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If you’re running low on leads, it’s time to re-evaluate your lead management process.
An effective lead management strategy will be able to continually offer you high-quality leads.
At the moment, perhaps your “process” is pretty loosely defined. That’s okay. We’ll help you check in on where you are, and offer you the tips and tools to sharpen your lead strategy.
They’re not all going to be ready to convert today—in fact, some may be far from it. But they will someday, and unless you’re strategically reaching out and connecting with them, they’re going to go somewhere else.
Let’s take a look at why you need a lead management process, plus five mistakes you may be making in your current process that are costing you sales.
What is lead management?
Lead management involves lead generation, qualification, tracking, nurturing, and more.
In the beginning, it’s great to focus mainly on your lead generation strategies. You need to make sure you’re successfully filling the pipeline before you can move on to the next steps.
However, you have to remember to not get too caught up in generating, and forget about the rest of the process.
If you focus solely on generation, you’ll find that many of your leads begin to slip away, and they often won’t come back.
This is often because someone else’s lead management process beat out yours. You forgot or neglected a step somewhere along the line that was going to keep their interest in the long run.
Or, you were targeting the wrong types of customers, and after spending some time with you they realized you weren’t what they were looking for after all.
Let’s briefly break down some of the processes within a successful lead management process.
Online lead generation consistently attracts new prospects through your content marketing efforts, including your website, social media platforms, and blog.
Once you’ve captured their attention, lead generation seals the deal via a call-to-action and web form that collects their information and passes it on to you. Voila — a new lead!
Lead tracking should be a largely automated process via your CRM that pulls information about the lead into their customer profile.
The information is readily available and might include their company name, job title, and location.
The software should also be able to track the lead’s level of engagement on your website and in email, so you can properly target them.
Lead qualification or analysis
Lead qualification is when you “test the waters” by reaching out to a lead and gauging their level of interest.
There are numerous ways to analyze a lead, from scoring leads via cold calls to noting their level of engagement on your website and email open rates.
The more qualified a lead is based on your set standards, the higher of a priority they are.
What about the rest of the leads that aren’t ready to make a move right now?
You’ll nurture them with a content marketing strategy aimed at each group’s specific needs and interests.
For example, if you have a group of potential clients who currently don’t qualify for a loan based on credit score, you can nurture them with content focused on improving credit scores and how to budget for a home purchase.
Why you need a lead management process
Once you start generating consistent leads, it can quickly become too much for a growing business to manage on its own.
A lead management process helps you organize, execute, and track all the moving parts involved in your overall strategy.
Many of the tools you will use in your lead management process are there to automate the actions you need to take once you capture a sales lead so that the right leads can get to the right people, backed by the correct action.
For example, once you capture a lead, you’ll use tracking tools to ensure you have a high-quality lead and fill in their profile.
Then, you’ll have a tool that automatically distributes the lead to the right salesperson.
All of your tools and platforms need to work effortlessly together so that no lead is left behind.
Some of the biggest issues with not having an effective lead management process include:
- Losing track of leads because they aren’t being properly pushed along the sales funnel
- Losing interest from leads because they weren’t properly targeted
- Misusing your sales team’s time and efforts because the leads weren’t effectively tracked or distributed
This often results in a salesperson spending too much time on some leads, and not enough on others.
Five lead management mistakes and how they will cost you sales
If you’re starting to identify some areas of weakness in your current process, that’s great news!
It often can be difficult to understand where we are losing leads unless we step back and take a look at the full process.
Let’s take it to the next level with five mistakes you may be making with your current lead management process — and what you can do instead to turn your leads into guaranteed conversions.
1. Using email as a CRM
Email is a fantastic tool for capturing and nurturing leads in business, but it should not be used as your CRM.
Email isn’t a scalable platform that can manage customer data, schedule and trigger reminders, or allow multiple people to access and update.
When you’re growing your business, it may seem simple in the beginning to keep track of customer data in your email. After all, you can search for customer information, create folders for each lead interaction, integrate calendar functions, and more.
However, you’ll soon find that this isn’t a sustainable model for growth. Email isn’t naturally organized; it’s only as good as the person managing the organization.
As your leads grow, you’re going to find that your customer’s or lead’s information will get harder to navigate in your inbox.
