Why is Lead Management Important?
You may have an idea of what lead management is just by its name. However, it entails much more than managing leads alone.
To better understand lead management and why it’s important, let’s think about the role of a doctor. Doctors see several patients each day, and it’s their responsibility to care for their health and wellness.
However, even though multiple patients visit the same doctor, they don’t receive the same treatment plan. Instead, they receive a tailored plan to their needs to reach their specific wellness goals. So how does a doctor develop a different plan for every patient? They learn more about their patient’s health by asking the right questions to gain an understanding of what concerns led them to visit in the first place. This is similar to lead management.
Understand Who Your Leads Are
A lead is a contact who has converted on your website or through some other interaction with your company.
To help your unique leads solve their challenges or achieve their goals, it’s critical to understand who your leads are and why they’ve shown interest in your company in the first place.
With this information, you’ll be able to engage with them by sending content specific to their needs or by having them speak with the right individual at your company.
Leads typically receive communications from a business after interacting with them online. For example, someone takes an online survey from a pet food company and inputs their contact information. This is what we call a form. A day later, they receive an email from the same pet food company, offering the dog a free health consultation. Receiving this email after engaging with them is far less intrusive than an unexpected call about their services. The lead will likely continue to engage with the pet food company.
Not all leads are equal, nor are they qualified the same way.
Different types of leads depend on how they’re qualified and what life cycle stage they’re in. Once you identify the type of lead you have and their needs, you can provide the right engagement and turn your qualified leads into customers. This is where lead management comes in.
The Role of Lead Management in the Buyer’s Journey
Lead management is the process of acquiring new leads, evaluating them for quality, engaging with them, and nurturing them through the buyer’s journey. While we’d like to think each new contact who enters our database is ready to make a purchase, that isn’t always the case. Lead management helps you understand the types of leads you have and where they are in the buyer’s journey.
The buyer’s journey is the process someone goes through from product research leading up to a purchase.
The buyer’s journey consists of three stages:
- Awareness stage – A lead recognizes they have a problem they need to solve.
- Consideration stage – A lead defines what their problem is and considers options to solve it.
- Decision stage – the lead evaluates and decides on the right provider to administer the solution, leading to a purchase.
Lead management identifies where your lead is in their buyer’s journey and moves them closer to a purchase.
The path to purchase isn’t always linear; sometimes, a lead revisits previous stages in the buyer’s journey process, or they may need extra nurturing to make a decision. Lead management helps you manage the entire process of your leads’ journeys, no matter how complex or long their paths to purchase may be.
As your company grows and you generate more leads, you may lack the time or resources to dedicate to each individual. Lead management is crucial for any business that intends to grow and scale its organization.
With it, you can automate and scale the way you engage with and convert leads to customers.
So, who in your organization is responsible for lead management? Typically, it’s the marketing and sales teams (at first) because leads are essential to both teams’ success. As a company scales, it can become the responsibility of anyone influencing a first, second, or third purchase, whether with a lead or an existing customer.
Lead Management vs. Lead Nurturing
Lead management is different from lead nurturing. Although lead nurturing involves sending the right content to the right person at the right time, it’s only one component of the broader lead management process.
Meanwhile, lead management is more than a B2B strategy. While you’ll find more B2B companies leveraging lead management, B2C and eCommerce organizations can also find value in it. As consumer behaviors change and technology evolves, the way your leads find and purchase from you will follow suit, making lead management critical to your company at every growth stage.
The Benefits of Lead Management
Companies of various industries and sizes can implement lead management in multiple ways. Developing an effective strategy and process depends on several factors, including how you define a lead, your current goals, and how your company operates. Lead management is a broad process that encompasses several smaller strategies. While some companies have extensive lead-nurturing campaigns, others may rely more on their lead-scoring models. The goal is to develop a framework that helps you engage with leads effectively while managing them efficiently.
Is Lead Management For Me?
We’ve outlined six main reasons your organization should invest in lead management.
1. Lead management helps you convert your leads into customers.
Not all leads who enter your database are ready to speak with a salesperson. Lead management helps you build effective processes and campaigns to move these qualified individuals closer to a purchase.
2. Lead management helps marketers improve the effectiveness of their campaigns and measure their ROI.
By organizing and segmenting their contacts, marketers can develop campaigns that send tailored, personalized content to the right people at the right time. Once those leads are passed to sales and converted to customers, marketers can then track and attribute which customers were influenced by their campaigns. But, marketers aren’t the only individuals who benefit from lead management.
