How to Create an Effective Lead Management Strategy
Every business depends on a steady inflow of convertible leads in order to grow. With effective lead generation strategies, you can pull in enough leads to keep things moving. But without proper lead management, sealing the deal and converting them is impossible.
Marketing teams use tried-and-true lead generation methods like content marketing, email marketing and social media campaigns to drive business. This requires effort and money—effort and money that you don’t want to flush away because you don’t have a plan to nurture and retain these leads. Once they’re in the door, you have to keep the relationship going.
But how exactly do you go about this nurturing? How much do you need to invest in this part of the process? What does effective lead management entail?
Why is Lead Management Important?
Sometimes also known as customer acquisition management, lead management is the process by which you convert interested prospects into paying customers. Once you’ve got them hooked, effective lead management strategies keep your leads interested and tracks and organizes them over time. You can have the best product and opening pitch in the world—but without management strategies to lead prospects to purchase, these marketing efforts are doomed to fail.
It Helps You Pull In The Right Leads
It’s great to have new prospects pouring in the door. But sales can’t afford to spend time cultivating every single lead, only to have half of them (or more) not follow through. This is where proper lead management strategies come into play. Marketing resources can help sales whittle down exactly what sorts of leads are most likely to convert, so they can pursue those catches specifically. For this, you need to keep both the marketing and sales teams on the same page.
Crafting buyer personas makes a good start to understanding leads better. Buyer personas help you understand why a person would be interested in your products and services and what qualities set these individuals apart. These persona traits might include credit card limits, spending habits, lifestyle, age and more. Use this data to power a proper lead qualification process. Separate potential leads from the noise and send only pre-qualified leads to the sales team. This will ensure higher conversion in a limited time.
It Helps You Focus and Create The Right Content
You need purposeful content to gain traction. Every piece of collateral that your leads encounter must connect with them. It must be relevant, up-to-date and unique. If your content is not helpful, you might as well give up any hope of generating qualifying leads.
The point is, buyers today are smart. They tend to steer clear of content that feels too “pitchy” and instead seek out materials they can use to educate themselves. Today’s buyer wants to make an informed decision. Focus on these three pillars to shape a strong content marketing campaign: value, relevance and consistency.
Lead Management Enhances The Buyer’s Experience
Buyers today are looking for unforgettable experiences. In fact, their journey with you can even outrank their appraisal of your products and services! Focusing on the customer’s experience as they travel along the road to conversion is key to revenue expansion.
But to make this experience stand out, you need to understand your buyer’s perspective. Target their pain points specifically and offer products and services that can meaningfully improve their lives. Everyone wants to feel heard and understood—demonstrating that you have done this with an intentional lead management strategy will help you seal the deal.
From the point of contact to the final sale, every activity or transaction should unfold smoothly for the buyer. To do this, you need strong data (generated by strong lead management strategies) to help you dig into your prospective customers’ thoughts and needs.
The Lead Management Process
Like almost anything in sales, lead management is a process, not just a single action. Your sales team should constantly engage with and nurture prospects in order to shepherd them along the buyer’s journey.
Every productive lead management process should center around these on five steps:
1. Capturing Leads
Before the leads come rolling in, you likely need a little information to jumpstart the process. But why would someone willingly hand out their personal information to an unknown entity? They won’t just do so for no reason. Give them a reason—offer them something of value for their data, be it demos, product/industry literature or other freebies.
Start your process by crafting materials that position you as an authority and offers your prospects more information—websites, blogs, newsletters, eBooks and more. Once shoppers start trusting your brand, they’ll be happy to share information or sign-up for newsletters and other literature.
Crafting a robust lead capturing system takes some intentional planning, but you can begin the process by focusing on two elements—lead magnets and lead capture pages.
Lead magnets refer to the “freebies” given in exchange for a visitor’s contact info. These freebies might be email templates, content cheat sheets, eBooks, case studies or reports that you send directly to someone’s inbox when they share their email address. Lead magnets build trust and authority, as they enable visitors to learn more about your business and encourage them to sign-up for your email lists.
A lead capture page is another imperative part of your lead capturing system. This page exists to collect visitors’ contact details, which you can use for further marketing in the future. Many businesses send their leads directly to their home page. This is a mistake. Create a specialized lead capture page that invites leads to exchange contact info (name, phone number, email address) for an offer. These presentation pages are scalable, informational and customizable to your business’ story.
2. Tracking Leads
Once you start generating leads, the next step is to track their origin. Collect data regarding their geography, their most active time and the channels through which they come—all of this helps you build demographic profiles. Use this initial data to focus your efforts and budget in the right direction.
