No matter the niche or size of your company, every growing business relies heavily upon a common mission—acquiring leads and converting them into loyal, long-term customers for your particular products or services.
Leads are people or companies who may have interest in your company as a customer, client, or potential partner. Leads begin as names and contact information. However, if you cultivate these budding relationships well and manage them impeccably, leads possess the power to transform into key business growth drivers. If you don’t manage your leads efficiently and effectively, you may end up spending excess time and money with less than desirable conversion rates.
Here are ten of the best ways to manage your leads, and ensure the growth and success of your company as you work to transform each lead into a customer.
1. Understand the Voyage from Prospect to Lead to Customer
One of the easiest ways to mismanage your leads is to lack clarity around who your leads are, and how they progress through their voyage in discovering your company. To avoid this confusion and waste of resources, it is important that you spend time outlining exactly what defines the transitions from prospect to lead to customer within your organization.
Once you have determined how people typically move through your lead cycle with the highest rate of retention, you can use this process as a baseline for all your leads. You should also train your sales teams and relationship managers on this cycle as well so that everyone in your company is on the same page on how to define and manage leads.
2. Equip Your Team with Customized Communication Approaches
Once you have a strong sense of how your prospects transition into leads, and know what works to move leads into customers, you need to equip your sales team with this vital inside intel.
Train your sales teams on your best practices for lead conversion, and also encourage them to share any new tactics they’ve been using to successfully manage or convert the leads they are responsible for in your system.
3. Research Your Lead Sources
An important part of successful lead management, that often goes ignored or neglected in many companies, is researching and understanding your lead sources. If you know where you are obtaining your best qualified leads, your efforts and your budget will stretch much further with much more impact on your business.
4. Don’t Allow Your Leads to Go Cold
Gathering interested qualified leads in large quantities is extremely exciting, and can signal a wave of growth for your company. However, just having a list of names will not further your business goals. Make sure you develop a lead nurturing sequence that keeps your leads engaged and interested without being bothersome or invasive.
As a general rule, leads tend to start cooling within 48 hours of contact, so it’s best to build in communication processes that require all leads to receive communication within 2 days of every action of interest they take. When you move to the individual communication phase, you should ideally try to tighten response times to 24 hours or less.
5. Invest in a CRM Solution Tailored to Your Business Needs
When you first start gathering, tracking, and endeavoring to convert your leads, it may seem feasible to manage these processes manually. However, as you gain more leads and grow quickly, you’ll inevitably find that investing in an effective Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution for your business will make sense and help you scale more quickly through better lead management.
These systems are typically cost effective for businesses of every size, and will help streamline your contacts and organize your communications and follow-ups much more efficiently.
6. Spend Time Planning Lead Nurturing Sequences
Once you’ve spent some time analyzing what works the best to convert your leads to customers, it’s important to apply that knowledge and insight into nurturing sequences. These sequences can include emails, personal calls, direct mail pieces, or any combination of marketing and communication that you find works best to turn an interested lead into a loyal customer.
Test and tweak your sequences often, according to results and any feedback you receive, to best reach future sales leads as well.
7. Automate Your Manual Processes
Among the most underutilized business software tools is certainly the Marketing Automation system. You can successfully leverage the powerful and convenient features of this type of system to automate the manual, time-consuming portions of your lead conversion process.
Marketing Automation systems can easily help you automate email sequences for lead nurturing, and most will also connect with social media channels. This system integrates seamlessly with CRM solutions and is an affordable feature for most businesses.
8. Know Your Metrics Intimately
As with any other integral part of your business, you need to know your numbers in order to grow and scale successfully. Lead management is no exception to this rule, and it is important that you measure and track all the phases of your lead cultivation, from prospect to customer.
9. Treat Your Leads Just as You’d Treat Customers
Many companies lose leads in the beginning of the process due to hasty, delayed, or dropped communications with those who’ve expressed some type of interest in your company. You should treat your leads with the same attention and respect as you would any customer.
If leads feed into your growth plans, it is important to designate time and resources to managing leads and cultivating relationships. Make sure your teams understand the importance and know how to best handle their leads.
10. Integrate a Lead Management Software to Support Your Success
As you continue to grow your business and cultivate lead relationships, you can improve your lead management skills even further by investing in a Lead Management Software (LMS). LMS systems are packed with powerful tools designed specifically for lead-related growth methods involving:
- Lead Acquisition
- Lead Generation
- Lead Tracking
- Lead Scoring
- Lead Nurturing
Your leads are only as valuable as the time, effort, and resources you invest in cultivating them into loyal customers of your business and brand. Using these ten tips for excellent lead management can help you get the most from your leads through effective and efficient communication methods.