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What is Lead Response Time? How to Calculate and How To Improve It?

Sayani Deb

Believe it or not, lead response time can make or break a deal. When a company receives a new lead, time is the main essence. That means, it matters how fast you reach out to the lead after they show interest in your product or service.According to research, 88% of leads expect responses within 60 minutes of their query, and 30% want a response within 15 minutes.So, to stay ahead of the competition, companies must respond to their leads as fast as possible. In a nutshell, a fast response can make all the difference.Read on to get a deeper understanding of lead response time. By the end of this blog, you will know how speed to lead can turn into an asset, boosting your overall sales.

Definition of Lead Response Time

Lead response time is the time taken by companies to reach out to the leads who have contacted the business via inbound or outbound channels. It is a metric that measures the lead follow-up time after the prospect has made a contact through an email, call, or web form.

What is an Ideal Lead Response Time?

The ideal lead response time or the golden window for lead follow-up is five minutes or less. A study revealed two remarkable findings related to the 5-minutes lead response time.

  • A company is 100 times more likely to connect with a prospect when they make initial contact within five minutes as compared to an hour later.
  • Furthermore, a company is 21 times more likely to convert a lead into a conversion opportunity when responding within five minutes or less as compared to one hour later.

Apart from the 5 minutes window, a Harvard study revealed that businesses responding to leads within one hour are 7 times more likely to have meaningful conversations. The chances of making a sale are higher.Meanwhile, companies that reach out any later may miss out on the chance to sell their product/ service effectively to the right people.

How to Calculate Lead Response Time?

The research revelations above clearly tell how important lead response time is for a company to boost lead conversions.Now, it is time to understand the calculation of lead response time. Once you know the calculation, you can create a sales strategy around it.To calculate the lead response time rate,

  • Consider the total amount of time between lead creation and your first response to the lead. Do the same for all leads assigned to a sales rep.Time of new lead creation – lead follow-up time = Time-taken to respond
  • Divide the sum of the total time by the total number of leads to get the average lead response time.Sum of time taken to respond for all leads/ Number of leads = Average lead response time.

Let’s consider an example for a better understanding. Say a sales rep responded to 3 leads on Wednesday. The following are the time taken by the sales rep to respond to each lead:

  • First lead = 2 minutes
  • Second lead = 9 minutes
  • Third lead = 7 minutes

So, the average lead response time for Wednesday would be;Total time taken to respond to leads/ number of leads = [(2+9+7) minutes] / 3 = 6 minutesTherefore, the average lead response time for Wednesday would be 6 minutes.Calculating lead response time is easier with lead distribution software. Check out the best lead distribution solutions worth investing in.

7 Important Lead Response Time Statistics to Consider in 2022

We believe in numbers. Hence, we have listed below a few lead response time stats that you must know about in 2022.

1. Businesses responding fast gain up to 50% of sales

The companies that make fast initial contact with the leads can close 35 to 50% of sales. So, ensure that your sales reps have sufficient resources to make the first contact as soon as possible.

2. Reaching out after 5 minutes drop conversion rates by 8 times

Responding to leads within the first five minutes shows an 8x jump in conversion rates.

first call response times
Source

However, the 2021 Lead Response Research revealed that 57.1% of first call attempts to the lead occur after a week.Missing out the five-minute mark can cost you a lot of revenue. And if you do not contact the lead at all, 30% of the consumers are likely to switch to a competitor.

3. Responding to leads after 30 minutes is 21 times less effective

Your leads won’t be waiting for your call for 30 minutes. If you reach out within 5 minutes, you are more likely to close more sales. However, if you let 30 minutes or more elapse your chances of selling the product sink. Even after five minutes, leads are 10% less likely to respond.

4. Expect 391% more conversions for a one-minute response time

Aim for a one-minute lead response time if you are looking for a surefire way to get the best output. Research suggests that a one-minute lead response time can improve conversion rates by 391%. Whereas, if you are a minute late (that is, a two-minute response time) the conversion improvement rates come down to 160%.

5. Timing the calls right boosts conversions by 49%

To seal the deal, you must work on perfecting your timing. Speed to lead statistics reveal that by timing your phone call properly, you can get a 49% conversion gain. Calling too late or making too many calls may result in the lead moving to a different company.

6. The average B2B lead response time is 42 hours

It’s a shocker that the average first response time of B2B companies is 42 hours. The companies that take a day or more to respond to their leads literally lose hundreds (or thousands) of leads.Even waiting for 30 minutes to an hour makes a lead contact a competing brand. So, waiting for 42 hours pretty much leaves no hope for conversions.

7. Only 27% of leads ever get contacted

After knowing the average B2B lead response time, it should not come as a shock that only 27% of the leads get contacted at all.Speed to lead statistics suggest that due to slow lead response time, only 27% of the leads are reached out to by companies. However, if organizations take the right approach, they can contact around 92% of leads.

10 Tips to Improve Lead Response Time

The importance of speed to lead cannot be denied. So, we have compiled a list of tips to help you improve your lead response time.

1. Manage inbound leads better with sales CRMs

Sales CRM systems are beneficial to document the interactions between leads and sales reps. Sales acceleration platforms like RevenueHero can support your speed to lead by;Notifying sales reps at the right time to reach out to the leadsTracking the leads to identify the ones that still require the first responseScoring and prioritizing leads when the incoming volume is highSuch platforms can help you optimize the inbound lead response time.

2. Set benchmarks

To improve your speed to lead, you must get familiar with your benchmarks. Simply put, establish what a good lead response time is and what your goal should be.For instance, 41% of customers expect an email response from the company within 6 hours of sending it. But many organizations strive to respond to emails within 10 minutes.Setting goals helps the sales reps to achieve the benchmark. Though you should shoot for the lowest lead response time, the goals you set must be realistic. Try taking one step at a time. For example, if your current average speed to lead is one hour, setting a goal of 30 minutes would be more realistic than 5 minutes.

3. Get automation tools

In this fast-paced, competitive business environment, automation is a must. Though you cannot automate the sales call, you can send automated emails and texts to keep the communication flowing.Use automated emails, WhatsApp texts, or SMS to confirm the leads that you have received their message. Once you get the lead’s contact information, reach out immediately via calls or messages and tell them what they can expect next.For automation, AI chatbots can be helpful. They can respond to most of the standard queries instantly. Further, bots can also collect contact information by engaging leads in conversations. Moreover, they can also qualify leads by asking prospects ley questions.