As you start tracking the leads, you also want to compartmentalize them as inbound or outbound leads.
Inbound leads come from marketing efforts directed towards audiences that are actively looking for products and services that your business is offering. Meanwhile, outbound leads are generated from less discerning messaging, targeted at audiences regardless of their intent.
Tracking these leads—whether manually through telemarketing or automation systems—can help increase conversion rates down the line. You can deploy lead tracking CRM, use email automation systems and send inquiry forms to drive the conversation further. The idea is to keep your leads hooked.
3. Qualifying Leads
Lead qualification is perhaps the most critical part of the whole management process. At this point, it’s time to vet leads to see if they are able, willing or ready to buy your product or service. Effective lead qualification can streamline both the marketing and sales teams’ duties, increasing conversion rates while saving time.
The lead qualification process hinges on comparing your leads to the previously-crafted buyer personas. Compare attributes, check their shared characteristics and calculate how much they align. Effective lead management strategies will usually employ one of the following formulas for this process:
- BANT (Budget, Authority, Need and Timeline). A BANT framework ranks leads on the basis of their budget, decision-making authority, product or service needs and tentative purchase timeline.
- CHAMP (Challenges, Authority, Money and Prioritization). Similar to BANT, a CHAMP framework is a little more customer-oriented. Here you explore your lead’s pain points and identify their most pressing needs. Once you understand their challenges, you can direct your marketing efforts into solving them—and thus increase your conversion rate.
- GPCTBA/C&I (Goals, Plans, Challenges, Timeline, Budget and Authority/Negative Consequences & Positive Implications). Both BANT and CHAMP hinge on helping consumers identify their needs. But what if your lead already knows what they want and has an understanding of the solution? GPCTBA/C&I enables your prospect to analyze if they truly need your product, what positive changes they might experience and what they would lose out on by not buying your product.
- MEDDIC (Metrics, Economic Buyer, Decision Criteria, Decision Process, Identify Pain and Champion). MEDDIC especially lends itself to B2B sales, as it requires interactions with a number of stakeholders. With a MEDDIC framework, you can identify if there is a real use for your product within an organization. This saves you from wasting time on leads with no real opportunities.
- Lead Scoring. This simple system scores your leads based on their readiness to make a purchase by assigning them points based on data. Once you’ve assigned points to all your leads, tabulate the score and focus on those with higher conversion chances.
4. Nurturing Leads
To convert qualified leads into paying customers, you need to nurture and cultivate them. Keep leads engaged and hold their attention throughout the process with targeted content, email marketing and social media campaigns.
Using targeted content to nurture your leads significantly improves your chances of closing a client. Good marketing doesn’t turn to a one-size-fits-all solution. Spend time discovering your leads’ interests, objectives, goals and triggers. Use these findings to customize content that specific leads can identify with. The more your audience feels heard, the more paying customers you will generate.
You can move your leads from the consideration stage to making a decision with well-crafted emails. These emails might include social proofs and testimonials from successful clients, special promo codes and more information about your products and services. Above all, smart email marketing should enable leads to finalize purchases quickly.
Not leveraging social media is the biggest mistake businesses can make while nurturing leads. Social media content is consumed at an astonishing rate these days, with most users active on more than one social media platform. Not putting relevant content on social media platforms could cost your business high-quality leads. Create videos, infographics, reels and quizzes to increase engagement, leveraging paid social media ads as well to increase sales.
5. Distributing Leads
Assigning leads to different teams allows you to match prospects with personnel best suited to handling them. This lead distribution ensures that everyone’s needs are adequately met.
Most lead management campaigns pursue one of three distribution techniques:
- Cherry-picking. This distribution technique gets its name from the common expression and is the most manual strategy. Select individual clients and pair them with agents who you think might suit them best. While it requires a bit more labor, this ensures that every client-agent match is a good fit.
- Shark tank. “Shark tank” style distribution is a free-for-all method. You blast out leads to a range of agents and team members can compete to see who grabs the lead first. This promotes healthy competition and ensures that agents who feel they have the bandwidth to take on more work do so.
- Round-robin. Round-robin distribution focuses on equal account spread among agents. Go through assigning one client to each agent in a line; then when you reach the end, you start the order over again. This allows consistent lead distribution, so every rep gets the opportunity to talk to a lead.
