What is Lead Management Process? | Importance, Best Practices, Tools

Lead Management
Sayani
Sayani
Growth

5 Min

A Complete Guide To Lead Management Process [Updated 2022]

What’s the first thing that your leads want?

They want you to win their attention!

Earning your lead’s attention is the first step toward lead management. After that, going for a quick revamp of your lead management strategy to meet the leads’ evolving needs won’t be a bad idea. 

Thanks to lead management automation tools, businesses can be in their best form to garner attention from their leads. 

But before you get to the tools, you must ensure that you have the right lead management process.

And if you’re new to following an organized and effective lead management process, keep calm and read on. 

In this post, I’ll walk you through the ABCs of the lead management process – what it is, its importance, stages, lead management best practices, metrics, and much more.

So, let’s begin with a cup of coffee!

What is Lead Management Process?

Lead management is acquiring and managing potential customers until they convert. It involves capturing leads, qualifying, and engaging them to a point where they make a purchase. 

 

Lead management is quite complex but popular. It involves several steps and strategies to track prospects, engage, and nurture them to ensure conversion. Let’s get into the details of lead management stages down the line. 

Why is Lead Management Important?

A proper lead management process can help you understand your customers better. Not only that, lead management can contribute significantly to your business growth. Check out a few statistics here.

  • Nurtured leads produce 20% more sales opportunities
  • Organizations that nurture leads generate 50% more sales at 33% lower costs

So, the better lead nurturing and engagement, the higher the conversions and revenue.

Besides more conversions, here are a few other important reasons why the lead management process is vital. 

  • A lead management process can provide your business with lead data like demographics, contact, and how they respond to your marketing strategies. Thus, you can find out the possible areas of improvement to ensure a frictionless buyer’s journey.
  • A lead management process enables your sales reps to constantly be in touch with the prospects. Therefore, with consistent nurturing and engagement throughout the sales process, they can place your product at the top of their minds. 
  • Throughout the buyer’s journey, you can create a stable relationship with the prospect, winning their trust. Also, with sales lead management, you can improve user experience and stand out from the competition.

What are the Five Stages in Lead Management Process?

As mentioned already, the lead management process is all about;

− capturing leads and tracking their behavior across all channels, 

− nurturing them with valuable content, 

− managing interactions, and 

− helping your sales team to push them faster down the sales funnel, thereby making a successful conversion. 

There are five main sales lead management stages included in the process. Let’s size up!

1. Lead Capture

Where do you find your leads? 

Email marketing, social media channels, inbound calls, website forms, seminars, referrals, etc.

A good lead management tool or software can capture leads automatically from all sources and feed them into your CRM system. It prevents the risk of leads falling through the cracks. 

Lead Capture

Lead management combines your lead generation efforts with sales opportunities. As you run marketing and sales campaigns for lead generation, this lead management stage ensures collecting these leads from several sources and bringing them to a single platform. 

2. Lead Qualification

Did you know 67% of lost sales are due to improper lead qualification?

Qualifying leads is a vital stage of the lead management process. It ensures quality leads and increases the possibility of higher conversions. 

Sending all the captured leads directly to the sales team simply increases their workload resulting in a drop in productivity and waste of time. Thus, it is critical to qualify leads based on:

  • Interest to purchase
  • Capacity or budget
  • Needs addressing (does the solution meet their needs?)

When qualifying leads, ensure that you record this information for future reference. Lead management platforms can help you store and access qualification data whenever necessary. 

3. Lead Distribution

Lead distribution is assigning the right leads to the right sales reps. Let’s say, you have a team of sales reps with experience in different B2B products and geographies. 

How would you determine the best sales rep for a lead?

Here, the lead distribution process comes in. 

For instance, you can;

  • Assign the lead to a sales rep who is a specialist in a specific industry
  • Or you can pass the high-potential big-budget lead to someone who’s more experienced in sales

Though you can assign leads manually, having good lead distribution software is an asset. Lead distribution solutions can ensure routing the leads based on your predetermined criteria. 