4. Distribute leads properly

Most companies, nowadays, invest in good lead distribution software to automate lead distribution and make the process more efficient. However, you must ensure setting the right criteria for the lead assignment.For instance, your lead distribution software may assign leads in succession to each of the sales reps in the team, distributing the leads equally. If there are any inefficiencies in the system, it will disrupt the average lead response time. So, work on the flaws and streamline the best way you can.Choose the best-suited lead distribution criteria for your business. However, be it based on geography, sales reps’ skills, expertise, or any other factor, ensure an equal distribution to avoid overworking of sales reps.

5. Track speed to lead

To improve your lead response time, you must know your current position. We mean that you must track your speed to lead every day or at least weekly. Keep a record of your progress. This will ensure that you are at par with your ideal lead response time.Further, try to analyze the primary business metrics to find out how your lead response time affects the business functions. For instance, the lower the lead response time, the higher the conversions or sales.Also, track the individual performance of your sales reps. Keep an eye on their lead response time. This will help you identify the ones that require support and training to improve.

6. Offer live sales support

You can win over your leads with live sales support who can respond to any query within seconds.In case of scheduled appointments with a company, clients may be ready to fill out a web form and wait for their turn. But prospects with a time crunch often look for real-time live support when visiting company websites.Here are a few ways to offer live sales support.

  • Make yourself easily accessible by mentioning a contact number on the website
  • Offer an on-demand live video chat facility
  • Set up a standard live chat pop-up

You can pick any of the above options to take your customer service to the next level. However, the live video chat option works the best because prospects can get real-time face-to-face support. This can add a more human touch to your brand and improve your conversion rates.

7. Schedule your sales reps right using analytics

Scheduling the sales reps right is one of the secrets to boosting your conversion rates.To ensure faster lead response time, you must ensure that there are sufficient sales reps to attend to the leads. With the help of analytics, you can evaluate the lead generation data to find the best days to keep more sales reps handy.For instance, if you observe that most website leads come in on Wednesday afternoons, you can strengthen your sales support during that specific time.Further, hiring more sales reps can help you improve your speed to lead. You can specifically hire sales reps to improve the lead response time. They can be in charge of making the first response to leads as fast as possible.

8. Use more than one communication channel

Emails are hands-down the most effective and professional way to communicate to prospects. But to improve lead response time, it is necessary to use multiple communication channels.If you want to accelerate your lead response time, leverage the advantages of other communication channels.For instance, make it easy and convenient for leads to reach out to you via phone calls, live chats, SMS, WhatsApp, or social media. Also, you can respond to them via these channels for faster and more efficient communication.

9. Empower your sales reps

Your sales reps are the main characters of the entire improving speed to lead episode. So, you must empower and motivate them to perform better.Provide sales reps with the necessary tools and resources that can help them respond to leads faster. Further, you can free up their schedules and reduce other jobs to avoid burdening them.Also, you can give your sales reps the freedom to drop out of any administrative meetings if it collides with attending to a new prospect.

10. Build a collaborative environment

Foster a collaborative work culture within your organization. Ensure that all your sales reps work together and understand the value of teamwork.Provide your sales reps an environment where they are not shy about asking for favors or granting them. This will make it easier for your sales reps to help one another.For instance, if a lead requires an immediate response and the sales rep assigned to them is unavailable, the rep can forward the lead to another sales rep who can attend to them.

Make Speed to Lead a Priority to Level-up Sales

For better conversion rates and higher sales, improving the average lead response time is a must.However, making changes to the lead response strategy of a company can be quite challenging. So, take help from platforms like RevenueHero that can help you shoot up your sales.The platform ensures real-time lead routing. You can set up lead qualification workflows to assign the leads to the right sales reps. Moreover, your sales reps can schedule, qualify, and route the incoming leads from web forms at your convenience.

Related Resources

Further reading

Everything You Need to Know About Sales Enablement
Sayani Deb

Before we dive into the informative part, let us tell you why reading this post is a must!

Did you know that only 22% of businesses are actually satisfied with their conversion rates?

Well, every business aspires to boost its conversion rates regardless of its existing customer base. They aim at optimizing conversions to increase the overall business revenue.

But, how do you achieve optimum conversions?

The answer is sales enablement.

Your sales teams often need the right materials, tools, and other resources to convert leads. And it is through a sales enablement strategy that you can ensure providing them whatever they need to drive more conversions.

So, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of sales enablement!

What Does Sales Enablement Mean?

Sales enablement is the process of providing the sales teams with the resources they need to drive conversions or close more sales. The resources may include information (on a lead or industry updates), content, tools, and specific knowledge that can help the sales reps effectively convert a lead into a customer.

The goal of an organization’s sales enablement strategy is to successfully provide the salespeople with the resources they need to engage the lead throughout their journey.

Importance of Sales Enablement

Research suggests that a successful sales enablement strategy results in a 23% higher lead conversion rate and 32% higher team sales quota attainment.

Here are the reasons why sales enablement is important for your business.

It takes the salespeople ‘back to basics’

Though buying behaviors have changed over the years, the fundamentals of a successful sale remain the same.

If your sales team emphasizes the basics like pre-call planning, setting an agenda, call execution, etc. the sales process will be much more effective.

Sales enablement teams and functions help the sales reps to hone these basic skills. As a result, sales reps can have more valuable lead conversations.

It promotes training programs for salespeople

Sales enablement promotes consistent and comprehensive training sessions for the sales teams to ensure everyone is on the same page.

The training programs deliver all up-to-date industry information, latest trends, products, technologies, etc. to ensure maintaining a competitive edge.

It creates content clarity

As defined, the foundation of a sales enablement strategy is to provide the necessary resources to sales reps.

Done effectively, sales enablement can provide the right content at the right time to the sales reps.

Also, sales enablement tools can gather resources like;

− internal and external content,

− value messaging,

− market intelligence, etc., and deliver them to the sales team to keep the leads better engaged.

Its benefits go beyond the sales team

Though the main focus of sales enablement is to equip the sales team with resources, they are not the only ones enjoying its benefits.

