Lead management is the ability to capture, respond, and manage incoming leads. When spending so much time and money on creating the perfect campaign, you want to make sure you have numerous best practices in place to manage your leads throughout the entire lifecycle. Unfortunately, many marketers don’t employ clearly defined lead management practices. And when you don’t have processes in place, you risk decreased ROI, a leaky sales funnel, and poor relationships with leads and customers.
But done right, lead management creates more educated buyers, helps you better understand their needs, and ultimately means more revenue. So how do you do it? Take a look at these 5 tips for best practices in lead management that you probably aren’t using.
1. Work directly with sales to determine when a lead is “sales ready”.
In order to properly create a solid lead scoring framework, work with your sales team to build criteria that determines the steps prospects should take before they are ready for a sales call. Remember, that this needs to be agreed upon by both sales and marketing to be effective. Criteria should include:
- Demographic Information: Geographic location, company size, etc
- Lead Source Information: PPC Search ad, social, offer, etc
- Behavioral Information: Web page visits, ebook download, webinar attendance, etc
2. Make sure to implement lead recycling practices.
Even though you have worked with sales to determine when a lead is ready to be contacted, there will be instances where sales has concluded that certain leads are not quite ready to engage, or sales has not followed up with these leads. To avoid these leads falling into a black hole, you can implement lead recycling practices to make sure that you have a followup plan in place. You should create a process based on two scenarios; leads will be automatically recycled based on a set of business rules, and leads will be manually recycled by sales if they are not deemed ready. Once they get sent back to marketing you can base sales re-engagement on a business rule, such a lead scoring change, or sales can use its knowledge of the leads’ buying interests to indicate a time-frame in which the lead should be re-engaged.
3. Score leads using implicit behavioral data.
Since your prospect is in control of the buying process, you need to make sure you are monitoring their online activities to know when they are ready to move to the next stage. Lead scoring determines where your buyer is in your funnel. Lead scoring should consider the prospect’s interest level defined by their actions. For example, track email clicks, ebook downloads, web page visits etc, and update scores accordingly. Also, be sure to score assets differently depending on where in the funnel they are. You might score a pricing sheet much higher than an entry level ebook.
4. Track anonymous visitors and tie their data to new leads.
Simple code on your web pages help you track prospects, both anonymous and known. This helps tell you who is interested in your products. As anonymous prospects complete forms on your website or landing pages, any previous website visits can be automatically attributed to the new lead. This is important to determine sales readiness of new leads, since you know the entire history of the relationship with the prospect–including which campaign helped them find you in the first place.
5. Progressively understand your prospect’s needs.
Just like dating, as you build a relationship with your prospects, you should be learning more about their needs. Remember, every campaign that a prospect responds to tells you about his or her interests. Every link they click, and every piece of of information they fill out on a form tells you more about them. And you can really be clever with your forms. Don’t ask your prospects to enter information you already know. Use progressive profiling and use the opportunity to find out something new. You can also use this information to target what sort of content may appeal to them in an email or lead nurturing campaign.
What other lead management techniques do you use for success? We would love to hear about it!