Even the highest quality leads will not yield the best results if they are not properly managed, nurtured,and tracked.
According to lead management experts at Marketo, only 25 percent of new leads are sales-ready, and another 25 percent are disqualified, leaving you with 50 percent of your new leads that are potential customers. Implementing a strategy that includes known lead management best practices will help you draw the maximum potential from those leads.
Successful lead management includes capturing leads at the moment they are seeking your services, continuing to nurture the ones that are not ready to buy, scoring leads to determine readiness, and turning them over to sales at the right moment-when they are ready to purchase.
Using effective lead management, you can educate your buyers while gaining essential insights into their needs, and ultimately create more revenue for your company.
A survey of top lead management companies resulted in the following best practices for successful lead management:
1. Nurture leads before sending them to sales. (An exception to this would be if you have purchased ready-to-buy leads from a lead supplier. These leads should be contacted immediately, and the ones that do not close on the initial contact can then be sent to marketing for further nurturing.)
2. Become a thought leader in your industry. Assist your prospects in making informed purchasing decisions. Offer your expertise to help them weigh possibilities and issues they may not have considered on their own. If you provide guidance without pressure, buyers will begin to view you as a trusted adviser.
3. Work with sales to determine what constitutes a sales-ready lead. Take into account scoring demographics such as company size, yearly revenue, position within the company, and time frame for purchasing. If you have purchased leads from a lead generation company, that work has already been done, and you can pass these pre-qualified leads directly to your sales team.
4. Maintain good communication between sales and marketing. Let sales know what marketing activities each prospect has responded to so that, in turn, sales can tell you which of those activities
are producing the highest quality leads. Also, inform your sales team which services each lead is most likely to purchase, based upon the prospect’s inquiries.
5. Create qualifying questions, email templates and call scripts to help make your sales reps’ initial contact with each lead more effective. Using these tools when talking to prospects, your sales team can refer to specific interests the prospect has demonstrated by their activities, such as downloading a white paper on a particular topic. Continue to build on your understanding of each prospect’s needs.
In your surveys and questionnaires, be sure to ask questions that will help you gain new information, rather than what you already know about your prospect.
6. Don’t waste leads. Make sure sales follows up on each one. Reassign leads that aren’t contacted the first time around. Any lead that does not close as expected should be sent back to marketing for further nurturing. Every lead should be valued and cultivated through the often very long B2B sales cycle.
7. Track the results of individual marketing activities to gain a deeper insight than you would by simply tracking the lead source. If you are working with a lead generation company to supplement your in-house marketing strategies, many of the best practices listed above, such as lead scoring and qualifying to determine which leads are sales-ready, will have already been done by the lead supplier. These leads can be presented to sales for immediate contact. Using pre-qualified leads can take some of the pressure off your marketing team while keeping the pipeline filled. The same nurturing and results-tracking practices should be applied to any purchased leads that do not close on the initial call.