Everyone in an organization who deals with buyers requires the right content and training, aligned with the sales strategy, to engage leads. For instance, the support teams, customer success teams, etc.

All of these sales and customer-related teams can share the sales and training content of sales enablement. They can rely on the information provided by sales enablement teams to enhance customer experience.

Who Owns Sales Enablement?

Both marketing and sales own sales enablement.

The marketing team provides the salespeople with the resources they need to sell a product/service effectively. These resources include;

  • Blogs
  • Videos
  • Product guides
  • Podcasts, conversations, etc.

These resources support your sales team to interact with the prospects efficiently. Your sales team shares these materials with the prospects to help them make a purchase decision.

Additionally, the sales team can communicate with the marketing team about the missing resources that they need to share with their leads. Thus, the marketing team can get the new resources to enable sales reps to close more deals effectively.

Overall, both sales and marketing impact the sales enablement strategy of the organization.

What are the Components of Sales Enablement?

A learning and coaching plan

The first step to creating a sales enablement strategy is to develop a strong sales and marketing team. And to do so, you need a concrete learning and coaching plan.

The learning and coaching plan essentially involves training sessions for sales reps that can help them close more sales. They will understand the product, buyer personas, and target markets in detail.

Further, they can also acquire and hone their soft skills to remain competitive and ensure the best experience for prospects and customers alike.

Updated content

To ensure a successful sales enablement strategy, you need the right, updated content. That’s because if your sales reps want to convert a lead, they must provide value at every step. Thus, you must equip your sales team with the best possible content.

The more you make up-to-date content like blogs, videos, demos, whitepapers, etc. available to sales reps, the more confident they will be in dealing with the prospects. Hence, you can expect better conversion rates.

Tools and technology

While a sales enablement strategy can be implemented manually, the risk of errors will linger. So, without wasting any time, implement the best sales enablement tools and platforms.

Sales enablement technology will support your sales process and ensure that your sales reps efficiently close more sales, reducing the sales cycle.

Strategic initiatives

Your sales enablement strategy must be aligned with your business goals and organizational vision. While you may have the best of resources if your strategy isn’t aligned with your goals nothing will make sense.

So, devise a proper sales enablement strategy, considering buyer personas and the attributes of your sales team. For instance, identifying the stage of the sales process where your reps struggle the most will help you provide them with the right content, training, and tools.

Reporting and analysis

To develop data-driven strategies, reporting and analysis are a must. And to make the most out of the collected data, you must identify qualified leads and implement a standard sales enablement software.

With the help of a sales enablement solution, you will be able to interpret the sales information efficiently. You can also get insights like deals won, leads lost, sales reps’ actions, etc.

A leader-in-charge

An important aspect of the sales enablement process is to put the right leader in charge of the strategy. The leader should be flexible and must communicate with everyone involved in the sales enablement strategy.

Further, the leader must be able to communicate with the other employees of the organization who can deliver additional information to the sales reps.

Defined responsibilities and roles

A sales enablement team must have defined roles and responsibilities to ensure seamless workflow. Certain team roles must be assigned before implementing the sales enablement strategy. For example,

  • Chief Enablement Officer – Manages the overall sales enablement strategy
  • VP of Sales Enablement – Assists in overseeing the sales enablement strategy
  • Director of Sales Enablement – Converts the strategies into programs or initiatives
  • Sales Enablement Manager – Executes and delivers the programs developed by the director.
  • Sales Coach – Helps sales reps with their performances
  • Content Specialist – Finds out the most beneficial sales enablement platforms and tools for the company.

Regular check-ins

The regular check-ins point toward constant communication between the marketing and sales teams. The sales team must continuously update the marketing team with lead and customer insights that would be beneficial.

Further, the marketing team must share updated content with the sales team that would help them address concerns and sell effectively.

Sales performance KPIs

A sales enablement strategy is incomplete without KPIs or metrics. Well-defined sales metrics help you to understand which areas need improvement. Also, you can identify where the sales team needs the most help.

A few sales metrics examples are –

  • Average sales cycle length
  • Conversion rates
  • Average deal size
  • Sales reps & team productivity
  • Number of closed deals

What are the Goals of Sales Enablement?

Sales enablement has goals. It is a well-thought strategy and NOT a tool or templated solution that works for every business.

The one-size-fits-all formula does not apply to sales enablement. As a business grows, the objectives and goals of a sales enablement strategy will evolve. In short, it is an iterative process.

Coming to goals, the sales enablement function has three primary objectives:

  • To increase sales productivity
  • To reduce the sales cycle
  • To create long-term customers

All sales enablement activities are directed towards achieving these objectives. These activities target specific areas for improvement and create programs, platforms, and processes to boost the outcome.

A few areas that sales enablement activities improve are:

  • Align the buyer’s journey and the seller’s actions
  • Increase revenue by engaging prospects and creating a consistent experience
  • Improve sales rep’s performance
  • Build brand loyalty
  • Build and test sales enablement best practices to shorten the sales cycle

Sales Enablement vs Sales Operations

Though the terms ‘sales enablement’ and ‘sales operations’ are often used interchangeably, they are different. Here’s how.

  • Sales enablement focuses on helping the revenue teams to engage leads successfully. It orchestrates and drives a prospecting mindset across the organization. Whereas, sales operations focus on activities like compensation, incentive plans, benefits, revenue strategies, etc. to help the sales team function effectively on a day-to-day basis.
  • Sales enablement provides sales reps with the necessary resources, systems, tools, and training to improve their performance. Whereas sales operations evaluate sales productivity tools that streamline the sales process. It allows the sales reps to focus on selling rather than on administrative tasks.
  • Sales enablement aims at equipping sales reps to speed up the buyer’s journey. Whereas sales operations focus on the analytical and technological motions that boost revenue.

How to Setup Sales Enablement Process?

Aligning the sales team and optimizing outcomes determines the success of the sales enablement strategy.

Here’s a blueprint for setting up the sales enablement process.

Sales enablement drives business growth. But to implement an effective process, it must begin with a plan. So, start with;

Building a business case that explains the purpose of sales enablement in the organization or why you need it. Clarify the roles and responsibilities, establish the value of the sales enablement strategy, and ensure leadership’s buy-in.

