Poor sales lead management is much like spending hundreds of dollars of groceries to cook a gourmet meal and then letting the food spoil in your refrigerator. You “shop” for leads online through your website or social media, webinars, ebooks, or free reports. Offline, you attend trade shows and network. The problem: you don’t follow up or you focus on the wrong potential customers.
Before you can establish a process for sales lead management, you need to understand the two different types of leads and how to organize them.
- Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL): These leads have responded to your company but have not been vetted. Their demographics, actions, and firmographics mirror those of your clients.
- Sales Qualified Lead (SQL): Once an MQL is vetted, they become SQLs. These leads have shown an interest in purchasing, possibly after an appointment or other types of sales calls.
How do you determine how to prioritize your leads? Here are a few factors to consider:
- Lead-to-Opportunity Conversion by Source – Review which sources of leads have the highest conversion rate. For example, leads from hosting a webinar or other inbound leads tend to be higher quality than those collected from trade shows. Another consideration when looking at conversion by the source is the average size of the deal. Look at your data and invest more in your higher performing outlets.
- Time Since Last Interaction – The time contacts spend in lead status has an impact on closing rates. It’s important to respond to inquiries efficiently. Start engaging with prospects while they’re on your website.
- Use chatbots to assist in making initial contact with visitors on the web. For example, have a messaging box appear on your website when someone visits. The message can simply ask the visitor if they need help. To further qualify a lead, you can program the message box to pop up only after a visitor has been on your site for a certain amount of time. A person who stays on your site for a few minutes and not just a few seconds is likely to be interested.
- Respond to inquiries quickly. One in two buyers goes with the vendor who responds first. Prioritize follow-up around the time elapsed since the last action the lead took (opened an email, read a blog post, etc.), according to HubSpot.
- Schedule Follow-Ups – Future appointments and scheduled actions, like email drips or phone calls, affect a lead’s priority level too. A prospect with a planned follow-up will rank lower on your priority list. It is not pressing and doesn’t require immediate action unless circumstances change.
Automating sales lead management
Sales is no longer going door to door or making phone calls and writing the information down in a spread sheet. Several tasks can be automated allowing your sales team to respond to priority leads faster.
- Reporting – Eliminate the time spent creating reports by automating them. Salespeople can even schedule when these reports will run.
- Interactions – Emails and calls are just a couple of the many interactions that can be automated. A powerful CRM will be able to initiate these actions and keep track of them without any extra steps.
- Paperwork – Simplify contracts and invoices with templates and fillable forms.
- Scripting – Provide your sales team with a script to follow when speaking with prospects. A script will keep them in line with the brand’s message and help to guide the conversation.
- Dialing leads – Instead of manually dialing numbers, look for a CRM that offers one click dialing.
- Voicemails – Salespeople with the ability to drop a pre-recorded voicemail in a mailbox and move on to the next call are more productive than those who have to stop, wait for the beep, and then take 30 seconds or so to leave a message.
- Notes and logs – Invest in software that allows the caller to record data as they go and automatically logs the call information.
- Appointment setting – Simplify scheduling with appointment setting software. Scheduling software makes the process more efficient, eliminates time zone errors, combines multiple calendars, and more.
- Selecting content – Software powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence can help in the selection of content. Recommendations are provided to help guide the prospect towards the sale.
Don’t get overwhelmed while prioritizing your sales leads. Invest in a sales lead management solution. The investment in your business will pay off when you close more sales and increase your profits.