Lead Management Process Design - Defining The Funnel Stages Removes Ambiguity
One of the major goals every business shares for their marketing efforts is increasing the number of leads that they generate. The number of leads being generated, however, isn’t necessarily a measure of success. The ultimate goal is to convert those leads to sales qualified opportunities and to nurture them through the sales funnel to generate new business. If you’re attracting a significant number of leads but your conversions remain low or you’re unable to close an adequate percentage of sales qualified opportunities, then it likely means that you’re having trouble with your lead management process.
Defining your lead management process will help to ensure that time is not wasted on unqualified leads and also that your sales team is able to close new business at a good ratio. Here at Paradox Marketing, we provide professional lead management consulting services to businesses of all sizes.
What Is Lead Management?
Lead management is the process of managing the flow of leads between sales and marketing, through the funnel, adhering to an agreed-upon lead qualification and funnel stage framework. Managing your leads requires that you define your funnel stages and qualifications, track the actions and qualifying information of the leads, and determine when and how they should be engaged with. Having a lead management process in place will help you with the following:
One of the biggest issues that businesses have is ensuring that their marketing and sales teams are communicating with one another. Because they are separate entities, there’s often a disconnect between the two. The marketing team focuses on identifying and attracting leads. The sales team focuses on nurturing and closing those leads. If there’s no lead management process in place, then getting your leads from the marketing process to the sales process can be a challenge.
One of the main challenges that arise out of the disconnect between marketing and sales teams is the inability of the sales team to identify high-quality leads. Many of the leads you attract may only have a passing interest in your business. The last thing you want is for your sales team to waste their time attempting to nurture such leads, and potentially missing out on leads that are ready to buy. With a proper lead management process in place, the guesswork will be removed and sales and marketing will know exactly how each lead will be qualified.
If you’re not tracking the leads that you generate, then you won’t know whether they’re ready to close. If you have a lot of leads coming in from different sources, there’s a good chance that many of these leads will be lost simply because you don’t have a lead management process in place. For example, if a lead has spent a significant amount of time exploring your website and engaging with your content on multiple, separate visits, then they need to be engaged. If they aren’t, there’s a chance that they will lose interest and will move on to another website. Not only do you lose out on a possible sale, but all of the resources you put into generating those leads that you’ve lost were wasted.
An effective lead management process requires that you optimize your processes and implement various tactics and technology to help track the leads you’ve generated and to properly nurture them throughout the buyer’s journey. Make sure that your marketing and sales personnel are using the same systems and have access to the same data. This will prevent a disconnect between the two teams, improve communication, and improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of your lead management process.
Without a defined lead management process accompanied by lead qualification and funnel stage criteria, there is no way to report on the number of leads at each stage of your sales and marketing funnel. By defining the stages and qualification criteria, the sales and marketing departments can be joined through collective reporting identifying areas where the funnel is getting too fat.
Leveraging Reporting To Make Improvements
If after defining your funnel stages and qualification criteria, you see that there is an excessive amount of leads in a specific stage, you can use that information to focus efforts to resolve and correct the funnel.
For example if you see that many leads that are determined to be SQLs (sales qualified leads) but are not moving to Sales Opportunities, then you can work with your sales team to uncover what their approach is to these SQLs and why they aren’t converting them to Sales Opportunities. Maybe they need more training in objection handling or maybe they need more information to recommend the correct solution.
Conversely, there may be an issue with the qualification criteria that has been put in place and leads that are not really qualified to go to sales are making their way to the SQL stage. Thus the qualification should be reexamined and the thresholds that determine quality should be reevaluated.
Without defining qualification criteria and funnel stages, there is no way to pinpoint where exactly the challenges lie between sales and marketing to move these leads from lead to customer.
How Our Consultants Will Help
We will evaluate your current lead management process to determine where your inefficiencies or problem areas lie. We will then help implement the tools and processes needed to solidify your lead management process, bridging the divide between your marketing and sales teams.
We can help you build an internal lead management process that both your marketers and sales personnel can easily follow. We’ll implement a process that will prevent leads from falling through the gaps and that will allow your marketers to identify what leads are ready to be engaged by your sales team. Our team will create a playbook that your organization will retain and be able to refer to and maintain as your lead management process matures.
You’d be surprised at how many businesses have the software in place and the tools at their disposal to implement an effective lead management process but simply haven’t done so. We can evaluate your existing software and tools and use them to build your lead management process.
There are a lot of different software applications and tools available that can help improve your lead management process. For example, automation tools can allow your leads to be scored based on the actions that they take, making it easy for your sales team to differentiate high quality leads from low-quality leads. There are also automation tools available that make it easy to assign leads to your sales personnel based on parameters that you can customize.
Here at Paradox Marketing, we are familiar with an extensive variety of inbound marketing and sales software solutions and can recommend the best tools for your lead management process based on your company’s unique needs.