoring. However, this is one of the most important steps in establishing a concrete lead management process. Assigning points to the data you collect through your CRM or marketing automation platform will allow marketing and sales to instantly see the interest level and overall fit a lead has to your company’s offerings. Automated scoring will increase efficiency, order, and communication as a lead moves from cold to close.
This is often a missed step because it can seem so daunting. Successful companies start small and slowly build out their matrix, especially since the data may not always be readily available to create a more thorough approach upfront. Additionally, your scoring should be examined at regular intervals to ensure it is producing the sales-ready leads it claims. To learn more about getting started, download our handy scoring guide.
Divide and Conquer
You have now done all the hard work to figure out who your leads are and where they are in the buying cycle. This whole process is about taking the top of the funnel (a mass of email addresses in your database) and finding the individual (a prospect).
Segmentation becomes the driver of your lead management process. While your leads must still fall into buckets to remain manageable, the message is different for each bucket. A lead in the educational phase shouldn’t receive the same message as a decision maker that is only a few points from being passed to sales. In fact, according to Jupiter Research, relevant emails can drive 18 times more revenue for your company than generic broadcast emails.
Learn to Share
Utilizing your marketing automation platform (such as HubSpot) will show you with which pieces of content your lead has engaged. Yes, you have scored this, and, yes, you have used this information to create possible segmentations. But have you shared this intel with sales? Part of your lead management process should include passing over this information along with an understanding of how to use it. Since marketing owns the responsibility of lead tracking, the data often only lives with marketing. But by sharing page views, downloads, etc. with sales, your team is now going into a business call armed with the knowledge of what their prospect is interested in and what they already know. It no longer is an awkward first call to your prospects when the conversation flows naturally based upon that data.
Life after Sales
Lead management does not end with the lead going to the sales team. Regardless of the won/loss outcome there should be next steps built into your process.
- If you won, what are the opportunities for an upsell or additional service/product? The (now) customer should be passed back to marketing, placing them into a new nurturing campaign that speaks to their revised needs.
- If you won, and there are not opportunities for upsells or additional products, the customer should still receive regular communications that will teach them more about your offerings to increase stickiness and loyalty.
- If you lost, will there be opportunities again in the future? If so, the lead should be sent back to an appropriate “top of mind” campaign.
- Is the prospect really not a fit? If this is true, part of the process is making sure these individuals/companies are identified and removed from marketing efforts. No need to keep spinning your wheels. Sales should share with marketing what identifiers to watch for to help prevent such candidates from being passed over again in the future.
By implementing these 5 steps your organization will be able to take your non-existent or clunky lead management process and turn it into a well-oiled machine.
Want more tips on how to create a closed-loop ecosystem in your organization? Read this post, "Solve the Sales & Marketing Disconnect with Marketing Automation."