In fact, with an automated lead distribution system, you can expect a whopping 87% higher conversion rate. So, look for a platform like RevenueHero that works best for lead management and witness your sales soar higher. 

4. Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing is a process in itself. It involves building a relationship with the leads through consistent interaction and engagement. 

This stage of the lead management process consists of strategies like running educational campaigns, promotional campaigns, sending informative and follow-up emails, and engaging the leads with valuable content like blogs, newsletters, e-books, etc. 

At each sales funnel stage, provide leads with appropriate content to help them make an informed purchase decision. 

Benefits of Lead Nuturing

5. Lead Conversion

The final stage of the lead management process is conversion. The best thing about this stage is that if you ensure proper performance in the above four stages, the lead is bound to convert.

At this stage, the lead makes the buying decision. So, if the lead’s interest in your product is genuine, they have the budget, and the product addresses their needs in the best possible way, you can expect a successful closing. 

To seal as many deals as possible, track all the other stages of lead management minutely. Let the lead management process flow seamlessly without any friction. The better the user experience, the higher the conversions. 

How to Implement a Perfect Lead Management Process?

Your lead management workflow can only get better with a solid lead management process. So, if your organization lacks one, follow these lead management steps to implement an effective method.

Step 1: Identify leads and understand them

Who are your potential buyers? 

Where do they stand in the sales process? 

What are the buyer personas?

Address these aspects at the initial stage of implementing a lead management process. 

Your marketing team must identify the buyer personas to focus their marketing efforts in one place. First, try and create a profile based on your existing customers. Here are a few starting points to carve out the buyer persona.

  • Demographics – Includes details like your ideal customer’s location, size of the organization they work for, their industry, problems, challenges, and needs.
  • Behavior – How are your ideal customers behaving? What are their decision-making patterns? Do they read blogs, eBooks, etc.? Or simply Google the information they want?
  • Lead source – Here, identify the sources wherefrom the leads typically find you. Did they come across your page on LinkedIn or one of your tweets? Are the leads from direct website traffic? Or have they read a blog mentioning you?

Besides, you must also dig deeper to find out the job position of the lead, their mindset, how they visited your website, etc. 

Step 2: Generate leads and collect lead data

The lead management process begins with the marketing team determining the first point of contact of the potential lead. To generate leads, you must know their source. This, creating and tracking content is vital.

  • Deliver valuable content like whitepaper, eBooks, blogs, and webinars behind lead capture forms to generate leads. Collect critical lead information through the forms to use during lead management.
  • Add trackers to links shared on social media and emails to understand lead behavior and interaction with your content. 
  • Further, use marketing analytics to determine your lead source – how people come to your website, the most visited pages, their clicks, etc. It will help you identify the top-performing content and the content type your leads engage with. It will also help you understand their needs, wants, and interests.

Step 3: Lead Scoring

Lead scoring is an essential part of the lead management process. It helps to determine the lead’s interest in your product. 

The potential factors in determining a lead’s score are demographics and behavioral details. Based on this information, you can check if the lead can qualify or not because;

  • The higher the lead score, the more likely it is for the lead to convert.
  • Cold leads (unqualified ones) can go through the lead nurturing process until they are sales-ready
  • Lead scores consider the actions taken by the lead. The score is likely to reduce by inactivity (like not clicking on links or blogs)
  • Your sales reps can prioritize lead calls. For instance, they can prioritize and schedule meetings based on lead activity.

To ensure a sound lead scoring system, spend time determining the factors critical to your business. Then you can develop a lead scoring system that best suits your business. 

Step 4: Nurturing leads

Use the collected lead data in this step. Know your leads’ interests and their likely position in the sales funnel. 

The leads who aren’t sales-ready yet can pass through a good lead nurturing campaign. Many of these leads can be in the awareness or research stage, finding the solutions to their pain points. 

Provide these leads with relevant content, and educate them with useful blogs, product demos, tutorials, promotional offers, etc. 

