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Lead management is all about the leads: generating leads, segmenting leads, and nurturing leads.
However, the execution and success of a lead management process largely rest in the hands of your marketing and sales teams — with sales ultimately being the ones to seal the deal.
Sure, we can automate the processes and hand-deliver the leads to our sales teams. But at the end of the day, it’s the salesperson who has the power to convert or the power to push the lead back into nurturing.
So which comes first, the lead or the salesperson?
It’s still the lead!
There can be any number of reasons why your lead management process is struggling. One of these reasons may rest with your sales approach.
Let’s take a look at the top lead management techniques that will help you build and maintain the team you need to reach your business goals.
Nine lead management techniques for success
Your lead management systems must be backed by a team that’s equipped to carry it to success.
But it goes both ways: If your lead management process leaves much to be desired, it’s going to be hard for your team to be successful.
First, let’s review the basic steps involved in lead management and the framework for how your team should support these steps.
- Lead generation: Process of capturing leads via strategic content marketing strategies and bold calls-to-action (CTAs)
- Lead qualification: Establishing whether a lead is ready to convert based on marketing and sales criteria
- Lead distribution: Lead is considered ready to convert and sent to a salesperson
- Lead nurturing: Builds a relationship with leads for a future sale, or nurtures a past or current customer relationship for future sales
Today, marketing does a lot of the work of attracting leads and nurturing them before they’re sent to a salesperson.
But all of this work should be enriched with insights from the sales team.
The sales team will help marketing determine when a lead is ready for contact based on set criteria.
From there, your sales team should be instructed on the proper follow-up for leads, including pushing a lead back into nurturing if it turns out they’re not ready to convert.
If your processes are set up for success and you’re still having issues with lead flow, you may need to dive deeper into the funnel to pinpoint your marketing, sales, and distribution errors.
Let’s dive into nine lead management techniques you need to implement to ensure your team’s success.
1. Focus on the lead
It’s easy to get stuck in a pattern of focusing on your sales team and their individual preferences, rather than the customer.
After all, you want your team to be happy and motivated to convert as many leads as possible.
However, you may need to reframe your approach to place a higher emphasis on the lead, rather than the salesperson.
A happy and motivated sales team is built from fulfilling shared goals and successes.
Everyone is working together to achieve the shared goal—for example, to convert more leads—and those who are highly motivated to reach this goal are the ones rewarded.
Up to this point, you may have been focusing on generating leads and building a lead management framework to help maintain a steady flow of leads for your sales team.
Now, your sales team needs to be involved in the process, trained on the standards and executed the techniques.
If you are struggling with your sales team, let’s rewind to the basics:
- Are they properly trained?
- Do they fully understand your company’s goals and services?
- Do they have the motivation to fulfill these goals and services?
You hired each person on your team for a reason. If you believe in their sales skills, it’s time to turn back to your lead management strategy and tweak the processes to focus on the leads above all else.
Once you do this, you’ll be able to let your sales team’s talents shine.
2. Unite marketing and sales
When marketing and sales work together, they’re 67% stronger at closing deals.
Gaps in marketing and sales result in an unacceptable amount of lost or unused leads that cost you precious conversions.
Follow these lead management tips to successfully unite both teams:
- Allow both teams full access to your CRM, including all analytics
- Train all staff on the journey of the lead and how they are pushed through the sales funnel
- Train all staff on how leads are scored in your company, and what criteria makes a lead qualified vs. unqualified
- Emphasize how unqualified or unresponsive leads are rarely discarded, just pushed backed into nurturing until they’re ready
- Allow sales team input on the types of content they need marketing to create
Finally, make sure both teams understand that the lead always comes first!
3. Don’t “round-robin” leads
How are you distributing your leads to your sales team?
Many businesses implement a “round-robin” approach, where everyone on the sales team receives a relatively equal number of leads throughout the day.
This might seem like the most effective approach for your team: Everyone gets their share of leads, and the leads are all successfully assigned to a salesperson.
In truth, round robin actually slows down your speed to contact.
Basic economics shows us how scarcity results in higher demand.
By taking away scarcity with a steady flow of leads, your sales team can rest assured that they will receive a certain number of leads no matter what.
Instead, turn your focus once again to the leads first.
