Lead management

Every business, big or small, depends on leads. Leads are potential customers who have shown interest in your solution but who have not yet made a purchase. For businesses to grow, you have to convert leads to loyal customers. And to do that right, you need to manage sales leads in an organized manner. In this page, you will learn everything you need to know about lead management and how it can help close deals faster.

Lead management funnel
What is lead management?

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

Why do you need to manage leads?

Businesses try to generate leads through multiple sources and channels such as website, ads, cold calls and emails, events, conferences, 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 sales organizations have a hard time converting leads to customers because they cannot discern the hot from the cold. Consequently, they end up missing out on opportunities. A meticulous method like lead management gives you a centralized database to manage lead information, score leads, maintain communication and even nurture them continually.

What is a lead management system?

Lead management system provides a systematic method of capturing, tracking and qualifying leads so that sales executives are working on the most promising leads.

6 signs you need a lead management system

No single source of information

Sales reps are constantly juggling between multiple tools to access lead information.

No initial lead qualification

You don’t have a process or methodology like ranks and scores to qualify and unqualify leads.

No insight into lead’s activities

You aren’t tracking the prospect’s activities on your website, product, and email; losing your potential buyers.

Lack of visibility

Sales reps don’t have visibility into the lead’s buying journey to provide the right collaterals and documents to move them through the sales cycle.

Missed follow-ups

Sales reps are forgetting to make a follow-up call or email, making the prospect feel neglected and move to a competitor.

Lack of lead nurturing

Your sales teams are focusing more on the ‘good’ sales leads that the ones who require extensive follow-up and relationship building are ignored.

Lead management system vs. spreadsheets

If you’re using spreadsheets for lead management, you’re not alone. Spreadsheets are easy to access and understand—when you’re a small business. But when you’re keen to grow your business, spreadsheets fall short.

Spreadsheets are designed for specific functions, and they perform those functions well. Managing a high volume of sales leads is not one of them. Managing leads and converting them to customers means being able to look beyond data and understand the context that drives interactions. This context is obtained through phone and email communications, and interactions with your website and product. Being able to access all this context instantly and with minimal effort is where a single tool—lead management system—can be the pivotal difference.

In the table below, you’ll find a list of common sales needs. Spreadsheets can solve a few, but not all. Take a look:

Sales needsLead management system
Spreadsheets
Storing leads’ details
Managing high volume of data
Automating lead capture and enrichment
Tracking leads’ activities
Prioritizing leads
Creating reports
Making calls
Sending emails
Managing sales activities
Retaining all functionalities across devices

The Lead Management Process

A successful and efficient lead management process includes the following five steps.

Step 1: Lead capturing

During the lead generation activities, you would have contacted your ideal buyers through various online sources such as email, social media, webinars, paid ads, and a lot more. Manually adding these leads 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 prospects from falling through the cracks. It also captures the source, so you know what marketing campaigns are working and what’s not.

lead-capturing

Step 2: Lead enrichment & tracking

Once a lead enters the system, the lead’s profile is automatically populated 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 on research and manual data entry. The lead management system also 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-enrichment-and-tracking

Step 3: Lead qualification

One way to effectively qualify leads is through Lead Scoring—a model that ranks leads based on their demographic information and engagement with your company. 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 rep to invest their time in pursuing the right sales leads for your business. Although there are standalone lead scoring tools, one that is built into your lead management system is highly cost-effective and beneficial for your sales teams.

lead-capturing

Step 4: Lead distribution

You know your sales team inside out, so manually assigning leads to the right sales reps is plain sailing. But with a high volume 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. A good lead management system should be able to automatically assign leads to sales reps. By distributing leads to the right territories and sales reps, your sales team can prioritize leads. You can also generate reports to identify the territories that are bringing in the most profit, sales reps who are meeting targets, and the potential sales area to improve.

lead-capturing

Step 5: Lead nurturing

Not all your leads are sales-ready. Many of them could still be in the research or awareness phase, figuring out if your service would solve their pain points. With a lead management system in place, you can send nurture campaigns to these leads—who are not quite ready to make a purchase. This is where you educate and demonstrate value through content, promotional offers, etc. that your service can solve their business challenges, helping them in their decision-making process.

Benefits of using a lead management system

Talk to quality leads

Sales reps can quickly focus on the sales-ready leads; maximizing sales opportunities.

Engage with context

With a centralized lead database, your sales reps can quickly get context to make meaningful conversations.

Improve productivity

Automations in the lead management process saves your sales team time and effort to do what they do best—sell.

Quick response time

Sales reps can reach out to prospects via phone or email by looking at their buying intentions, increasing the chances of making a sale.

High ROI

Identify which lead source is bringing good, quality leads, and maximize your efforts in those areas to increase your ROI.

Measure results

Get invaluable insights into the activities in the lead funnel, such as the territories generating the most leads, the response time of each sales rep, etc.

Now that you have a fair idea of how a lead management system can help your business, what next?

Get the best lead management system

Try Freshsales CRM that comes with lead management solution. When you signup, you have a 30-day free trial along with 24/5 phone and email support. Take this time to see how your sales leads are automatically captured from various sources and enriched with information. The CRM also tracks lead activities, qualifies them using scores, and allows you to send sales email campaigns to the ones that require nurturing. Yes, you can do all this from a single sales tool, and it’s GDPR compliant.

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