Here are a few practical tips for creating an ideal lead nurturing campaign. 

  • Add relevant and prominent CTAs (Call to Action) buttons or links in your content. 
  • Personalize emails and social media communications to build relationships
  • Plan your content and use a content map to know what type of content would be appropriate for what type of lead
  • Maintain constant communication from first contact until they are sales-ready and can be passed off to the sales team. Offer targeted and customized content to build relationships.

Step 5: Pass on leads to the sales team

Once you are sure that the lead is sales-ready, pass them off to the sales team. Take a look at the lead scores to identify the qualified leads. Here’s how you can pass off the lead strategically.

  • Score the lead based on activity and ensure that they do not need further nurturing
  • Get accurate information on lead activity and background from the marketing team. Ensure that the information provided is accurate
  • Ensure lead research by the sales team as well. It will help you gather as much lead information as possible. Before scheduling a meeting, ensure you have vital lead information like their organization or business size and structure, revenue model, existing products/services, key decision makers, etc.
  • Ensure immediate initial contact of leads to avoid their return to the nurturing phase.
  • Motivate the sales team through incentives, encourage them to perform well, and follow up on leads more systematically and strategically.

Step 6: Track leads

Track and measure your leads throughout the sales funnel. Even though they are passed off to the sales team, keep tracking and evaluating as needed. 

The primary motive is to keep the leads moving through the sales funnel without being lost or sent back to the nurturing stage.

  • Measure sales performance
  • Measure marketing and ROI
  • Track leads throughout the sales cycle

Along with focusing on leads, evaluate your processes as well. Find out what works and what doesn’t so that you can wipe out the roadblocks and make the sales process seamless. 

6 Ways to Improve Your Lead Management Process

Lead management is a complex process. And for those who haven’t tried it yet, it may be challenging to plan, manage, and optimize the entire lead management process.

To help you, I have created a list of six tips to improve your lead management system process flow. 

1. Start with buyer personas

Before anything else, craft your buyer personas. Create an avatar to list their most important characteristics or traits like;

  • Pain points
  • Industry
  • Age
  • Income
  • Job title

Creating a buyer persona will help you provide more targeted information to the prospects. At every step of the lead management process, you must use this persona to ensure that the prospect feels like your interactions are personalized and just for them. 

2. Personalize lead capture

Even though you create a buyer persona, you must know that no two leads are identical. So, to optimize your sales lead management, personalize the lead capture process. Here are a few quick ways to implement personalization.

 

  • Get AI chatbots at work. They are great at imitating real-life conversations. Moreover, they are quick to make prospects comfortable. FYI, 68% of consumers like talking to chatbots because they provide quick answers. 
  • Use custom web forms for prospects at various stages of the sales funnel. Instead of using one standardized web form, create different forms for different portals of lead capture. For instance, let the form on the landing page be different from the form on the free-trial page because the visitors of these pages will be from various stages of the sales process.
  • Once you implement the lead capture method, evaluate it with a second method like A/B testing. Test the form fields, CTAs, and other elements of your web pages, optimize them, and make changes where required. 

3. Score and prioritize leads

I have already mentioned lead scoring above. It is one of the most valuable and effective ways to improve your lead management process.

Score the leads to rank them based on their sales readiness. Then, use our predetermined criteria for qualifying the leads as ready to talk to the sales team. 

Scoring helps with lead prioritization and also improves alignment between marketing and sales. It also streamlines the follow-ups with the right leads.

4. Craft targeted content for lead nurturing

Create targeted content for unqualified and qualified leads with low lead scores. These leads aren’t a great fit currently, but they can be sales-ready with proper nurturing. So, focus on the content you offer them. 

Run email marketing campaigns on autopilot. Personalize these emails and provide the right content based on their stage of the buying journey. 

For instance, if the lead is still in the initial stages, send them content that introduces your product and tell them how it can address their needs. 

You can also invest in webinars. Invite the qualified leads and unqualified groups in separate sessions and provide them with relevant content. Delivering valuable information can help you build relationships and win their trust. 

