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Lead Management: What is it and Why do you need it?

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Overview

Leads are the lifeblood of any business no matter how big or small. Leads are potential customers who have shown an interest in your solution but haven’t made a purchase yet. When you first start a new business, you begin with a handful of leads. As you begin to grow and scale, your sales team begins to receive more leads than they can handle. Your team can then no longer manage leads properly and equally in terms of giving them the attention they need, and things begin to fall through the cracks.

Lead Management Leads Everywhere

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That’s where lead management comes in.

What is lead management?

Lead management is the process of managing leads, constantly and equally.

But that is the old-school approach. The modern day lead management processes do much more than just managing the leads. In fact, they impact sales directly, by integrating sales and marketing together. The new definition of lead management would read something like this:

Lead management is the process of capturing leads, tracking their activities and behavior, and qualifying and engaging with them until they are ready to be passed on to quota-carrying sales executives.

Again, this sounds simple enough. But, in truth, lead management is complex, especially when the numbers of leads are high. Let’s take a very simple example of a new business to understand why we need lead management.

Why do we need lead management?

Lead Management ExampleBusinesses generate leads through multiple sources and channels such as website, ads, cold calls and emails, events, etc. When lead generation spans across different methods today, it’s critical to have an effective system to manage leads. If you think a spreadsheet or simple contact database will suffice, you’re thinking short-run. But, you’re not alone. Many businesses have a hard time converting leads to customers because they cannot discern the hot leads from the cold ones (see also: Lead scoring: What is it and why do you need it). Consequently, they end up missing out on opportunities. Implementing lead management gives you a centralized process to manage lead information, score leads, maintain communication and even nurture them continually.

Lead management process

Lead Management ProcessStep 1: Lead capture

Businesses generate leads through various online as well as offline sources such as email, social media, webinars, paid ads, trade shows, and a lot more. Manually adding these leads into your CRM software is not feasible, especially when the volume is high. A good lead management system ensures that every lead is automatically fed into the system from web forms, emails, and chat, preventing leads from falling through the cracks. It also captures the source, so you know what marketing campaigns are working and what’s not.

Web Forms in Freshsales allow you to create, and customize forms according to your business and brand requirements and then embed them within your website or emails to capture high-intent leads. Details filled into these forms are automatically captured in your Freshsales CRM, all without a single line of code.

Irrespective of the size of your business, you most likely use email everyday for contacting customers, reaching out to new prospects, following up with inquiries, etc. Email clients (like Gmail, Outlook) let you send and receive emails. They also allow you to include attachments, categorize emails into folders and search emails. While a standalone email client works great for communication purposes, it falls short when you compare it with email management with a CRM.

Lead Management Email GIF

Freshsales CRM integrates your email client into the CRM software, allowing you to send and receive emails while managing all your customer information in one place. Your emails are automatically linked to the relevant contact, and grouped by conversations. You can also track emails, create templates and send bulk emails without leaving the CRM.

Responding quickly to website visitors is becoming increasingly important in today’s sales. Because if you don’t engage with visitors when they’re interested, chances are they’re going to bounce off your site. The Freshchat widget for Freshsales notifies you on incoming chats so you can connect to visitors without leaving the CRM. You can use assignment rules to assign chats to a sales rep or a group based on conditions, ensuring that the right chats are routed to the right agents.

Lead Management Freshchat

Step 2: Lead enrichment and tracking

Once a lead enters the sales cycle in Freshsales, the lead’s profile is automatically enriched with publicly available information such as their job title, company name, and social media profiles. This ensures your sales team don’t have to spend time and effort on research and manual data entry.

Lead management auto profile

By tracking your website visitors, you can get a visual idea of what leads are looking at on your website, where they are in the buying journey and how likely they are to purchase your services. Identifying leads’ buying intentions helps you communicate better with them by backing you up with the necessary context. Freshsales tracks the lead’s activities on your website—pages visited, links clicked, resources downloaded, etc.—and product and email engagement. These valuable insights around leads’ behavior allow sales reps to understand their interests and personalize sales efforts.

Lead management activity tracking

Step 3: Lead qualification

An effective way to qualify leads is through Lead Scoring. Lead scoring is a methodology for ranking leads in order to determine a prospect’s sales-readiness. Leads are broadly scored on the basis of the interest they show in your product/service, their current place in the buying cycle, and their fit in regards to your business. Businesses score leads by assigning points, implementing rankings such as A, B, C, D or using terms such as ‘hot’, ‘warm’, or ‘cold’.

By assigning scores to leads based on their job title, country, behavior on your website and product, and engagement with your email, your sales team will be able to differentiate qualified and unqualified leads quickly. Using scores to qualify leads allows sales reps to invest their time in pursuing the right sales leads for your business.

Lead management lead scoring

In Freshsales, you can customize lead scores by lead property and interactions—over email, in your application, and over the web. You can add points to leads that meet your buyer persona to prioritize leads you should be speaking to. You can also subtract points for leads that don’t match your qualifying criteria like a lead in a location that’s beyond your reach. This helps you weed out leads that are a waste of your time.

Lead management lead score profile

Every time a lead engages with your business in some way—opened an email, visited website, etc, their lead score gets updated. This gives you an in-depth understanding of their interest levels. Freshsales tracks week-on-week increase and decrease in lead score, and insights into factors that contributed to the score. This information can help you effectively align your follow-up to the lead’s activity.

Step 4: Lead distribution

When your business is small, you know your sales team inside out, so manually assigning leads to the right sales reps is easy. But with the growth of your sales team as well as an increase in the number of leads, this old-school method will delay the lead response time. The sooner your sales reps contact the leads, the more likely they are to buy from you. Ideally, a good lead management system should have the capability to automatically assign leads to sales reps based on certain set criteria. By distributing leads to the right territories and sales reps, your sales team can prioritize their leads better.

lead management lead assignment

With Freshsales, you can create a systematic rule-based sales territory management plan to organize your team, auto-assign leads round-robin, assign phone numbers to territories, transfer calls to territories, limit territory access, and more.

Step 5: Lead nurturing

In an ideal world, every lead would be one that converts into a paying customer. But, in reality not all your leads are sales-ready. Many of them could still be in the research or awareness phase, figuring out if your product/service would serve their needs. With a lead management process in place, you can send nurture campaigns to these leads. You can educate and demonstrate the value of your product/service by sending your leads relevant content, promotional offers, etc., that nudges them forward in their decision-making process.

In Freshsales, you can use sales campaigns to create, send, and track these personalized nurture campaigns.

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Benefits of lead management

Talk to the right leads

With lead management, you can focus on the sales-ready leads thereby maximizing sales opportunities.

Engage with context

Sales reps can engage meaningfully with leads and improve the quality of conversations when they are backed up by the necessary context.

Improve response time

It is no secret that you need to be where your customers. With a lead management system in place, you can reach out to leads via phone, email, or even chat, get immediate context about their buying intentions and increase your chances of making a sale.  

Improve productivity and maximize ROI

A proper lead management system can help prioritize and assign the right leads to the right sales rep, and reduce lead leakage thereby enabling them to do what they do best—sell!  

Be more accountable

Lead management processes aid in accountability along every step of the sales process. By generating the right reports, you can get insights into data such as the territories generating the most leads, the response time of each sales rep, etc.

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