Your sales team might ask you for a customer’s information, and you’re not going to be able to find it because the specific email you’re hunting for didn’t have the keywords you’re searching for.
Or, some customer interactions are getting stuck in spam and you forget to keep up with it.
Most of all, you have to be the one to remember to perform every single action in the email. It’s just not sustainable as your leads continue to grow.
What to do instead: Get a CRM for lead management
You can’t have a successful lead management process that encourages growth without a quality CRM system.
Let’s take a look at what a CRM will do for you:
- Holds all customer and lead data
- Organizes customer details
- Prioritizes leads
- Tracks lead interactions
- Pulls contact information from third parties to fill in lead profiles
- Allows salespeople to add updates and customer touchpoints
- Integrates with all other tools and technology
With a CRM, all of your employees can easily access, edit, and update customer and lead information.
Any member of your sales team can quickly and seamlessly pick up where they or another team member left off.
Your life is going to become a lot easier once you implement a quality CRM.
If you need help finding the lead management software that’s right for you, consider connecting with a lead generation agency that can offer support in finding the best tools for your specific needs.
2. Thinking that it’ll only take one call to close a deal
You’ve got your lead in hand, fresh from an inquiry about your services. You dial the number, wait in anticipation, and the voice on the other end says that they are still looking into all their options.
Or, worse, they never answer the phone or reply to your messages.
Don’t toss aside that lead — it can take multiple points of contact to convert a lead. In fact, according to Marketo, 96% of your website visitors are not ready to buy yet.
Maybe you’re thinking a “high-quality lead” by definition should be one that’s ready to convert instantly, but even these leads may need some work.
It’s important to have realistic expectations to successfully manage leads.
Evaluate your own conversion process with your sales team to understand the average time it takes to convert a lead, as well as the behaviors and characteristics that signal a lead is ready to convert.
In sales and marketing, this is known as high-intent and low-intent behaviors.
All of this information can be included in your CRM to ensure your sales team receives the right leads at the right time.
What to do instead: Meet your leads where they are
Your lead generation process will see the most success once you’re set up to automatically take a lead through the sales funnel, set up consistent points of contact, and let your marketing tools do most of the prep work.
But you have to do the back-end work first to make sure your tools are successful.
This means establishing buyer personas, building content for these personas, and segmenting your leads into these groups so they are receiving content that’s tailored to their specific needs.
Maybe the leads who are defined as high-quality at your company statistically dislike talking on the phone, so in that case, it definitely won’t take one call to close the deal.
Meet your leads where there are, and use your industry expertise and customer behavior research to make your marketing tools work for you.
3. Going after only the biggest, best leads
It’s natural to want to go after the biggest accounts or loan amounts in front of you today and leave the rest, but that’s not a sustainable, long-term strategy.
Additionally, if you’re successful at generating leads in marketing, this means you’re going to flat-out ignore the majority of your other inquiries.
This can easily create a scenario where you let most of your leads go, and end up waiting around for the big fish. What are you supposed to do with the in-between periods where there’s no big account in sight?
Plus, the word is going to get out that you aren’t very responsive. If you’re “lucky,” this means the lead will just go away, but if you’re not, it means you may have to deal with some unpleasant reviews that will stick around online forever.
Part of creating client personas involves these big accounts, but it also includes the smaller, consistent, everyday leads that no doubt contributed largely to the overall picture.
To help you understand the impact of these smaller leads, you and your sales team will need to analyze the percentage of inquiries and conversions from the big leads vs. the smaller leads.
By all means, if you’re interested in the big loan amounts, direct your strategy to this group of people.
But if you find yourself in a lead drought someday, it’s going to be that much harder to revamp your strategy in time to maintain a steady stream of leads once again.
What to do instead: Make room in your strategy for all types of leads
Your lead management process should include a balance of all types of leads, so you have a consistent flow of potential customers and a strategy for distributing them among the appropriate sales members.
The idea isn’t to create more work for you by forcing you to go after leads you don’t want or don’t have time to tackle, but to help you see the full potential with a more efficient lead process.
Currently, all you may have time for is focusing on the most efficient way to make the most money. As a result, you have your best salespeople zero in on the big accounts, and drop off the rest.
