3 of the top 5 most important goals for B2B organizations are lead generation, sales and lead nurturing, according to the 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report compiled by CMI. Out of the leads that get generated, 79% of it won’t convert to sales!

The cause of this huge discrepancy is not that they have no interest in making a purchase from your company but it is due to the negligent amount of nurturing that took place. For an increase in lead conversion, sales lead management must improve and one of the main hurdles that are faced during this process is lead nurturing.

65% of B2B organizations do not have an established lead nurturing process, according to MarketingSherpa. This results in millions of dollars’ worth of lost customers. If lead nurturing is done properly, it can generate more leads and convert more prospects into fruitful and loyal customers.

Leads, generally, do not become customers immediately and in the case of B2B companies, they take much longer. The leads need to be first warmed up and then systematically a relationship needs to be built that enables the prospect the convert to a customer.

Keys To Lead Management

Marketing and sales organizations have begun to take a deeper look into creating and maintaining an effective sales lead management system that focuses on lead management strategies that have a greater impact on short-term revenue. There are some important things that need to be kept in mind when managing sales leads.

Both the sales and the marketing departments of an organization must be on the same page when it comes to defining a qualified lead. In order to increase sales effectiveness, sales and marketing organizations need a detailed definition of what qualifies as a lead and the rules of engagement with the lead. The definition most often includes, but isn’t limited to; budget, title, geography, buying horizon, size of the opportunity, size of the company, etc.

  • Lead Nurturing

Run campaigns that allow you to get in touch with your prospects multiple times during the sales process until they are finally ready to make a purchase. You can use special offers, new product announcements and promotions as tools to reactivate old leads and to stimulate interest. 

  • Quick Lead Distribution

Quicker the response rate, higher the chances of sales closing deals. Quick responses set you apart from your competitors. The buying cycle and the size of the opportunity le dictate the intensity and persistence of the follow-up cycle.

  • Lead Source Tracking

So as to understand what works and what doesn’t, it is vital to capture the source of each lead. This is ideally done through a CRM system that automatically inputs the data when the lead enters the system. 

Many organizations believe in the traditional method of spreadsheets, email and word documents to manage leads and lead flow but in order to maximize effectiveness, your sales organization needs to be able to capture information about each and every interaction with your prospects and customers as soon and as efficiently as possible. This can be done through a dedicated CRM system. 

  • Quality Over Quantity

When it comes to generating new sales, a substantial amount of time gets wasted by sale organizations in churning through lead lists of poor quality. For this reason, it is important to work on increasing the quality of each lead as it will energize your sales organization to convert the lead.

  • Measure Everything

Once you have determined what you want to measure and the reason for it, you can put the necessary tools in place to capture the information. Measurements would generally include the cost of acquisition, cost per lead, size of the opportunity, lead source, size of company, geography, buying cycle, etc. Once the right data has been collected, you can regulate the ROI for your marketing efforts.

Lead Management Steps

There are a few steps that you need to take in order to improve your sales lead management process and to see a substantial increase in the lead to close ratio.

Step 1: Research

In order to shape and improve your lead management process, you would need to identify and understand your leads; who your potential buyers are, as well as your ideal customer. For B2B customers, you would need to understand their mindset and their role within the company. This data will shape the lead management process, content, and sales approach that will be used to close deals.

Step 2: Sales Funnel Mapping and Content Plan Creation

With an established funnel, it becomes easier to map out the buyer’s journey and becomes a framework for the lead nurturing process. Based on the position the lead is at in the funnel, the type of content you create will vary.

A lead that is at the top of the funnel would need content that is targeted towards lead acquisition and won’t have that much of focus on conversion. Conversely, a lead that has moved through the funnel is more tuned into your solution and would need content that supports the solution you provide like case studies.

Step 3: Lead Nurture Strategy Creation

A lead nurture strategy is vital to every kind of business but varies based on different factors. When creating a solid lead nurturing campaign, there are a few things that need to be kept in mind, so as to improve sales lead management and ROI.

  • Define audience segments and their needs
  • Set KPIs for the kind of goals that are important to that audience segment
  • Establish a conversion timeline
  • Product segment-specific content
  • Create audience specific email campaigns
  • Focus on the value offered over the final sale

Step 4: Lead Scoring

According to MarketingSherpa, 61% of B2B marketers send all leads to sales but only 27% of those leads are qualified. This puts an immense strain on the sales team. For this reason, lead scoring is an essential part of improving the sales lead management process.

The positive and negative criteria used to score a lead vary greatly from one business to another. It is vital to establish this standard and base it on your business model and your ideal customer.

Step 5: Lead Routing

During this step, a lot of potential sales get lost in the shuffle or even get passed on from marketing to sales prematurely. With the use of an automated approval process, you can ensure that no leads are missed and that they can only shift once they have met certain criteria.

In Conclusion

So as to experience sales and CRM success, it is vital that there is a successful implementation of a lead management program. If a proper lead management system isn’t in place, even a top class CRM system and the most experienced sales team won’t be able to yield the results that you are looking for.

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