Next, create the charter detailing the strategy and execution plan. Include the following information in the charter:

  • Mission
  • Stakeholders
  • Key responsibilities
  • Key deliverables
  • Budget
  • KPIs
  • Leading and lagging indicators

Focus on customer

Sales enablement focuses on shifting the organization’s focus on customers. It ensures refining and updating customer profiles and buyers’ journeys.

Thus, it helps sales reps to understand what customers are looking for, how to interact with prospects, and what is needed to convert the prospects into loyal customers.

So, to refocus on customers, you must;

Create the buyer’s profile

For a seamless customer experience, start with building the ideal buyer’s profile. If you already have one, reset it if required.

Though most sales teams know their ideal buyers, update them with the current details. Sales enablement usually reviews and refreshes the ideal buyer profile twice every year.

Map the buyer’s journey and touchpoints

Sales enablement aligns the sales process to the buyer’s journey to ensure a seamless customer experience. It ensures engagement and a positive experience for buyers, regardless of the stage they are in.

The main goal of sales enablement is to make the buyer’s journey hassle-free, no matter who they are interacting with or why.

Hence, sales enablement trains every sales rep and person in customer-facing roles to associate with buyers at every stage of their journey. This will result in winning customers’ trust and reducing the length of the sales cycle.

Develop sales enablement programs

There are four main programs that you must develop to support the sales team.

Recruitment

The 2021 Sales Development Report by the Bridge Group mentioned that retaining sales is difficult. The average salesperson tenure is 1.8 years.

With such high salespeople turnover, sales teams always recruit new talents. Thus, sales enablement helps develop an ideal profile of sales reps that includes their skills and experience levels.

Onboarding

Onboarding sets the new salesperson to the organization, its culture, benefits, values, etc. In short, it makes them feel comfortable. But there is no standard onboarding program.

A good onboarding program includes training sessions aligned with the sales rep’s experience level. This ensures that the experienced salesperson becomes productive in no time. Also, the new inexperienced salespeople are given core training.

For instance, B2B sales enablement process will have training programs for freshers and experienced sales reps.

The experienced ones may simply go through the product demonstration while the new sales reps must undergo soft skills training, product demo, and core training to be ready to perform.

Training

One of the main goals of sales enablement is to improve sales reps’ performances. Thus, the process involves training and reinforcement programs to;

  • Develop or enhance core competencies
  • Build better habits
  • Use tools and tech
  • Improve overall performance

Sales leadership program

Under this program, sales enablement supports the sales leadership roles and managers. It ensures coaching them to drive more revenue.

For instance, the front-line managers get training on how to coach more effectively, sales leadership gets an understanding of how to improve forecasting, and human resources can learn about attracting and retaining top talents.

Optimization of Technology

Sales enablement tools and platforms are an integral part of the sales enablement strategy. They ensure data-driven approaches, better-informed decisions, and better-equipped sales reps.

With the right sales enablement software, you can automate administrative tasks so that sales reps can focus on sealing more deals.

Check out the top sales enablement tools of 2022 here.

Develop feedback loops

The sales enablement process is iterative. That means, it keeps evolving.

Once you set up the process, you must ensure running a feedback loop between prospects, sales reps, marketing team, and sales enablement team. This will ensure a smooth communication flow.

As a result, sales reps will be able to share their insights about the leads. The marketing team can share updates and information with sales reps to help them sell more effectively.

Meanwhile, the sales enablement team can identify the areas for improvement. Additionally, customer success teams can be involved for extra information on existing customers.

Measure and optimize

To improve your sales enablement process, you must keep it under constant review. At regular intervals, check the KPIs and metrics. Find out how the strategy is performing. Measuring the progress will help you make necessary adjustments in the sales enablement process.

5 Sales Enablement Best Practices to Drive Sales

1. Leverage, tools, tech, and integrations

According to a study, 60% of sales organizations report longer sales cycles due to a lack of appropriate sales enablement tools.

So, implementing the right sales enablement software is a must for every organization. Using the right tech and tools will ensure that your team performs more efficiently. It will make the overall sales process more effective.

Sale enablement tools can help sales reps by providing them with the right content at the right time, automating tasks, lead management, etc. Additionally, they can be integrated with the CRM system to improve effectiveness and increase productivity.

2. Invest in coaching and training

Continuous training is an important aspect of sales enablement. To have a strong, high-performing team you must provide training opportunities throughout their tenure.

Apart from onboarding and regular training sessions, employ effective training tools, and teach the sales team to make the most out of these tools. Conduct quizzes, share crucial industry information, test their knowledge, and coach them on their soft skills.

Offer your sales reps the opportunity to progress. This way their productivity will increase and they will be motivated to perform as well.

3. Use analytical insights to scale best practices

A good sales enablement tool has reporting and analytics features. These analytics reports provide you the insights into sales performance.

Make it a ritual to evaluate these insights now and then. It is through insights that you will understand how your strategy is performing – what’s working for customers and what’s not.

Also, taking a data-driven approach to reduce the sales cycle and making informed decisions based on performance insights, will help you optimize the sales process.

4. Collaborate with sales and marketing teams

Sales enablement can be successful only when the sales and the marketing team work together. Both teams must be closely aligned so that they can share the right information and the right content with each other.

Also, establishing a good communication system between both parties is a must. Together, they can access all content, drive better customer engagement, and ultimately boost conversion rates.

5. Set up a content strategy

Your sales enablement strategy may not perform up to the mark if you do not have a proper content strategy.

High-performing businesses use sales enablement software to track how effective the content is. They evaluate and measure various metrics and analytics to identify the content that is performing well and the ones that are not.

Also, with a proper content strategy and set KPIs, you can track the content pieces driving engagement. Thus, you can ensure a high-performing sales enablement strategy.

How to choose a Sales Enablement tool?

Since there are plenty of choices out there, here’s a list of factors you can consider to choose the best sales enablement tool for your business.

User-friendly Interface

A simple UI works best. It enables the sales reps to navigate easily. Moreover, other stakeholders can also use the tool if required. They would not need additional training if the tool is simple and user-friendly.

Enables CRM integration

Though most sales enablement platforms provide CRM integrations, ensure to check for it. CRM integrations help you to directly deliver materials and content into the CRM. Thus, your sales reps can easily access them from the CRM system.

Inter-department collaboration

Sales enablement involves several departments – sales, marketing, product, human resources, etc. So, look for a solution that enables easy collaboration across departments.

