A business person shakes hands with a client

For more than 60 percent of business-to-business (B2B) marketers, generating high-quality leads is one of the biggest challenges. That’s why, when your team does receive a valuable lead, you want to use the best practices for lead management to secure that lead and make them a part of your clientele.

Some of the most effective lead management best practices include these top seven techniques:

1.     Review your lead management strategy regularly

Before your sales and marketing teams start looking at how to nurture and convert your leads, you need to evaluate your lead management strategy. This strategy serves as the foundation for all your tactics when it comes to leads.

For example, your lead management strategy should cover the following points:

  • How to qualify leads
  • How to coordinate marketing and sales teams
  • Where (and how) to route leads
  • How to manage lead data
  • When (and how) to archive leads

If your lead management plan doesn’t address these topics, make time for them. You want to determine how your team should qualify and manage leads before a lead arrives. Otherwise, you may make mistakes when it comes to nurturing those leads.

Even after your business assesses your lead management strategy, you should make it a core part of your company. On a routine basis, for instance, your sales team should look for areas of improvement, based on their firsthand experience.

This proactive approach helps your company stay committed to the best practices for lead management.

2.     Get your marketing and sales team aligned

The lack of coordination between sales and marketing teams is an all-too-common challenge for organizations. Whether you’re a small-to-midsized business (SMB), franchise, or corporation, you need to align these two critical departments. If not, you can tank your lead generation and nurturing efforts.

A checklist for how to align sales and marketing

A few helpful ways to keep your marketing and sales staff on the same team include:

  • Using a customer relationship management (CRM) software that both teams can access
  • Establishing a lead response time that both teams support
  • Creating an email alias for critical information that includes both teams
  • Having marketing staff sit-in on client and lead calls

While this process takes time, it can help your business. The alignment of your marketing and sales team allows your company to launch a lead generation and management process that results in higher-quality leads and closing rates because each department understands the other’s goals.

3.     Outline your company’s perfect lead

A lot of companies, especially SMBs, hesitate to define their ideal lead. While you may know who your dream client is, you’re hesitant to limit yourself to that segment of consumers or businesses.

Choosing to focus on the leads that matter, however, can have far-reaching and positive effects on your business. It can increase your revenue, as well as improve the quality of your customer base, which can have a direct impact on your churn rates.

This approach also stops your business from investing the time, resources, and energy of your team into leads that aren’t that valuable in the short- or long-term. Instead, you’re working on securing the most valuable clients in your industry.

That’s why your business wants to outline its perfect lead. Your outline should highlight the following:

  • Your lead’s motivations for researching products or services like yours
  • Your lead’s expectations from a seller or business
  • Your lead’s preferences for communications
  • Your lead’s expected budget for a product or service like yours
  • Your lead’s questions and concerns relating to your products and services

As a part of your move to align your sales and marketing teams, you should ensure each department understands and recognizes the company’s ideal lead. That way, each team can develop a tailored approach to generating and nurturing these kinds of leads.

4.     Implement a lead scoring process

In addition to developing your ideal lead, your business should also score leads. When you use lead scoring, your team can monitor the behavior of both prospects and leads. You can also gauge their interest in your product or service, which can help you refine your requirements for a perfect lead.

As you incorporate your lead scoring process into your marketing and sales strategy, you can start to refine the marketing strategy of your team. You can also determine the maximum amount of time and resources the sales team should invest in a lead.

While many lead management best practices, like lead scoring, require an initial investment of your time, they can provide a tremendous pay-off

For example, if your company sells a software solution, you may allot funds for your sales team to travel and present your product in-person. Depending on the quality of a lead, however, your sales team may only travel for top-quality, perfect-grade leads.

While many lead management best practices, like lead scoring, require an initial investment of your time, they can provide a tremendous pay-off in the long-term. You can revise your entire lead management process to maximize your sales and client quality.

5.     Establish a lead nurturing strategy

Once you have your lead qualification processes outlined, your team can start looking towards the next step: lead nurturing. Again, you want to re-evaluate your current strategy. In most cases, a re-evaluation is essential, especially after redefining your ideal lead.

Since your sales and marketing teams can both apply lead nurturing strategies, it’s essential for the two departments to coordinate with one another. Even though each approach is separate, you want them to work together and support one another.

For the best results, think about categorizing leads into three groups:

  • New leads
  • Warm leads
  • Opportunities

Segmenting your leads allows your sales and marketing teams to create personalized experiences for each. A new lead, for example, may receive an invite to an introductory webinar about your product while an opportunity may get a buying guide and exclusive offering for signing on as a client.

No matter your business, you can develop customized content for each lead group.

6.     Develop a feedback loop system

A lot of businesses can revise their lead management strategies. Only a few, however, will continue to improve their approach to generating and nurturing leads. If you want to be one of the few, your company needs to establish a feedback loop system.

With a feedback loop system, your teams can receive input from everyone in your company, as well as clients. You can learn what motivated a new client to sign with your business, for instance, and what created issues for sales team members.

Develop a system for submitting, reviewing, and incorporating feedback to use feedback loops

All this feedback can help your business improve your lead management process.

If you want to use a feedback loop in your company, you will have to develop a system for submitting, reviewing, and incorporating that input into your lead management strategy. You may, for example, use a tool as simple as Google Forms to compile feedback.

Like your lead management process, your feedback loop system will also undergo multiple iterations.

7.     Leverage marketing automation software

As marketing automation software becomes more accessible for SMBs, it’s becoming a best practice for lead management to invest in marketing automation software. With a marketing automation platform, your business can streamline multiple processes related to lead generation and nurturing.

For example, if your company uses email marketing to nurture leads, you can automate the process of personalizing and sending emails to subscribers or leads. You can also use marketing automation to assess campaign data and discover trends.

Teams can also leverage marketing automation software for assessing the performance of other marketing efforts, like your site’s content and its ability to generate leads. Your sales team can even use this technology to grade the quality and value of leads.

Even though marketing automation software requires a monthly subscription (unless developed in-house), it’s a smart investment for businesses today. It can help you streamline in-house processes, plus get the most from your marketing and sales efforts.

Get your lead management best practices on-track with MarketingCloudFX

If you’re ready to adopt some of the above best practices for lead management, get started with marketing automation software. With MarketingCloudFX, your business can access tools for managing, tracking, and grading leads — plus more!

Ask for a free demo today to see what MarketingCloudFX can do for your lead management strategy!

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