5. Maintain a clean database

Don’t make your sales team search for data when they need it the most. And prevent blunders like inaccurate lead information by cleaning your database. 

Maintain database hygiene and ensure that the information you have is accurate. Some good practices for cleaning data include:

  • Detailing hygiene protocols to your team. Mention how and when they should clean the database to maintain hygiene. 
  • Getting a data analysis tool to identify duplicate entries – names or other information. Delete these entries monthly.
  • Implement automatic verification to ensure that the contact numbers and email addresses work. 

6. Technology integration

Your lead management workflow can perform the best with tech integrations. Integrations play a massive part in optimizing your lead management process. 

So, invest in the right lead management automation software. It will help you capture, organize and update leads systematically. 

Also, lead management automation systems can eliminate the tedious and repetitive tasks often performed by sales reps. Thus, they can focus on lead interaction and conversions. 

Lead Management Best Practices

Want your lead management process to work better for you? Then implement these best practices to achieve the best results!

Best Practices of Lead Management Process

Track lead sources to ensure productivity

Identify the lead sources that bring you the most productive sales leads. For instance, you may attract the best high-potential leads from your blogs and product videos as these contents are relevant to the target audience and deliver high value. 

You can leverage the relevant content to attract leads by protecting them behind a web form. That means to access the content; the prospect needs to fill out the form. Thus, you can record the lead information in your system. 

Even after attracting the leads, track them to find their type. Also, keep monitoring the leads after they purchase to understand their satisfaction and needs. These lead lessons will help you improve the process and make the sales cycle more efficient. 

Map the sales process

As leads travel through the different sales process stages, map out how they are documented. Before you expect your lead management automation software to give the best results, define how the leads will be followed-up. 

Chalk out an ideal sales process before you begin changing your map. A benchmark or vision will help you achieve the perfect sales process. 

Check and maintain data quality

According to a survey by Gartnerorganizations believe that poor data quality is responsible for average losses of $15 million per year. 

Moreover, about 60% of the surveyed organizations have no idea how much bad data costs their business

To avoid such overwhelming losses, make small changes like monthly reviews and deletion of duplicate entries to improve data quality. It will help you;

  • Make better-informed decisions
  • Boost productivity
  • Improve customer relationships

Keep tabs on anonymous users

Anonymous visitors to your website can give you a lot of information. Although they may never fill out your form, you can track their IP address and location. 

The information about anonymous users can also help you determine whether or not you are getting the right people to your page or website. 

You can think of tweaking your message in social posts and ads if you have too many visitors and too few leads. 

Important Lead Management Metrics 

How to know if your lead management process is working or not? By tracking metrics! 

Here are the three most important metrics that indicate whether or not your lead management system is working.

1. Cost-Per-Conversion (CPC)

CPC tells you the amount spent to acquire a customer. You can calculate CPC by dividing total ad cost divided by the number of conversions.

Your objective is to reduce this metric as much as possible without affecting the best outcomes. Ask yourself these questions when calculating the ad costs:

  • What total is spent on direct advertising like banners, PPC, etc.?
  • How many dollars/ hours were required to set up the initial lead generation strategy?
  • How many dollars/hours were spent on maintaining the lead generation effort or automation?
  • What are the other overheads (like additional sales reps, server costs, etc.)?

Addressing these questions will help you determine the balance between tactics that generate higher leads but are expensive and tactics that generate lower leads but are affordable.

Balance both tactics can help you generate leads without spending massive amounts.

2. Conversion rates

Measure your conversion rates to evaluate the lead management process. But before doing so, set a benchmark conversion rate per industry standards. 

You can also set a conversion rate based on your past performances. For instance, if your previous year’s conversion rate was 5%, set a benchmark of 10% in the current year. 

To improve your conversion rates, there are a few things you can consider working on:

  • Tweak your ads. Make improvements.
  • Optimize your landing pages
  • Ensure lead nurturing at its best
  • Craft good CTAs

3. Average lead response time

Is your lead response time within 5 minutes? Or 30 minutes? Or do you take 24+ hours to make contact with your lead?