Training feature

Does the tool provide the facility for delivering training resources to the sales team? Find out whether or not the platform is equipped with tools to support training sales reps.

Reporting and analytics

One of the most significant features of sales enablement software is reporting and analytics. Ensure that the tool has an advanced analytics system to generate insights from the sales performance.

Easy access to content

Finding the right content at the right time is critical. So, figure out if the sales enablement software has the functionality for easy content access. It will save time for sales reps and make them more productive.

User-friendly content creation tools

The sales enablement tool you get must have an easy-to-handle content creation tool. Check if you can create quality content fast without wasting any time. Ensure that the sales and the marketing function are working at the same pace.

Benefits of Sales Enablement

Sales enablement has far-reaching impacts on business growth. With an ideal sales enablement strategy in place, you can transform your average-performing sales team into a high-performing team.

Here are a few top benefits of sales enablement.

Sales process efficiency

Businesses with sales enablement achieve a 49% win rate on forecasted deals, compared to 42.5% for those without.

Sales enablement benefits your sales team. It helps the team to operate more effectively and efficiently.

Sales enablement tools integrate easily with CRM systems making every process strategically aligned with the sales department.

The sales team can access data and make changes whenever required. Resultantly, sales reps can focus more on selling than on data entry and updating.

Empowering sales managers

Sales managers’ buy-in is crucial as they play a pivotal role in implementing sales enablement strategy.

The perfect sales enablement program backed by advanced tools and tech can empower sales managers to hire better and speed up the ramping process.

According to research, sales enablement can reduce new-hire ramping by 60%. Also, it decreases the time spent on admin by 30%.

Improved sales training

Sales reps undergo a lot of training to ensure successful deals. In addition to new sales reps’ training, there’s ongoing training for the existing sales reps.

Furthermore, sales reps may not retain all of the training information no matter how good the training material is unless visited regularly.

With sales enablement, sales managers and leaders can design and implement training initiatives and make them easily accessible to the sales reps. These training materials can be pulled out from the system whenever required. As a result, you can see an increase in the sales training effectiveness.

Empower your Sales Team with Sales Enablement

Sales enablement helps the marketing and sales teams to collaborate and work towards driving revenue. It systematizes the sales process, making it more effective and efficient.

With the growing competition around, you cannot deny the importance of a sales enablement strategy in your organization. Statistics say that there has been a 343% increase in the adoption of sales enablement over the past 5 years.

So, what are you waiting for?

Devise your sales enablement strategy and partner up with a platform like RevenueHero. This platform can ensure hassle-free lead qualification, routing, and prioritization. Essentially, RevenueHero can ensure creating a positive impact on your bottom line ROI.

Lead Vs. Opportunity — Understanding The Difference And How To Manage Them Successfully For Your Business!
Sayani Deb

Ideally, your sales funnel would consist of a single step—from leads to clients! Your archetypical customer would approach you, already in love with your product and ready to hand out their cash. What a dream!However, in reality, you have to jump hoops between the lead and opportunity stage, and even then, those opportunities convert into paying customers only if properly managed.For many B2B companies, 73% of leads are not ready for sales—and the secret to undermining that statistic is known to only a few.Want to know how to nurture your leads to make them sales-ready? Then let me tell you—all you need to know is the differences between a lead and an opportunity and the right ways to head them both, all the way to the end stage i.e., trusting consumers.In this blog, I will discuss what leads and opportunities are, how they are different, the correct ways to manage them, and the different ways to convert leads into opportunities through your sales pipeline.

What is a lead?

A lead, is simply someone who has shown the first signs of interest in what your company is trying to sell. They have learnt about your products or services from a variety of sources viz. Socials, affiliates, referrals or maybe a Google search—and filled out a contact form on your website or subscribed to receive your push notifications.

What is Lead?
Image source

Let’s explain this with an example. Suppose you are a marketing agency for B2B SaaS brands. Now, a lead would be someone who books a discovery call from your website, to inquire about your LinkedIn organic growth services. It could also be someone who subscribes to your newsletter from your website.Two things that characterize a lead: first, they are interested in what you have to offer, but you don’t know whether they will buy, and second, you haven’t engaged them yet. Without your sales rep contacting them, you have no idea what it is your lead wants from you, whether you can fulfill their needs if their budget aligns with your quotations, and lastly, if they want to buy from you now or a little later in the future.

What are they worth?

A lead is someone who has already engaged with your brand and its marketing verticals (congratulations, your ads worked!).They know what you do and probably, want to buy from you (if not now, then in the future). However, since these people are already connected to the value you provide, they are primed to provide you with suggestions and feedback to improve both your product and customer experience. The leads you nurture well can eventually turn into brand loyalists and your revenue on the retainer.

What are the different types of leads?

Now, let’s see what different types of leads there are and what are the best ways to nurture them throughout your sales pipeline:Note: You should always qualify and categorize your sales leads in business, so that you know how to market your products/services best.

1. Cold Leads:

A cold lead is someone who exactly fits your ideal consumer profile but hasn't expressed any interest in your product yet. You can compile your list of cold leads using a lead generation software or even, thorough market research. One of the hardest type of leads to convert into prospects, you must learn the art of communicating with cold leads, since they are your potential target customers.How to communicate with them?

  • Set up emailing campaigns, generally with the first reach-out sequence, followed by two to three follow-ups; research and acquaint them with helpful information about how your company can help solve their pain points.
  • You can also direct outreach efforts through cold calls or social touches; be respectful of their time and concisely explain how you can help them when on call, and use social media to update them of latest offers and discounts on your products/services.
  • Nurture them over time since cold leads may not respond to your efforts right at the beginning; send them gentle reminders so that when they are ready to buy, you are the first option on their mind.

2. Warm Leads:

A warm lead is a potential customer who is already familiar with your company's operations or even simply your name. These are the leads that just so happen to read your blogs, view your videos, or maybe became familiar with you through a previous interaction.How to approach them?

  • Set up a meeting on call to personally explain them the features of your products/services that are suited best to their business.
  • If you had communicated sometime in the past (within the last six months) but weren’t a match because of budget constraints or any other issues, reach out to them again.
  • Circle back with an improved value proposition after you research their business and craft your offers, adjusted to the changes in their operations.

