For 61% of marketers, lead generation is the toughest task and top priority. Of course, without a steady influx of leads, your business is doomed to failure.
Even a well-designed lead generation strategy doesn’t guarantee success, suggested by 88% of marketing professionals who are dissatisfied with their lead conversion ability.
A lost sales opportunity isn’t going to bring you money.
You need to approach the process holistically, managing leads correctly from capture to conversion.
In this article, we talk about lead management, its role in enabling business growth, and how to manage leads more effectively with a lead management CRM solution.
What is lead management?
By definition, lead management is the acquisition of potential customers before guiding them from the top of the sales funnel towards a purchasing decision. Lead management can be broken down into six key steps...
- Lead capture
- Lead enrichment
- Lead qualification and lead prioritisation
- Lead distribution
- Lead nurturing
- Lead conversion
Lead management can be considered successful after two things have occured. That is, when you establish a robust connection with potential customers that entered your sales pipeline and when they make a purchase from you, choosing your solution over a competitor.
Why is lead management important?
Lead management has a number of benefits for any business, large or small. Here are some of the most prominent ones…
- Helps to establish an immediate relationship with leads. Get in touch with leads entering the sales pipeline as quickly as possible before moving them down the funnel.
- Helps stay in touch with leads all the time. Effective lead management ensures constant, relevant communication; a key influence for clients choosing a service.
- Aids efficient lead tracking. Know exactly who your leads are, where they come from, what they respond best to, and how well they convert.
- Saves your business time and money. Good lead management spares sales reps time and effort on unqualified leads that don’t convert. Focus on the hot leads.
How does CRM help manage leads effectively?
Effective lead management can set you apart from competition and boost sales.
Still, in an era of rapid technological advancement, manual lead management no longer suffices. To really grow your business in a modern, organic way, you should arm yourself with reliable software to take care of the lead management process. It’s easier than you think.
CRM is the perfect solution for lead management, enabling you to capture leads, enrich them, qualify them, distribute them among sales managers, and nurture them more effectively. As a result, this lead management tool means your business enjoys a higher conversion rate.
Let’s look at how CRM can help with all of these lead management processes.
CRM and lead capture
Having a lead management CRM system can improve your lead capture processes in a number of ways.
Firstly, it makes prospecting significantly more effective and successful. With a CRM system, it becomes easier to identify your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and use it to look for new leads to fill your sales pipeline.
With all your customer data in one place, structured and ready to use, you can analyse it to identify similarities among existing customers. Use CRM data to…
- Spot patterns and commonalities shared by your best customers
- See who you successfully upsold to
- Find why deals were lost and for what reason
This information helps identify leads with the highest chance of conversion, instead of mindlessly filling the sales pipeline with leads that won't move down the funnel.
Check out our article on how to use LinkedIn for prospecting!
Without CRM software pulling the strings of these integrated sources, the lead data you receive might sit in some faraway digital location awaiting manual addition to sales records. Given the application of an omnichannel approach to lead generation and a steadily rising inflow of leads, chances are some leads will fall through the cracks when handled manually.
Yep, CRM can help with lead capture itself.
It keeps track of incoming leads from different sources like web forms, email, and chat apps. It can even automate the process of lead capture. Every bit of lead data goes directly into your CRM database as a newly created record.
NetHunt CRM can auto-create new CRM records from incoming and outgoing emails, LinkedIn profiles, Intercom chats, and Facebook messages. Moreover, you can also set up a workflow that automatically turns web form submissions into a new customer record in the CRM database. No coding required and no steep learning curve.
Learn everything you need to know about web form lead generation in our article!
CRM and lead enrichment
Data is the new oil.
Customer data is your business’s most valuable asset; the quality of your data directly affects the quality of your business offering. It’s essential to make sure that the data you collect around leads is complete, reliable, relevant, and accurate. CRM does a good job of ensuring that.
CRM improves lead data quality by automating the lead enrichment process. Modern CRMs offer numerous integrations with LinkedIn, Facebook, and email service providers to automatically extract publicly-available data from those sources and then enrich lead profiles with it.
NetHunt CRM offers native integration with Google Workspace and LinkedIn. These integrations allow you to scrape publicly available data from your lead’s Google account or LinkedIn profile and enrich their profiles in the CRM with heaps of data such as company, job title, first and last name, birthday, associated social media accounts, and more in just a couple of clicks.
Another CRM function that helps to maintain your data clean is Duplicate Prevention. It’s another feature that NetHunt CRM offers, helping spot any duplicate data entering the system before warning users and giving them a chance to merge or remove that data.
Finally, CRM allows you to structure your customer database. You can add and remove fields to collect only the necessary data, mark them as required to ensure customer profiles are always complete, create folders, link customer profiles to company profiles, and more.
CRM and lead qualification, scoring, and prioritisation
Not all leads are equal.
Even with the best application of your ICP during the prospecting process, some leads entering your sales pipeline will have lesser purchasing power and purchasing intent than others.
Lead prioritisation is an important part of lead management for driving sales. In fact, the process of identifying the most important potential customers is impossible without lead qualification and scoring acting as a basis for lead prioritisation. Your job is to spot the most valuable leads and focus on nurturing them, sometimes at the expense of less valuable ones.