Creating a Lead Management Strategy That Works
An effective lead management strategy drives sales while reducing acquisition costs. To do this, you need to focus your strategy around several key objectives. When building out your plans, consider the following:
Build Trust and Offer Value
The modern shopper has a wealth of resources at their fingertips thanks to the internet. It’s not at all difficult for them to do a little digging and find out if you’re being honest with them. At the same time, the digital age has shortened attention spans. If you spend your time waxing on about accomplishments without explaining how you can add value to your leads’ lives, be prepared to see a number of prospects pass you by. Be direct and honest about what you have to offer them.
Plan your content around ways you can build trust and offer leads something valuable. Let relevance and easy consumption be your guide here. Instead of aimlessly talking about your unique selling propositions, show your leads how your product or service will make their lives better. Put your audience first.
Back up any claims you make with statistics, numbers, client reviews, testimonials and social proof. Your content should be crisp, straightforward and free of any deceiving lingo. To maintain maximum transparency, ask for feedback and be available to answer any questions leads might have.
Provide Useful Information
As outlined above, any lead management strategy worth its salt focuses on your customers’ needs. Sales pitches that only brag about your business history might stoke your ego, but they won’t generate leads. Your content should strike balance between talking about the business and providing useful information for the audience at hand.
Of course, the best way to write truly useful content is to know your business, sector and audience inside and out. Deep research is a must. Outline all the possible ways in which your audiences can benefit from your product, and why your product is superior to others in the sector for their specific needs.
Make sure that you stay on the topic and your content matches the reading capacity of your target audience. Your reader is more likely to go to a competitor than to pull out a dictionary to decipher your content! Focus on delivering relevant information that is plain and easy to digest.
Pay Attention to Customer Experience
In a world where shoppers want to feel heard, customer experience (CX) is one of the single best drivers of future business. In fact, according to one Deloitte study, companies that focus on CX are 60% more profitable than their competitors. Why? Because every happy customer is a lead generation machine.
By creating credible experiences for your customers, you earn their loyalty—and their recurrent purchases. Happy, satisfied customers also turn into your best cheerleaders and revenue-drivers. Their word of mouth sales pitches hold more social proof than any ad and will net you more reliable prospective customers.
To make lead management customer-centric, focus on improving engagement. For example, you might increase engagement with loyal clients by creating a loyalty program while leads at the top of the funnel will benefit greatly from a chatbot. Personalized offers are also great at increasing engagement with both old and new customers. Use sales enablement tools with robust analytics capabilities to determine what engagement strategies work best for your customers.
Focus on Targeted Marketing
For your marketing funnels to succeed, you’ll need to be precise with your audience selection. You can’t talk to everyone! A lack of precision also puts you at risk of running out of marketing budget before you even find reliable leads. From content to conversation, it’s all about honing your message. Blasting out generic and vague collateral will make your audience question your trustworthiness.
Targeting your marketing facilitates better communication and helps you reach the right audiences. It improves brand awareness, cultivates better CX and encourages customer loyalty. It also allows you to build better, more nuanced marketing strategies.
It’s a fairly straightforward process. First, identify the buyers you wish to serve. Then, create a clear action plan for reaching them. This plan should include deliverables and an achievable timeline. Figure out which channels your intended audience uses most, as that’s where you want to focus. Once you have their attention, send hyper-specific and relevant information their way. Use your content to create an emotional bond and explain your product’s intent.
Targeted marketing consistently proves to be one of the most ROI-focused marketing strategies, because it helps teams to filter out the noise and reach potential leads quickly. As such, consider targeted marketing as a North Star to guide your content creation and overall lead management strategy.
Build Your Lead Management Strategy With The Right Tools
Marketing and sales efforts require investment in terms of time, money and human capital. While there are no shortcuts to gaining quality leads, practicing some simple lead management strategies can at least ensure you don’t waste resources. Lead management streamlines operations, keeping the whole team focused on executing the most targeted messaging at any point in the sales process.
While every business will tailor their lead management strategy to suit their needs, a few elements are common to all—relevant content being one of them. Strong content encourages more meaningful customer engagement. To fast-track the process, consider refining your content with powerful presentations.
Software like Ingage is here to help. An intuitive, cloud-based presentation software designed specifically to help you succeed, Ingage offers a wealth of resources to elevate your campaigns. Build powerful presentations and collateral with the design software and share it across departments with collaborative features. Robust analytics allow you to track customer engagement even down to time spent on individual slides, so you can refine your pitches even further.
The best marketing campaigns have the best tools behind them to back them up. What are you waiting for? Reach out to talk to an Ingage representative and level up your marketing campaigns today!