3. Hot Leads:

The type of lead has expressed interest in your business presently. They may have completed a demo offered by your business or even contacted you directly to request more information. These leads need to be addressed immediately since they can lose interest if you wait too long to answer. They may also contact your rivals immediately to see which strategy will work best for them.Hot leads are characterized by three features:

  • They need a solution right away and are looking for a problem-solver;
  • They usually hold purchasing or decision-making power for their company; and,
  • They come from a market that fits your ideal customer profile.

The way to convert hot leads to acting fast! You must still research their business to tailor your value proposition to their needs. Still, if your products/services serve their purpose, these leads can usually be closed after a couple of follow-ups and pushed into your sales pipeline towards being converted into paying customers.

1. Information Qualified Leads (IQLs):

These are the type of leads who found you via. Free gated content, such as an ebook or a case study. They may not have any specific interest in buying from you, but you have access to their contact details—which you can use to follow up with them to qualify their chances of purchasing your products/services.Here’s how you can reach out to your IQLs:

  • Find out more about their business and what they want with your products/services.
  • Nudge them with the latest updates on your products/services, offers or discounts through emails or newsletters.
  • Research their pain points and reach out to them with customized solutions that help them solve their problems fast and easily.
Types of Business Leads
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2. Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs):

These kinds of leads are qualified for fast sales—they are interested in what you’re providing and want solutions to their problems as soon as possible.Here’s how you can assess the quality of MQLs:

  • They download your case studies
  • They subscribe to your newsletter to receive the latest updates
  • They attend webinars that your company publishes

It shouldn't be too difficult to convert these leads into customers because they are interested in learning more about your products. You can easily complete the qualification procedure by email or voice chat. You can arrange a demonstration or presentation if you think they are prepared.The only thing to remember is they also might be interested in what your competitors might have to offer, so you need to be persistent and follow up with them regularly.

3. Sales Ready/Accepted Leads (SRLs):

A sales-ready lead can be qualified as someone who wishes to talk with a salesperson. They might still be debating whether to buy from you, but they are curious enough to bring it up.How you qualify sales-ready leads is up to you, though. A company may consider a lead sales-ready if they have attended a webinar, while others may only qualify them when they have expressed buying interest.Marketers effectively use the BANT strategy to qualify such leads:

  • Budget - Is the potential customer prepared to make a purchase?
  • Authority - Do they have the power to make decisions?
  • Need - Does the potential customer need to be met?
  • Timing - When do they need a solution—immediately or shortly?

Just because they are sales-ready doesn’t mean they want to buy from you currently—you need to nurture them with regular communication to convert them into paying customers.

4. Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs):

A sales-qualified lead (SQL) is prepared to meet with your sales team. They are prepared to buy because they have shown great interest in your offers. They might still be contrasting your offering with your rivals, though. You should treat these leads as really hot and get in touch with them immediately. All you need to do is get in touch with these fully qualified prospects, confirm their identification, and then start guiding them through the sales process.There are multiple ways to generate sales-qualified leads (SQLs):

  • Qualify your leads with lead-scoring
  • Promote your services by hosting an event targeted towards your niche product/service market
  • Automate responses for leads reaching out through social media (for example, Instagram stories, Twitter ads, LinkedIn ads etc.)
  • Enable a contact form for submitting queries, directly from your website
  • Build a lead magnet, that concisely shows how effective your product/service really is, and set up an opt-in option on your website
  • Use SEO tactics for more visibility, and once, your website traffic increases, construct a landing page that covers all the essential information about your product/service in one place
  • Bid on long-tail keywords associated with your product/service
  • Use promotional emails, but sparingly; also select the right promotional platforms where you know your niche market audience is present
  • Utilize a CRM to monitor every individual lead so that none fall through any cracks, and create a sales funnel to automate the lead flow

What is an opportunity?

An opportunity is typically an individual with a good probability of becoming a customer. In other words, they have a pain point that your offering can help them solve. They have the funds and are prepared to make the transaction. It is now up to the salesperson to close the deal.A sales opportunity is more formally known as a qualified prospect. A company must establish precise standards to determine if a person qualifies as a sales opportunity. The sales pipeline is created by the criteria or standards established by the companies.Most B2B businesses lose a majority percentage of sales because sales representatives do not qualify opportunities before putting them through the entire purchasing process—which is why it is important to look into each sales opportunity individually, and qualify them. You can do that according to the BANT framework i.e. verify whether the lead approaching you has (a.) the budget to buy from you, (b.) the authority to make the purchasing decision, (c.) an urgent need for your product/service and, (d.) if they want to invest now or later. You can also use technology such as a CRM tool to automate the lead qualification process.

What is an opportunity?
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What are they worth?

They are prepared to purchase, which is a clear win. They are significantly more likely to make a purchase than a lead or prospect—and you hardly have to work hard to close the deal.You already know there is a need at this point; all that is left is to guide them through the sales pipeline, into becoming loyal consumers.

Lead vs. opportunity: Major differences

Lead vs. opportunity: Major differences
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Let’s talk definitions.A typical top of the funnel inbound "marketing-generated lead" is a request for a white paper or eBook. A "sales-generated lead" is an outbound asset, such as a caller who expressed interest in speaking with an SDR or scheduling a call.A “sales opportunity” is the penultimate stage in a sales funnel, who is usually a qualified prospect already familiar with the free marketing and sales materials you have available to attract customers—and is interested in your offers, in an authoritative position to make the purchase decisions and on a time crunch to find solutions to their company’s pain points.The BIG difference between leads and opportunities is that a lead is not a sure thing, meaning they may not possess one (or more) of these following attributes, that can turn them into a sales opportunity:

  • Problem: Say a lead approaching you is interested in your offerings, but cannot identify (or are not aware of) the pain points they are trying to solve with your products/services. That’s where your sales rep comes in—to artfully ask the right questions, to generate awareness about the problems that are hindering their business growth. Once they realise where they stand, what you offer may or may not be the right choice for them.
  • Interest: Yes, your lead may be aware of the pain points in their business, and your company may be providing them with just what they need—but do they really need to solve them urgently (or at all)? Executives must prioritize, and you have no clue where you will land on their list of contingencies.
  • Fit: Now the lead has both pain points and the interest to sort them out, but suppose their budget doesn’t fit your base rate of services? Or maybe your product is suited to companies with 3-10 employees, but they have a workforce in the hundreds? The expectation of your client needs to align with what you can best offer. If both are not well-aligned, they won’t be satisfied with you in the long-term and everyone knows what that means—bad customer reviews, yelp!