But by automating more of your processes, you will make room in your strategy to grow with all types of leads effortlessly.
4. Neglecting to nurture your leads
Remember the non-responsive lead from earlier that you might have been tempted to toss aside?
There’s no exact figure we can offer you to explain how long it takes to convert a non-responsive lead because this can vary significantly by industry.
Instead, we can tell you that it is normal for this to happen — especially during periods of economic challenges.
If you have a lead in hand, that means someone has done one of the following:
- Downloaded a lead magnet on your website
- Requested information
- Contacted you directly via social media or web form
- Filled out an application on your website
- Signed up for a newsletter
- Called you
- Clicked on one of your ads
Based on this list, you can see there are various levels of intent.
If someone signed up for your newsletter or downloaded a lead magnet, this reveals that they are more likely in the research and discovery phase rather than filling an urgent need.
On the other hand, if a lead called you, messaged you, or filled out an application, they are likely to be much closer to conversion.
The way you approach each type of lead matters because not everyone has the same needs.
This is where lead nurturing comes into play.
If you reach out to the person who signed up for your newsletter and doesn’t get a reply, I certainly hope you wouldn’t toss out that lead while they are in the research phase.
Instead, they need a different type of attention that offers more of the information they are seeking, introduces them to your business, and establishes you as the industry expert.
Then, when they’re close to converting, they know exactly what to do and who to call.
What to do instead: Nurture your leads with informative, engaging content
Lead nurturing is one of the most important parts of lead management sales because most leads are not going to convert right away.
Take a moment to analyze your own purchasing behavior: If you’re shopping online, do you purchase the first item you see that fits your needs? Or do you perform a search, check out a few blog lists, and look at some reviews first?
Apply this approach to your own business and your client research.
For example, if someone is new to the home-buying process, they might head to Google first and search for “how to buy a home,” or “what is a conventional loan?”
If you are a lender with a successful content marketing strategy, your article on conventional loans may show up on the first page of Google. The future lead will click on it, read your article, and download your lead magnet on “The Ultimate Guide to the Homebuying Process.”
Automatically, your CRM will collect the lead’s information, and your email marketing platform will send the guide to their email.
The next day, your email drip campaign for new leads who downloaded your home-buying guide will send out an introduction email, with a personalized video from you and a link to the latest blog post on types of mortgages.
A few days later, your drip campaign will send out a digest on the most recent mortgage news, and what it means for your customers.
Do you see how lead nurturing works?
In this example, it’s a sophisticated, automated combination of content marketing and email marketing with a personal touch.
If you want to know how long it takes, on average, for your leads to convert, you can set yourself up to gather this information so you can make your lead nurturing strategy more accurate.
For example, if you know it takes your leads an average of eight emails to convert, you can create a set of eight emails for your drip campaign.
If lead nurturing sounds complicated or confusing, work with a content marketing agency to help you plan and create the types of content you need.
You could spend months perfecting your lead management process by intensely researching the right tools, carefully crafting your content marketing strategy, and obsessing over getting your client personas just right.
Remember that these processes take time to build, and you shouldn’t have to neglect your current leads while you’re working on your new strategy.
No management process is set in stone; everything is meant to be re-evaluated and reconsidered over time as both your company goals and your customer wants and needs evolve.
What to do instead: Work with what you’ve got and build on it
Instead of obsessing over your current lead management mistakes or overthinking what you need to do first, list out what is working for you and build on that.
Make your changes one step at a time, and start with what is manageable for you and your team.
Finding a new CRM is a good place to start, and a change that will take time to implement and teach to your team.
You’ll find that a new CRM alone is going to be a game-changer in your overall strategy.
From there, you might begin to focus on your client personas, and brainstorm content tailored to each type of customer.
Then, you can start building email drip campaigns for nurturing your current leads.
Nobody knows your business as you do. Leverage your expertise to craft a strategy that’s unique to your mission and goals.
Revamp your lead management process flow with Kaleidico
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with all the information, we can help you.
Kaleidico has been generating sales leads online for over 15 years. But our expertise doesn’t end with generation — because lead generation never stops.
We can teach you how to continue marketing to your past customers to unlock a new level of high-quality leads.
Photo by Mikael Blomkvist