Four Steps to Improve Lead Management:
- Define the Lead Management Process
- Involve the Stakeholders
- Identify Buyer Personas
- Evaluate Your Technology Solutions
Better Lead Management begins with the end in mind. Taking time to think things through will improve lead volume, quality, and business impact.
Follow these four steps to improve your marketing ROI and shorten the line to lead management success:
1. Define the Lead Management Process
A lead management “funnel” or “waterfall” oriented process helps form a clear understanding of terms and expectations. Talking about Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) or Sales Accepted Leads (SALs) won’t mean much if there is a lack of alignment about what happens before marketing deems a qualified lead.
A formal lead management process prevents “throw-it-over-the-wall” behavior, which ensures a clear commitment of what a good lead looks like and how leads are routed and nurtured. A formal process also serves as the blueprint for data management, storage, distribution, and archiving of lead and contact data.
2. Involve the Stakeholders
Lead management is equally about sales and marketing, so you must gather buy-in from all stakeholders that touch a lead. Sales and marketing collaboration is a must, but don’t forget IT, sales and marketing operations, creative, advertising, and digital agencies.
New processes often require change management and training support for stakeholders. For example, support needs are often quite different for an inside sales rep versus an enterprise business development manager.
What’s often missed during stakeholder training are the processes for managing leads that become unreachable, stale, stuck, or dead. A large portion of dead leads are only “mostly dead,” not “really dead” (note: Princess Bride movie quote).
3. Identify Buyer Personas
Buyer Personas build a better understanding of your target audience by documenting their characteristics, motivations, needs, pain points, and preferences.
If you aren’t crystal-clear on your target audience’s attributes, then your marketing messages are generic or not relevant to the audience.
The more accurately your content depicts how you can meet a Buyer Persona’s unique needs, the more likely they’ll see your company as a viable option to address the business problems they face.
Buyer Personas also may prefer various communication channels – social media and email may be best for one persona, while traditional phone outreach may be best for another.
4. Evaluate Your Technology Solutions
CRM and marketing automation tools play a central role in optimizing and managing lead management processes.
It’s common to blame lead management and marketing ROI challenges on technology decisions. More often than not, technology solutions are not configured or leveraged correctly, and organizations attempt to swap technology solutions to improve lead management.
Don’t rely solely on your organization to evaluate technology’s role in your lead management process. Hire a trusted and experienced 3rd party to objectively assess if your team can better utilize the current technology rather than changing solutions. Most of today’s leading CRM and marketing automation tools are comprehensive and flexible. However, it’s still important to remember the processes that best suit your needs and those of your target audience must take precedence.
Improving lead management processes can appear daunting.
The road to better lead management is paved with good processes, stakeholder collaboration, a solid understanding of the target audience, and adequately leveraging your CRM and marketing automation solutions.