Lead Management Software 101: How to Manage Your Leads Correctly

Lead Management Software 101 How To Manage Your Leads Correctly

To ensure that your sales and marketing efforts are aimed at the right audience, your business needs to implement lead management software that eliminates prospects who never make a buying decision from the sales cycle and prioritizes high-intent and high-quality leads.

This article will review the fundamentals of the lead management process, break it down into steps and stages, and explain why it’s important for businesses when it comes to conversion rate optimization.

What Is Lead Management Software

Lead management software is a program, marketing tool, or application that helps companies organize the captured customer information, track and distribute leads, and automate all the related tasks.

Managing leads incorporates several stages, including capturing leads, evaluating their quality, analyzing the captured information, determining the likelihood of purchases, routing leads, and tracking conversions. 

An efficient process also includes automation, which minimizes the time invested in administrative tasks and streamlines all the essential marketing and sales processes. Studies show that about 80% of marketing experts use marketing automation and software for lead management to bring in 451% more leads and convert most of them successfully.

Besides, automation enables different departments to handle a higher volume of sales, inbound calls, and transactions while still taking the appropriate steps to nurture your leads and facilitate their progression down the sales funnel.

Let’s look at other essential questions to help you distinguish the related processes and understand how they interact.

#1 Is It Possible To Differentiate Between Lead Tracking and Management

Lead tracking identifies lead origins, observes where leads are in the marketing and sales funnel, and determines the necessary steps to close the deal.

Lead management is the end-to-end process of overseeing the lifecycle of leads. It incorporates tracking, capturing, and qualifying leads from various sources, scoring and routing them, and recording online and offline interactions like clicks, emails, website visits, or phone calls.

What Is the Difference Between a CRM System and Lead Management Software

There’s no denying that customer relationship management (CRM) systems and lead management software are often considered similar or even identical. 

That’s because sales and marketing experts can use both solutions to organize and manage lead information. But even so, there are several significant differences between the two.

Sales departments predominantly use the software to capture, track, and store lead information. In contrast, CRM is a more complex system designed to enable marketing and sales professionals to control and follow the customer journey from the lead generation stage to customer retention.

In other words, CRM is a tool helping to streamline company processes while lead management aims to grow your business. 

Traditionally, the operation of lead management software effectively ends when a lead becomes a prospect and a customer. With automation in the picture, companies can utilize a suite of marketing automation solutions or specific tools like lead management CRM software.

What Are the Benefits of the Lead Management Process

So, what should your company expect from effective lead management software? The right software will enable you to achieve the following goals:

  • automate your lead generation, scoring, and routing,
  • boost team productivity and performance with in-depth insights,
  • improve contextual engagement with leads,
  • deliver personalized experiences to prospects,
  • improve conversion rates and marketing ROI,
  • evaluate and enhance your lead generation and management processes,
  • reach maximum efficiency.

While marketing and sales goals may vary from business to business, every software or lead management solution provides specific tools and features to yield better results.

How to Implement Lead Management Software

Implementing lead management software for small businesses and enterprises aims to incentivize repeat customers and improve brand awareness. To accomplish that, companies must:

  • Choose the most suitable lead sources and develop advertising materials for them.
  • Discover patterns in customer behavior and understand what the target audience likes and dislikes.
  • Set the criteria for scoring, routing, and prioritizing leads.
  • Establish an appropriate communication system to prevent leads from falling through the cracks as they travel through the sales funnel.

Features of a Lead Management Software

Around 65% of companies consider generating high-quality traffic and leads as their principal marketing challenge. It’s no surprise since managing inbound leads is all about collecting information about who they are, their needs and wants, and how to engage and incentivize leads and encourage them to commit to a purchase.

Here are some of the standard features of sales lead management software to pay attention to when choosing the best lead management software for your company:

  • Lead analytics: Detailed analytics allows capturing and analyzing data from ad campaigns and finding the most optimal and effective ways for businesses to scale and earn more revenue.

Companies equipped with in-depth data management on all inbound leads can simplify workflows and recalibrate their marketing strategies.

  • Lead tracking: One of the principal benefits of the lead tracking feature is the ability of companies to take control of their sales funnels, uncover new sales opportunities, and acquire the attribution they need for every inbound lead.
  • Lead distribution: Brands looking to automate their processes of turning leads into customers can utilize lead distribution to make the most of the fundamental data points, direct leads toward specific destinations, and significantly reduce customer wait times.
  • Ping tree: The ping tree technology has everything a business might need to distribute, buy, and sell their declined call or web leads. 

The ability to set their price points allows sellers to find numerous interested parties, and buyers can be more selective about the quality and price of the leads they wish to purchase.

What is a Ping Tree?

If you’re a marketer or a business owner looking for ways to boost revenue, the first thing you should look at is your lead management strategy. 

Since leads can come in numerous ways, many brands struggle to make the most of their lead generation efforts because of a shaky structure and process that doesn’t allow them to respond to those leads.

Let’s examine in more detail the principal stages of the lead management process that will help you meet your revenue targets and fine-tune your campaigns.

The Main Stages of the Lead Management Process

Every brand designs and optimizes its lead management system depending on its goals and needs. Naturally, many steps and stages are involved in the process of converting your leads into loyal customers, and here are the ones you need to focus on:

1. Understand your target audience and define what a qualified lead means for your business.

Developing a system that will allow you to identify where the prospects are in the sales funnel is essential for your business to bring in even more high-intent leads. But first, you must determine who your potential buyers are and set the criteria for qualifying leads.