3. Lead management solves common pain points for salespeople.
Sales teams often have to deal with the headache of receiving unqualified leads, spending too much time prospecting, and not knowing which leads to prioritize. With lead management in place, your sales team will be able to spend less time qualifying and more time selling. It may also be smart to invest in a lead prospecting tool, such as HubSpot’s Free Sales Leads and Prospecting tool.
4. Lead management resolves sales and marketing misalignment.
Because leads are crucial to marketing and sales success, implementing lead management helps both teams align on shared goals and processes. This reduces friction and improves overall efficiency between teams.
5. Lead management helps you grow your organization using an inbound approach.
The inbound methodology develops an organization by building lasting relationships with people and helping them reach their goals. Lead management helps you do just that. By segmenting your leads based on their unique needs, you’ll be able to provide them with the right content. With lead management, you’ll empower your leads to achieve their goals at any stage in their buyer’s journey.
6. Lead management is crucial for scaling businesses.
Scaling businesses often experience an increase in revenue without a substantial increase in resources. As a result, your company may struggle to manage the influx of new leads on a larger scale.
However, lead management will help your marketing and sales teams expand their processes and ensure a continuous flow of new leads and customers. Whether or not your organization is experiencing major growth, implementing a lead management process now will help your team scale in the future.
By taking the time to better understand each of your leads, you’ll be able to help them achieve their goals and build strong relationships now and in the future. With lead management systems in place, you can oversee leads seamlessly.
The Fundamentals of Lead Management
Lead management involves engaging and nurturing leads depending on their needs and goals. Because each lead is unique, your organization’s process should be as well. However, all successful lead management processes should include these five elements:
1. Sales and Marketing Participation
Sales and marketing are critical in lead management
As mentioned, lead management is both a marketing and sales responsibility. Generally, marketing handles leads who enter their database but aren’t ready to make a purchase, while sales is responsible for qualified leads who are ready to buy right now.
They both have varying customer insights and influence on leads, so they need to work together for effective lead management. As your organization grows, those responsible for this process may change as well. But, when implementing your lead management process for the first time, having at least one member from marketing and sales will suffice.
2. Your Company’s Buyer Personas
Buyer personas in lead management
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on real data and some educated speculation about demographics, behaviors, motivations, and goals.
Buyer personas help you understand your potential customers. With these, you can tailor your content and messaging to their specific needs, behaviors, and concerns. By understanding your leads’ different challenges and goals, you’ll be able to develop a lead management process that better serves each of them. Your business may have one or two personas or as many as 20.
3. A proper Implementation Strategy
Lead management strategy
Your strategy will guide you as you develop and continually optimize your lead management process. With all the touch points your leads encounter throughout their buyer’s journeys, you may feel inclined to build a cumbersome process that automates every component. But that can take a lot of time. Instead, focus on developing a strategy that meets a common goal. This will ensure all participants are aligned and working towards the same outcome.
4. A Service-Level Agreement (SLA)
Service level agreements in lead management
An SLA agreement between a service provider and its customer guarantees a certain output. In this case, developing an SLA for your marketing and sales teams will align both teams, hold them accountable for their responsibilities, and ensure your lead management process operates seamlessly. One of the most common challenges organizations face is misalignment between Marketing and Sales, causing friction and poor customer experiences. It’s also key to ensuring an efficient and effective lead management process.
5. The Right Technology
Technology as a tool in lead management
The technology your organization uses is another aspect crucial to the success of your lead management strategy. To manage your leads effectively, you’ll need software and automation that can simplify how you engage with each potential customer. A customer relationship management (CRM) system is one of the most important tools.
A CRM manages relationships with your customers and stores all of your leads’ data and the interactions a lead has with your brand. Because a lead may take several pathways in the buyer’s journey before making a purchase, your CRM serves as the single source of truth for documenting all of their touch points. An example of a first-class CRM tool is HubSpot’s CRM software, which offers a centralized and easy-to-use interface to power lead management.
Additionally, you’ll benefit from an automation or workflow tool. A workflow is a series of automated actions that trigger based on a person’s behaviors or contact information. This is key to automating your communication with leads.
HubSpot’s automation software helps scale your growth and spend less time on repetitive tasks.
It allows you to visualize, customize, and personalize your workflows and automate dozens of tasks, such as scoring your leads, routing leads to sales, and managing your data in bulk by updating properties. You may want to include other technology like an email management tool, email segmentation tool, sales or deals pipeline, and a reporting tool.
Understanding the Components of a Robust Lead Management Process
The standard lead management process
Although lead management differs between companies, a healthy process should feature lead generation, lead qualification and segmentation, lead nurturing, lead scoring and routing, and measurements for success.
Start incorporating these fundamental elements into your lead management process to set your teams and lead strategy up for success.