Attracting qualified leads to your business is an essential part of your marketing. Yet, that’s only half the battle. Once you’ve attracted the lead you’re tasked with managing their experience with your company.
Modern customers often feel they are spoilt for choice. This means that even the best leads can slip through your fingers if you don’t have the right process in place. You cannot expect to simply acquire a lead, make a pitch, and then complete a sale. If you want to succeed, you must first understand the importance of having an effective lead management system.
Why is lead management important?
An effective lead management system sits at the core of profitable marketing campaigns. If you don’t manage your leads properly, you might lose the money you spent to acquire them in the first place. Your competition may snatch them from you before you get them to buy your products or services.
Your reputation may be at stake as well. Your leads have expectations, even before they become paying customers. If you don’t pay attention to their needs, you will lose the chance for any potential sales in the future. They may also say negative things about you on customer discussion boards.
On the other hand, the right lead management system can help recover a failing business. For a thriving business, such a system could multiply profits. That’s because you’ll be able to provide the right communication at the right time. Your leads will become increasingly open to buying from you.
Your system may also open your eyes to the most profitable lead sources. With time, you’ll be able to see what’s working and what’s not. You may also discover new gaps and niches within your target market. Your marketing will thus become more impactful. Most importantly, you’ll become better at converting your leads into loyal customers.
What is a lead?
A lead is someone who has expressed interest in your products or services. You would normally have some kind of contact information for this person. The lead might have been attracted to your business as a result of a lead generation campaign such a series of newspaper ads. You might have also acquired the lead after they’ve made an inquiry about one of your products.
In essence, a lead has given you permission to send them more marketing. They may not yet be ready to buy but they’re open to what you’ve got to say. Thus, a lead management system has to accomplish two things: manage the lead’s data as well as the marketing you send out.
Keep in mind that your leads are not yet customers. Since they haven’t yet purchased from you, their level of trust is low. Your system must be built to build a connection while gathering feedback. The easiest way to manage all the processes involved is by using a computer-based system.
Computer-based systems and lead management
For your business to compete, you’ll need a computer-based system to manage your leads. Depending on the size of your company, this may be a simple database or an elaborate piece of software. This system will be the lifeblood of all your sales and marketing operations.
A computer-based system gives you quick access to any piece of information you need. For example, a salesperson can pull up a record of past conversations with a potential customer. In a similar way, you can instantly print out letters to a specific group of leads for a direct marketing campaign.
There are many options available to you. These days, you can purchase a system that stores your data in the cloud. This will allow you to work with your information from any location – as long as you have an internet connection. You will also have a backup in case something goes wrong. However, access to your database is not the most important benefit of managing your leads using the software.
Automation is the biggest gain you get from a computer-based system. You can program it to send out campaigns based on your lead’s actions. This allows you to focus your attention on attracting new leads. Many systems can handle the whole process: from capturing lead information to processing a purchase. Many businesses thrive because technology takes care of much of the hard labor.
Yet, the computer cannot design the process for you. In the beginning, you will find yourself building and optimizing your lead management process. As time goes on, automation can take over the parts that have been proven to work consistently. Of course, you will always keep making adjustments so you can stay ahead of your competition.
Consider your sales cycle
The sales cycle is often overlooked when it comes to lead management. Yet, your sales cycle should be used as a guide. The reasoning here is simple: when you understand the path a lead takes to buy, you will know what you need to manage this process.
In a way, you can view the sales cycle as building a relationship with your lead. They need time to get to know you. As they understand you and your offer, you will gain their trust. At the same time, you must provide sufficient information to help them make the buying decision.
You should also keep tabs on how responsive your lead is to your communication. This will allow you to measure interest. That’s what lead scoring is all about – providing a tangible way to see how ready a lead is to buy from you. You can then optimize your sales process to suit your lead’s readiness. For example, you may choose to phone up leads with high scores. During the call, you may deal with any objections or friction that is stopping them from buying.
Ultimately, the sales cycle can be refined as your understand your leads better. It is an organic process that will help your business evolve. The secret here lies in making an effort to adjust your system to fit the needs of your customers.
Tagging and tracking
Each lead will enter your system at a different stage. Some may be more ready to buy than others. If you have a sizeable product catalog, your leads will not have the same interests at any given time. Your lead management system can keep tabs on what each lead wants.
You can also track your leads actions. For example, your system can observe which pages your lead visits on your website. This could indicate what products they’re interested in. Then, you can send out the right marketing campaign to further educate them about these products. As mentioned earlier, this step could be automated, from start to finish.
You need to decide what happens to leads after they make a purchase. In an ideal scenario, you should have additional products they could buy. This is also known as upselling. Upsells allow you to present products that would further enhance your lead’s experience with you. You can also use upsells to rapidly boost your profits. Remember, it’s much easier to sell to an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one.
Make sure that you comply with your local laws when it comes dealing with your leads’ data. You need to respect the privacy and safety of your leads. Find what the requirements are when it comes to tracking and storing of your leads’ activities.
Essential metrics in lead management
There are some key metrics you need to pay attention to. The most important one is the cost of acquiring a lead. Each lead source will vary in how much you spend to attract a new lead. Knowing this cost will help you decide on your marketing budget.
Another metric is your customer lifetime value. This refers to how much your customers spend with you over time. Having this numbers will be helpful when deciding how much you’re willing to pay per lead. You can use this information to choose the right advertising channels. If you use pay-per-click advertising, this will indicate the amount you can safely bid.
Without good leads, no business can survive for long. Keep improving your processes so that both your business and your leads get the desired results. Ensure that you keep finding new sources of leads. At the same time, nurture your existing leads to the best of your ability. Treat each lead with utmost care. Respond to all questions as quickly as you can. Make sure you always put the most relevant offers in front of your leads as well.
Your lead management system affects your entire business. Doing it wrong can cause you to lose potential sales. Regardless of how the leads come to you, it costs money to attract them. It’s crucial that you build a system that maximizes your profits. But, don’t let the quest for profit damage our relationship with your leads.
Although managing your leads may seem complex, it’s worth it in the long term. You may find yourself enjoying the process as you start seeing tangible results. When in doubt, remind yourself that these people are interested in what you have to offer. Then, simply do what’s best to help them see that your products are the best option for them.