To capture leads, you need to be fast. The faster you respond to your leads, the more likely they will convert. 

When a lead makes initial contact, try interacting with them within 5 minutes of contacting you. It is the golden window you must aim to achieve. 

Research says 78% of customers buy from a company that responds to their inquiry first. So, grab that chance and don’t let your competitors take over. 

How to Choose the Best Lead Management Tool?

To make your lead management process seamless and efficient, getting the best lead management software is essential. 

Here are a few features you must look for when purchasing a lead management tool.

1. Automatic lead capture

Your lead management tool must be able to capture leads from various sources like websites, events, social channels, marketing campaigns, etc. 

If you have an existing list of leads, the best lead management tools help you import these and eliminate duplicate entries, thereby cleaning the data automatically. 

2. Intelligent routing

The best lead management systems assign incoming leads to sales reps based on predetermined criteria. 

For instance, to assign leads based on geography, you can input the criteria in the software and get leads from a specific location given to reps from the same geographic area. 

3. Track lead actions and schedule meetings

Tracking multiple leads manually is a big no-no. Lead management software can follow each lead seamlessly without your intervention. In addition, it helps sales reps to access previous records of interactions like meetings, phone calls, and emails and also reminds sales reps of follow-ups.

4. Sales metrics analysis 

Your lead management tool must enable users to track significant metrics like conversion, close ratios, acquisition rates, sales cycle, etc. 

Leads - Sales metrics analysis

It must also help users identify suitable lead sources, lead quality, and evaluate performance. Advanced tools can also help you discover trends and patterns in marketing processes. 

5. Data security

Data security measures are a must in your lead management tool as lead data is highly confidential. You do not want it to land in the wrong hands or even internal teams. Hence, ensure that the tool has top data security protocols.

6. Integrations

The best lead management tools integrate with your existing tools, like CRM systems, product development platforms, etc. Your lead management system must connect to your existing software through native or supported APIs or integrations. 

Top 3 Lead Management Tools in 2022

While many lead management tools are out in the market, I have handpicked the three best ones (with great difficulty!). Here they are:

1. Salesforce Sales Cloud

The lead management tool has one of the best features, a lead management software by Salesforce. It is best suited for enterprises that require advanced lead management features. The software nurtures leads, automates the sales process, and tracks the marketing ROI.

Key features 

  • Automatic lead scoring and lead routing
  • Tracking marketing campaigns
  • Rick activity timeline
  • Integrates with Outlook, Google apps, and several others.

Users can start with a 30-day free trial. But the price range of the software is relatively high. So, it seems to be a fit for enterprises or large-scale businesses. 

2. RevenueHero

A sales acceleration platform, RevenueHero offers users the necessary lead management software features. The tool allows marketing and sales teams to qualify leads, route them in real-time, and schedule instant meetings.  

Key features

  • Third-party app integrations (Salesforce, Zoho, Mixpanel, HubSpot, etc.)
  • Schedule instant meetings
  • Real-time routing to enable sales reps to get into quick conversations and follow-ups
  • Qualify leads faster based on your qualification criteria
  • Lead prioritization

For pricing details, contact the RevenueHero team.

3. Apptivo CRM

Apptivo has several features, along with lead management. It can effectively track leads and manage them in a centralized database. 

Key features

  • Lead scoring 
  • Instant report generation
  • Unlimited custom fields
  • Customizable views

Compared to Salesforce, the platform is affordable with a 30-day free trial and a free forever starter plan. 

I promise there are many lead management tools to be added to this list. Want a few more options? Check out here

Time to Wrap Up!

I hope there’s no doubt regarding the importance of a solid lead management process. 

To stay ahead of the competition, you must (ASAP) implement a sales lead management process if you haven’t already. Once you implement the process, you can make continuous iterations to achieve perfection. 

Manage your leads efficiently; nothing can stop you from witnessing a massive surge in conversions and bottom line revenue.

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