Lead Management

What Is Lead Management?

Is a series of best practices, systems, and methodologies designed to generate new business clients, usually through various marketing campaigns and initiatives. Lead management is the process that tracks and manages prospective customers in response to advertising. It also can also be referred to as contact management or customer acquisition management. Lead management processes are designed for both B2B and B2C strategies and involve lead generation, customer inquiry, direct contact and lead nurturing for follow-up and retention.

As organizations grow, lead management can become incredibly complex and many businesses have shifted to online and automated technology to track and monitor, although personal interaction is still a necessary component to convert a lead into a customer.

Why Businesses use Lead Management Systems:

Lead management systems will let the business analyze and understand which of their tactics are generating the best leads. This allows the business to optimize their sales strategy so that it is as effective and efficient. The system will also document the client’s history of interactions and experiences of the business. It allows the business to analyze exactly how they converted the client from a prospect to a lead, and from a lead to a customer.

What Is Lead Management?

Lead management is a system and process of tracking and managing potential customers. It might also be known as customer acquisition management, or contact management. The systems can be divided into several processes:

Lead Generation – Businesses can use the lead generation process to create consumer interest into their products and services. They use marketing tactics, such as blog posts, social media, PR campaigns, events, advertisements and white papers.

Customer Inquiry and Capture – When a customer responds to the marketing efforts and shows interest, the system records the data. This creates a sales lead.

Filtering, Grading, Distribution, and Contact – The leads are then sorted depending on the validity of the response. They are prioritized based on the probability of becoming a customer. They are sent to the sales representatives to be contacted. It can involve a lot of work in defining categories, and sorting individual leads.

Lead Nurturing – Leads are separated into two categories, leads who have been contacted, and leads that haven’t. Any follow ups needed are also scheduled. This might mean that the sales representatives follow up with a phone call, or they may be part of a drip marketing campaign.

If the lead ends with a sale, whether it’s a service or a product, then the lead has traveled through the sales funnel, and become a actual customer.

Lead management is a more complex, complicated process depending on the size of the company. It becomes much more complicated when you’re managing thousands or hundreds of thousands of leads. The relationships still need to be cared for and nurtured after the leads turn into customers. Follow up is one of the critical factors in maintaining customer satisfaction and sales efficiency.

Types Of Lead Management Systems

Rolodex/Index Cards

Some companies prefer to use paper and pen, creating hard copies of their lead data, but most companies have moved onto other methods. Card lead management systems means that the sales representatives is writing all the information on a card, and then sorting it. They’re usually sorted alphabetically. Card lead management systems are low cost, easy to implement, and can be very useful for small businesses. However, they would be impossible to manage for medium to large businesses. They also don’t offer the accessibility of a more high tech system. The other disadvantage is that index cards can be misplaced or destroyed easily.

Business Cards

Some business to business, or B2B, sales representatives collect business cards from networking events, and during any interactions. They will write down notes, and data on the back of the business cards. This is another low cost, low tech lead management system,and it would be subject to the same disadvantages as index cards. They can be lost, misfiled, or destroyed easily. There’s also a limit to how much information can be written on the back of a business card, while still remaining legible, so you will need to write any more information on other paper, which increases the chances of losing information.

Spreadsheets

Some sales representatives use computer programs like Microsoft Excel, or other spreadsheet programs to create a system to track the leads. Computer based lead management systems are easier to alter than the lower tech systems. You can edit the information easily, and if you need to, you can add another column if you want to add in extra information. Spreadsheet systems can be used to track massive amounts of data, and you can sort and search it by any field, which means that it’s very simple to find and organize the leads. Spreadsheet lead management systems are only as effective and efficient as the person, or people who manage them, and input the data. If the information is misspelled, or some information was neglected to have input, which could mean that it could be difficult to find the lead at a later date. Spreadsheets also can’t generate any reports on your leads, and it won’t track your successes. You will need to do this manually.

CRMs

CRMs, or customer relationship management programs are one of the best and most efficient ways to track and manage your leads. There’s many different CRMs, and the prices can range from free versions, to ones that cost thousands of dollars. One of the biggest benefits that they can track the leads, and generate reports so that you can analyze the success and failures of your strategies. You can even set up automatic reports, for example, a weekly report on leads closed, and new leads, which will show how well your business keeps up with incoming leads. Many CRMs also let you access the system on a home computer, smartphones, or other devices.

Benefits of Lead Management

One of the biggest benefits of a lead management system is that it can optimize your sales lead conversion. One of the most critical goals for sales representatives is to convert prospects into actual customers. Although according to HubSpot, three out of four sales representatives don’t actually know what they’re doing. This might be due to poor sales training, which means that they don’t have fully developed skills in securing new business, managing the existing sales leads, or they don’t understand the best ways to sell customers products and services that they need. The CRM can store all the information needs, track the sales leads, and categorize them for different stages of the conversion. However, your sales team will need training to be able to manage the CRM, improving sales performance, and acting on followups in a timely manner.
A CRM will allow your sales representatives to interact with your customers, and potential customers, and guide them through the sales process effectively, and efficiently. It will also allow the representatives will be able to examine which methods have the best results, and therefore optimize their performance. They will also be able to use the system to avoid the problems that most sales teams encounter, such as poor internal communication systems, and a lack of a centralized data system. Avoiding problems, and using the systems means that the sales team can focus on delivering customer satisfaction, and driving sales growth.

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