An opportunity, however, is a potential source of revenue for your organization, if managed right. The challenge to converting a sales opportunity into a paying customer, is to simply show them why you are the best at you do.Now, how do you qualify the quality of a lead? You can do that using the BANT framework as discussed above. Qualifying lead quality helps you focus your attention where it is needed, and saves you hours of verifying whether every lead you receive through your various marketing channels is worth chasing or otherwise.

what is mean by BANT?
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How to manage your leads vs. your opportunities?

Let’s face it. Keeping track of your leads is hard. When you are going into marketing your products/services fully prepared, you should be prepared to manage the leads coming out of every marketing channel.Be it networking at events, running organic/paid social media campaigns, hosting webinars where you sign up prospects through an online lead gen form, or getting recommended by affiliates and referrals—you should have a system to log in every lead you get for qualification by your sales reps.That’s where a CRM comes in.

What is a CRM?

A CRM or a customer management tool is a schema of processes your company should implement to manage all communications with current, former, and potential clients.A CRM tool benefits your business and especially, your sales team, by storing all necessary contact details of both inbound and outbound leads in the same space and updating the status of each lead, being engaged in real-time. It basically:

  • simplifies the qualification and nurturing of your leads;
  • automates many laborious and manual sales workflows; and,
  • monitors the development of your leads and sales possibilities.

This all enables you to close more sales, improve lead connections, and accelerate your sales process.

What is a CRM?
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Now, there's a very elementary difference in the managment of leads vs. opportunities using a CRM tool.

  • For leads, the CRM qualifies them as cold, warm or hot using a universal framework, such as the BANT and filters out those that are not the right fit for your products/services. This helps you save time and resources.
  • For opportunities, the CRM tool assigns stages that clarify the high value deals at a glance. There is a likelihood associated with each stage, from prospecting to negotiation, that shows you the potential revenue in your pipeline and shows you how near you are to concluding the sale.

As for contact management, your CRM tool acts like a hard drive for storing information about your past, present and potential leads. It hosts all the information in one place—phone numbers, email addresses, past purchases, personal details, etc. It makes things fast and easy for you to locate and share that information with both your marketing as well as your sales teams.Lead and opportunity management is important for both your marketing and sales teams.Your marketing team needs to know about your leads and where they came from. It helps them create email campaigns that are successful and make marketing investments that have a high return on investment.Your sales team, meanwhile, needs to be aware of the opportunities to determine possible sales, cultivate connections and generate income. Opportunities in the pipeline are crucial to sales managers. They aid in potentially generating income and estimating your company’s future performance through the pipeline management data.

How can you convert your leads into opportunities?

Pushing your lead through the sales pipeline and converting it into a paying opportunity is what your marketers and sales reps aspire to do. For this, they try to tick off the following boxes:

  • Scouring the internet for your ideal leads and contacts who require your goods and services, can afford them, and have the power to order them;
  • Maintaining a mainline of communication with a lead or contact that is effective—by creating points of contact with potential clients to engage with them, demonstrating the value your product or service offers in solving their requirements and building a rapport with them through continuous nurturing, using emailers, social media and your website’s content; and,
  • Pursuing leads through timely scheduled follow-ups keepstheir interest and intent alive until they turn into opportunities. This will typically involve, regular direct communication between them and someone on your sales team or in your company who understands that there is a good chance of making a deal.

Besides these basic steps, here are some ways you can effectively convert qualified leads into paying opportunities:

1. Capture the Right Market:

To capture the right leads, understand the market that you’re operating in, and the behavior of your target audience. Use demographics (age, gender, education level, employment), geographic (location, address, region, country), and socio-economic (life-style, social class, personality, attitude) data of your target audience to show them relevant content and even incentivize them to convert into leads.

2. Segregate Your Leads and Score Them:

Select only those leads based on the business context that you believe would be actually beneficial to your company and are interested in purchasing your goods or services.Investigate these leads carefully, analyze their intentions and interactions with your platform, look into their most recent sales activity, and then get in touch with them. This is crucial, since if your sales team follows up on every lead for your company, they will not only waste a lot of time and effort.You can assess a lead's worth and significance using the lead scoring tool. Lead scoring is considered as a top revenue contributor by 68% of highly efficient marketers. The better it is, the bigger the lead score. Lead quality also entails selecting only those leads with the ideal profiles who can be converted into loyal customers over time.

3. Establish Communication with Your Leads Using Effective Channels:

Nurturing your leads is a regular exercise, lest they lose their iinterest and intent to buy from you.Be modest if you call them to get in touch with them. Make sure they are satisfied and address any of their questions and concerns. Inquire if they'd be interested in a demo call to better understand your product(s) or service(s), frequent updates on your brand's offers, or anything else related. Make it clear to them that you care about them and would stop at nothing to help them better their business and revenue.Delve deeply into the platforms that prospects utilise to interact with your brand. To reach out to them, try utilizing your complete gamut of marketing methods like emails, cold calling, social media, etc.

4. Regular Follow-up:

It is essential to follow-up with your targeted leads on a regular basis and in a timely manner. They must develop the impression that you are concerned about their wants and are ready to give them all the services they require.Don't give up after making that initial demo call or after sending your target audience one or two emails. Follow up with them frequently. Inform them about the services offered by your company and emphasise your unique selling propositions.

5. Employ a CRM to Speed Up Sales:

Having two divisions within your sales staff is always a good idea; one that handles all of your current customers, and the other to manage all of the new leads your company generates.Another way to help your sales team is by utilizing a decent CRM system to track your prospects' sales progress and other associated actions. Additionally, you can employ specialised personnel to keep an eye on and distribute leads to various sales managers. This will assist your sales staff in managing all incoming leads and managing their sales funnel throughout the whole purchase process.