Without lead prioritisation, you might lose bigger deals and decrease the volume of sales.
Manual lead qualification sucks, quite frankly. CRM does it automatically, based on a set of specific qualification rules for your particular business. All you need to do is outline these rules and customise your system to assign numerical values to all incoming leads based on your criteria.
Alternatively, if your CRM provider doesn’t offer automated lead scoring functionality, you can still use it to qualify incoming leads by adding lead scoring fields to customer records. Make sure to add a formula field for calculating the lead’s score to the contact record in the CRM.
Then, sales reps give ratings manually based on their intuition. The system will automatically put leads in one of the categories based on those ratings.
Find out more about lead scoring in our article.
CRM and lead distribution
If you want a competitive advantage over other businesses in your market, make sure lead nurturing starts the second a lead enters the sales pipeline. Any stalling reduces your chances of winning the deal to rubble.
The best way to react to leads entering the pipeline quicker is to automatically assign them to a rep.
A CRM system, like NetHunt CRM, distributes incoming leads among sales reps automatically. It can execute this delegation randomly, based on a set of predetermined criteria, or on a round-robin basis. Afterwards the system notifies the relevant sales rep about a new lead in the pipeline and assigned to them, signalling that they should act.
Here’s how you’d set up automated lead distribution on a round-robin basis in NetHunt CRM…
1️⃣ Head to the Workflows tab on the left sidebar of your NetHunt dashboard.
2️⃣ Edit or start a new Workflow for when a new lead enters the system.
3️⃣ We can set Workflows to create a new task for any member of our sales team.
For example, we can ask them to call the new lead. To make sure the workload is even, we can set the Edit type to Distribute among our chosen values - or, our sales team.
4️⃣ Set a due date and priority label for the task.
5️⃣ There you go: A new form submission creates a new record, assigned to Monica, and automatically creates a task for the same manager…
CRM and lead nurturing
The next step on the way to successful lead management is lead nurturing.
It’s not enough to simply assign a lead to a sales rep. The sales rep in question must immediately deliver action aimed at nudging the lead towards a purchasing decision.
As we’ve already established, not all leads are equally valuable to your business. While you shouldn’t cherry-pick the hottest leads and ignore the rest, focus on the most important leads first and get back to colder leads once they warm up just a little.
Until then, you can automate lead nurturing with the help of a CRM system.
NetHunt CRM allows you to set up automated email sequences for lead nurturing and get closer to conversion one email drip at a time.
To do that, you simply need to…
1️⃣ Start a Workflow
Head to the left-hand side panel in your NetHunt CRM workspace, click Workflows, add a new one, and give it a name.
2️⃣ Add a starting trigger
In our case, it’ll be when a new record is created.
3️⃣ Create a condition to stop
Contacts need to fall out of this workflow when their status has changed. The most logical sign of ‘being nurtured’ in this scenario is responding to your email. This is our condition. The workflow is split into three different branches. Branch A is the main one.
Branch B checks for incoming emails. Branch C checks for Status field changes. In Branch B, we add the action 'Wait for email'. In Branch C, we add the action 'Wait for update' in the Status field from New to Prospecting.
4️⃣ Write emails
In Branch A, we’ll add an email that we’d like to send. Choose the sender (dedicated sales rep or bog-standard for everybody), add some macros, and choose the recipient. Don’t forget your subject line. Afterwards, let’s write more emails and add waiting times between each one, we don’t want to overwhelm leads whom we are managing.
5️⃣ Complete the Workflow
In order to complete the workflow, at the end of every branch we need to add action 'End Workflow'. Once the workflow is active, you can test it by adding a new Contact to your folder and seeing whether emails are sent out.
This is an example of a lead nurturing drip campaign in NetHunt CRM…
Learn more about lead nurturing email sequences in our article!
Besides, CRM software can help you increase the effectiveness of your lead nurturing by giving you an opportunity to segment your database and hit leads with better-personalised, better-targeted content.
CRM and lead conversion
Finally, any successful lead management process must end with a conversion of the lead as a customer.
CRM improves your relationships with leads and customers, prompting them to commit to your product faster. Here are all the benefits of using CRM software to encourage lead conversion…
✔️ CRM software allows you to keep track of all the details
Sales reps can record and access every detail of every interaction they have with every lead. All of those details get stored safely in one place and are readily available for everyone involved in the sales process. Linked to the customer record, notes and communication history details comprise a more holistic view of the relationship your business has with each particular lead.
In turn, you gain an insight into their buyer journey, their pain points, their needs, and their wants.
As a result, you can tailor your subsequent communication, bring up previously discussed points, and prove that you genuinely care about your lead.
✔️ CRM software allows you to communicate with leads at the best times
Lead tracking CRM can help you keep an eye on all the leads in your sales pipeline and reach out to them when they’re prone to conversion. You could create a custom view in your CRM for leads that were acquired a certain amount of time ago, haven’t been in contact with you over some period of time, or have a special occasion coming up.
All of this information will help you be more timely and active nurturing leads..
✔️ CRM software allows you to make data-driven decisions
Great CRM solutions allow users to produce sales pipeline reports. This helps gain insights into what they’re doing well to convert leads before scaling those activities, as well as identifying the tactics that require improvement.
Read more about sales reporting in our article.
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