Distribute new leads to the salespeople who close the most deals, and the motivation to close will increase among your team.
Remember that the first few minutes after a new lead arrives are the most precious in making contact.
Assigning fresh qualified leads to the most motivated people on your team is a win-win for everyone involved, and ignites a spirit of friendly competition among the team.
4. Create a sense of urgency in your team by pushing out the “push” method
The “push” method of distributing leads immediately assigns a new lead to an available salesperson who is qualified to take it.
Similarly to the round-robin methodology, the push method encourages a more even distribution of leads, rather than one that allows all leads to go to the most eager salespeople.
As a result, the sense of urgency and competition is eliminated because your salespeople are able to rely on an incoming lead as soon as they are available to take it.
Allowing the most successful and motivated salespeople the opportunity to take the most leads rewards them for their hard work while making sure the lead is contacted as quickly as possible.
5. Build in a sense of lead scarcity
We already discussed how lead scarcity boosts motivation, but here’s one way you can put it into action: Allow your sales team to work on only one lead at a time.
This way, your team has to work through the lead as quickly and efficiently as possible so they can earn another lead.
You can automate this process by requiring your sales team to check off certain tasks in your CRM before the system releases another lead to them.
Until these boxes are checked, they won’t get another new lead.
These lead management best practices place the most emphasis on the leads, rather than the security of your sales team.
6. Build a sense of competition
If you’re used to putting your sales team first and making them comfortable, you may feel uncomfortable with “taking away” leads or only distributing them to the best salespeople.
But putting leads first is beneficial for your sales team, too, because it builds a sense of competition and purpose.
Your sales team should compete to grab leads as they arrive, and request more as soon as they are finished with one.
Competition on your team is rewarding. Make your goals clear, and offer incentives for the salesperson who closes the most leads that day, week, or month.
Many salespeople naturally are competitive — nurture this nature with friendly competition.
7. Only push notifications—not leads
With a quality CRM, all members of your sales team have access to lead data at a moment’s notice.
You can set up your processes to automatically notify all qualified members of the team when a new lead arrives via their smartphones and email.
The first to get to the lead, gets the lead!
To avoid a salesperson taking on more than they are able to handle just to grab another lead, I’m going to emphasize the phrase “qualified members.”
With your software, you can make sure that new leads are only pushed out to those who are available based on your established criteria.
8. Encourage the practice of evaluating and using data
Empower your sales team to recognize what isn’t working, pull data to confirm, and suggest ways to improve.
It’s common for team members to get comfortable with a process and automatically go through the daily motions.
Small, irritating issues are swept under the rug because people are used to just doing their job, and creating workarounds to get things done efficiently.
For example, a member of your sales team may not be getting the most qualified leads, so they have to continually push them back into nurturing.
Instead of questioning why this keeps happening, they assume it’s a string of “bad leads” and move on to the next lead and the next lead.
Keep an eye on the numbers: Is this salesperson misidentifying a qualified lead (and needs some re-training to push through the slump), or does your overall process need to be tweaked to seal the crack?
The key to managing sales leads lies in the numbers, so you can identify where and how issues are occurring and work to fix them.
9. Encourage sales to identify and share new trends
An engaged salesperson is going to recognize when something isn’t working anymore because it’ll start affecting their numbers.
Is a sales technique they were trained to use beginning to turn customers off? Did they discover a new technique that the leads appreciate?
Or did your top salesperson start getting some helpful lead tips from the leads themselves?
Encourage your sales team to identify these new trends and share them so marketing can adjust their content.
Remember, immediate, consistent sales calls used to be the norm across industries to get a lead to convert.
Now, leads mostly dislike this approach because they are busy and they don’t want to be bothered with incessant phone calls.
Instead, immediate emails or texts are replacing calls, with the exception of those who confirmed their preference was a phone call on a web form.
A leads-first approach relies on feedback from those interacting with the leads most. Listen to your leads, and use this feedback to adjust your sales and marketing techniques.
Get personalized lead management techniques from Kaleidico
Kaleidico has over 15 years of experience generating online sales leads with our holistic, human-centered approach.
We can show you how to boost your lead management techniques with a leads-first philosophy designed to help you clearly understand your customers’ needs and wants at every stage, and put that intel into action.
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