To begin, a marketing team must characterize buyer types and personas. That will help you establish an ideal lead image and match it with your products or services. 

Consider answering the following questions to create a buyer persona:

  • Who are your ideal customers?
  • Where do they live?
  • What industry do they work in?
  • What are their issues, desires, and requirements?
  • What information are they likely to look for on the internet?
  • What journals, blogs, portals, social media accounts, and podcasts interest them?
  • How do leads usually find your business?
  • What are the top lead sources for your brand?

2. Set up an optimal lead scoring system for your sales team.

Lead scoring assists sales representatives and marketers in determining whether leads are inclined to purchase a specific product or service. 

The process typically entails assigning a numeric value to each lead based on their behavior and attitude. In this case, the value indicates how sales-ready your leads are.

lead grading & lead scoring
Source: SmartAcre

Establishing a routine and lead scoring system can help you control the upsurge of leads and foster your business growth. 

Here are the questions you should consider answering when creating the basis for managing inbound leads:

  • Are there any sales-ready leads that weren’t handled properly? Why?
  • How does your team know if a lead is sales-ready? Is this process automated?
  • How do your teams prioritize leads? What qualities or interactions should they also consider?
  • What are the most suitable routing rules for your business?

Addressing and answering these questions will help you identify the lead scoring and routing system aspects that require improvement and guarantee that your team will handle all the qualified leads properly.

3. Collect information about your leads.

There’s no denying that the best approach to generating high-quality leads and identifying where they came from is to create and track valuable content. 

Here are some of the tools you can use to ensure that you capture critical lead intelligence:

  • Lead tracking solution: Aiming your marketing efforts to spark interest in your offerings is crucial. With the lead tracking solution, you can gain specific insights on your offline and online lead generation efforts, build more effective campaigns, and increase revenue.
  • Call tracking software: It’s not uncommon for brands to overlook the necessity of generating and nurturing prospective customers through call tracking. It works with numerous marketing channels, including email, PPC, display ads, and offline campaigns. 

For instance, assigning trackable phone numbers to ad campaigns can significantly improve your brand’s lead generation capacity.

  • Conversion rate optimization (CRO): The primary goal of conversion rate optimization is to boost conversions by persuading existing customers and prospects to sign up for email newsletters, visit a website, install an app, etc. 

CRO tools help companies get clarity on paid campaigns and learn how to convert visitors and leads into paying return customers.

  • Behavior analytics tools: Customer behavior analysis and prediction are critical for brands. They provide substantial benefits to marketing and sales teams, like identifying and making the most of user behavior patterns and gaining insights to help brands prevent future mistakes.

4. Analyze customer pain points and map out the customer journey.

The customer journey encompasses all qualified leads’ interactions with a business, including the discovery and purchase stages. Detailed customer journey information will provide you with a comprehensive view of where your leads are in the sales funnel.

Once a company gains insight into a consumer’s joy or pain points, it can focus on maintaining the customer experience positive while improving what isn’t working well. 

Businesses must assess all the information the lead management software captured and focus on mapping out the stages and customer touchpoints.

Creating such a map aims to display the customer’s experience visually. Here’s an example of what a mapped-out customer journey looks like.

online shopping customer journey map
Source: EdrawMax

5. Track your leads and measure your lead generation KPIs.

Marketers know that they must track and measure leads and their interactions regularly. In other words, evaluating, refining, and scoring lead information is crucial, even if your leads are passed on to other departments. 

After all, the primary goal is to get the lead moving through the funnel without losing it or sending it back for nurturing by mistake.

Here are the principal takeaways:

  • Track and evaluate leads throughout the sales cycle to identify which approaches work best.
  • Assess sales performance and remember to measure marketing and sales ROI.
  • Evaluate and analyze leads continuously to refine the lead management process and yield better business results.

6. Establish a strategy for nurturing leads until they become brand advocates.

Nurtured leads tend to make 47% bigger purchases than non-nurtured ones. For that reason, it’s crucial to build trust with your prospects. 

The principal idea behind lead nurturing is to sustain their interest and transform them into loyal clients and, possibly, brand ambassadors.

However, businesses must remember that lead nurturing is never about a single marketing campaign. On the contrary, it’s about continuous efforts to keep conversations between your business and prospects going. 

Successful communication with leads requires a strategic plan. One of the surefire ways to nurture your leads effectively is to create relevant content. Here’s a cheat sheet that will help you to craft your content depending on the prospect stage.

content by prospect stage
Source: Adobe Marketo Engage

Why Your Business Needs Lead Management Software

There’s no denying that a continuous influx of leads keeps every company running. However, not every lead has the same quality or intent. Therefore, businesses need a way to generate more and manage their sales pipeline along with relevant and quality leads.

While it may be tempting to sell as much as possible, brands must be selective in who they target and why. Selling to customers when your product can’t solve their problems is counterproductive and risky. 

Businesses equipped with lead management software and other martech solutions can clearly see their ideal customers, what steps they need to take to bring in and convert more leads, and how to improve their efforts to yield better business results.

Cyrus Nambakhsh
Cyrus Nambakhsh
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