6. Improve Credibility by Highlighting Reviews from Past Customers:

82% of customers responded that their purchasing decision was impacted by reading positive customer reviews and product testimonials. So, make the most of your customer reviews.Make prospective clients read the reviews of your satisfied existing customers to earn their trust. Add them on pages like the home page, pricing page, blog page, and others where people are most likely to read them.You must correctly feed and nurture leads throughout their sales journey to turn them into trusted customers. You should determine your lead conversion ratio and keep track of every individual lead’s journey to identify any opportunities your brand may be missing to convert leads into clients.

Leads Funnel
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Final Thoughts

Qualifying leads into sales opportunities and moving them through the sales pipeline to convert them into paying customers is the backbone of any business. As we discussed above, having an efficient system to verify the quality of leads, communicate with them and find the intent behind their buying decision—is a priority in today’s fast-paced digital selling setup.Consumers that approach you for your products/services are already well-informed, from studying your website content, following your brand on social media and reading your past customers’ reviews on Google. They have probably even evaluated you alongside your competitors and are primed to make a decision, even before they send you their first inquiry.What helps you with closing such deals then? First, directing these qualified leads through the fastest route to your sales reps, without wasting their time.Turn these leads into opportunities with RevenueHero.This sales acceleration platform handles lead qualification and routing, scheduling, and prioritizing leads based on high-value offers as well. Combined with a reliable lead scoring system and seamless integration into all the tools in your GTM stack, you can convert as many prospects leads into sales opportunities as you’d like, and never run out of a full sales pipeline.Wish to learn more? Check out the platform!

Related Resources

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

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 Process

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 be in touch with the prospects constantly. 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 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.

what is lead generation
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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.

Lead Nurturing Benefits
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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.

Challenges with lack of lead management process

Your sales process is far from efficient without a properly defined lead management process. Here are the possible challenges you may face without a lead management process.

Performing all activities manually.

Manual lead hunting, qualification, typing and sending emails, and follow-ups can get exhausting. In fact, your sales team may miss out on quality lead interactions with the administrative work overload.With a lead management process, your sales team can focus more on closing more sales. At the same time, the repetitive tasks can be performed automatically with an effective lead management process.

Lack of lead visibility and insights

An overview of the lead’s experience across different touchpoints can help you provide them with a better experience. That’s why a lead management process is essential. Moreover, a lead management process enables the tracking of a lead’s activities on your website. Therefore, you can score the leads based on their actions and prioritize the high potential ones.

Lack of lead nurturing

Without a lead management process, your sales team cannot understand the prospect’s requirements. Hence, they cannot personalize customer experience or send custom emails on time to build long-lasting relationships with prospects.

Low conversion rates

The ultimate impact of not having a lead management process is declining conversions. Without a proper process, your sales and marketing teams may miss out on follow-ups, fail to prioritize leads, and personalize experiences, resulting in leads falling through the cracks.

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 social media and emails links 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.Demographics and behavioral details are potential factors in determining a lead’s score. 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.

lead scoring

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.7 Tips for Improved Lead Management

7 Tips 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.

buyer Persona

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 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.

7. Create an ideal lead routing process

The process of passing qualified leads from marketing to sales is crucial. Here’s why-Website leads go cold within 90 minutes. Shocker!So, you must ensure that the lead routing process takes place faster than ever. Though a quick follow-up is fine, it isn’t enough. You must set up a detailed process for fast and efficient lead routing. There are two options here.

  • Either, establish a comprehensive service-level agreement (SLA) between marketing and sales outlining the procedure.
  • Or the best way is to implement lead management software like RevenueHero that guarantees instant real-time lead routing. The platform ensures routing the incoming leads instantly to the right sales rep based on predetermined criteria.

6 Benefits of using a lead management system

Here are six benefits you must know about if you’re still looking for reasons to implement a lead management system.

Efficient lead tracking

Keeping tabs on every lead is a daunting task. Also, it is hard to identify the leads that would convert. So, you need lead management software to make it easy for you to track leads.Lead management software ensures monitoring of every lead and their interactions with your website, thereby helping you optimize the experience for leads closer to converting.

Lead filtering

When you have hundreds or thousands of incoming leads, it is impossible to filter the high potential leads manually. Here comes the role of a lead management system.Lead management systems usually have a lead scoring feature that automatically assigns scores to leads based on their actions. Thus, you can identify the leads with high scores as the most potent ones. Further, you can also get insights into lead engagement from the scores. As a result, you can optimize your communication towards the highest score lead first.

Automate response

When your goal is to increase conversions, speed to lead is crucial. But responding to each lead manually may keep them waiting for long. So, automated responses to the lead’s queries work best here.One of the best advantages of implementing a lead management system is to respond to leads instantly with an automated email. Also, you can schedule lead nurturing emails and automate follow-ups.

Increased sales team’s efficiency

A lead management system can assist your sales team in the best way, resulting in the team’s increased efficiency.A lead management system keeps the flow of leads organized and helps optimize sale staff by instantly assigning the incoming leads to the right sales rep. Results? A highly efficient sales team.With the different features and capabilities of a lead management system, your sales reps can actually focus on converting more leads into customers. Also, they can customize their lead interactions based on lead insights and analytics.

Improved team coordination and collaboration

It is critical for your marketing and sales teams to be on the same page to create a smooth flow of the sales process.A lead management system ensures that the marketing and sales teams learn from the same datasets and work together harmoniously. Thus, both teams stay on the same page, and the risk of miscommunication reduces as well.

Improvise customer journey

A lead management system makes improving your buyer’s journey easier. With a lead management system's reporting and analytics capabilities, you can track your leads effortlessly and understand their interests better. Also, you can know your audience’s demographics in detail. Thus, you can improve and personalize your buyer’s journey based on these insights.

Lead Management Best Practices

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

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 Gartner, organizations 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?

Getting the best lead management software is essential to make your lead management process seamless and efficient.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.

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 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 many lead management tools will 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.

RevenueHero for lead management process

While several enterprises have leveraged the benefits of a lead management system, many small businesses are still unaware of the significance of a lead management process.Now that I have provided you with all possible details of a lead management process, you must consider planning and implementing one soon enough.To help you out, there are platforms like RevenueHero. RevenueHero is a lead conversion software that can make your lead management process a breeze. The platform has a few promising features, like instant scheduling of meetings and real-time lead routing, along with lead qualification and prioritization.So, once you start working with RevenueHero, nothing can stop you from creating a solid lead management process.Click to learn more.

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