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A Definitive Guide to Lead Management

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Pam Georgiana

Better lead qualification. Faster sales velocity. Improved relationships. These are just a few of the benefits of lead management.

Today, you’ll learn all about lead management and how it can improve your sales.

Specifically, you’ll learn answers to questions like:

  • What is lead management?
  • What is a lead management system?
  • What’s a good lead management process?
  • What is lead management software?
  • What are some best practices for sales lead management?

And much more. Let’s dive in.

What is Lead Management?

Lead management involves acquiring, organizing, nurturing, and tracking potential customers or leads throughout the sales funnel. The goal is to systematically guide leads from initial contact to the purchase decision and even after. 

As you can imagine, lead management for a busy sales team can feel very daunting. Luckily, there are systems that assist sales leaders in accomplishing these vital tasks. 

Why is Lead Management a worthy investment?

It’s simple: if you’re investing in generating leads, you need to invest in converting them, too. Otherwise, what’s the point? 

Lead management is all about ensuring that you identify, qualify, connect, and convert leads as efficiently as possible for your business. And the benefits are plentiful:

  • More consistent lead response, including rapid lead response.
  • Improved speed to lead and speed to close (or sales velocity).
  • Better relationships with leads, prospects, and customers.
  • Enhanced ability to prioritize leads for outreach and response.

Plus so many more.

What is a Lead Management System?

A lead management system (LMS) supports an entire sales system, including teams, processes, and software. Most importantly, it facilitates the essential task of lead management.

Typically, LMS includes solutions and processes for:

  • Capture: Collects leads from various marketing and sales sources, including websites, lead forms, events, and sales meetings. 
  • Respond: Engage with leads at the peak moment of interest using pertinent lead information. 
  • Qualify/Conversation: Scores leads based on their interest and purchasing potential. 
  • Follow-Up: Engages leads with targeted content and communication throughout their sales journey
  • Convert: Convert leads to customers and on to brand advocates.

An LMS can be automated and streamlined through a software solution like Calldrip, which includes technology that empowers your sales team to connect with every lead at the right moment and with the right information. This alignment of technology can spark meaningful sales conversations and create happy customers quickly and with less stress.

A “Best Practice” Lead Management Process 

Let's look at a common lead management process for a sales team. Keep in mind this process mirrors the customer's sales journey. Always keep the customer at the center of every step in your lead management process. 

  1. Lead Generation: The first step is to attract prospects through your company's various communication channels, including websites, social media, and marketing campaigns. 
  2. Lead Capture: As every prospect is captured, collect crucial information to help you close the deal using forms, landing pages, or opt-in incentives. 
  3. Lead Response: This first touch is perhaps the most important step in the whole process! A good lead management process will incorporate prospect data and other resources. This will ensure your sales team responds to each lead quickly and with the product information the lead is looking for. 
  4. Lead Qualification: Assess each prospect based on demographics, interests, and buying intent. This step helps your team prioritize leads and understand who your best leads are. Lead qualification also helps your marketing team understand if there are holes in messaging. 
  5. Lead Nurturing: Most sales journeys require building a strong customer relationship with prospects. The nurturing process includes sending targeted emails, blog posts, or webinars to educate and engage leads. 
  6. Lead Conversion: Once leads are qualified and using lead nurturing techniques, the sales team is set up to close the deal. 

This process may take days in some industries and months in others. Either way, the goal of lead management is to streamline processes, understand prospects' needs, and close more deals. 

What is Lead Management Software?

Lead management software is designed to streamline and optimize acquiring, tracking, and converting leads into customers. This software provides a centralized platform for managing all aspects of the lead lifecycle. It covers everything from initial contact to conversion. Some of the tasks that lead management software can help your team accomplish include: 

  • Contact Management: While a CRM may do this, LMS software offers more contact options. It will also assist in organizing and tracking lead data efficiently.
  • Lead Response: We mentioned how crucial this step is. Why? According to Forbes, only 27% of leads are ever contacted by a salesperson. LMS software enables you to respond quickly to every lead.
  • Conversational Marketing: In today's competitive markets, it is critical to respond personally to every lead. Choose the channel your prospects prefer, including phone, text, and/or email. 48% of consumers prefer to receive brand communications via SMS text message.  
  • Lead and Conversation Scoring: LMS software assists your team in prioritizing leads based on sales potential. You can also score the quality of individual sales conversations. Calldrip offers comprehensive call monitoring with call summaries and scorecards that make it easy to see what is working - and what's not - at the individual sales rep level and as a team. 
  • Reporting and analytics: It is critical to track performance at the marketing campaign level and per sales rep. The software provides real-time analytics and insights in easy-to-understand and shared dashboards. 
  • Integration: Choose LMS software that seamlessly integrates with your existing systems, including CRM and lead generation tools. 

What is the Best Lead Management Software?

There are plenty of software solutions to choose from. The best one for your team will depend on your sales processes and goals. Remember that lead management software is more than a CRM or an email service provider. For example, HubSpot and Salesforce include a suite of sales management solutions that include CRM and email. Yet, even these solutions lack key lead management tools like automated lead response. Most times, you need several technologies for a complete lead management system.

Calldrip can be a valuable part of your lead management system. Our comprehensive conversational sales enablement solution includes:

  • Web chat widgets that convert website visitor inquiries to phone calls and text messages.
  • Business text messaging includes automated lead nurturing and shared inboxes for one-on-one prospect conversations.
  • Automated rapid lead response via phone and text so you connect with leads at the moment they express interest.
  • AI-driven sales assistants, so you can be responsive 24/7/365 with an on-brand conversation and natural conversational interactions.
  • Call tracking provides visibility and analytics into call sources and call outcomes. 
  • Sales coaching software that allows sales leaders to continuously measure, monitor, and improve team sales performance. 

How Does a CRM Support Lead Management?

Your CRM system plays a crucial role in supporting lead management. It provides a centralized platform that streamlines and optimizes various aspects of the lead lifecycle. It also stores all critical customer information and the steps your team takes in converting each lead. Here's how a CRM supports the lead management process. 

  • Data Entry: Input and store all lead information accurately and consistently. 
  • Response Tracking: Track all communication and interaction with each prospect. 
  • Lead Scoring: Many CRM systems include built-in scoring tools to prioritize leads. 
  • Team Transparency: A shared CRM lets your team see what's happening with all leads and pick up the slack when needed.
  • Workflow Automation: A CRM can enable automated drip campaigns and follow-ups when integrated with other lead response or marketing solutions.
  • Reporting and Analytics: A good CRM will help you track progress and measure campaign and sales team effectiveness.

We want to be very clear here. Very few digital tools include all of the functionality you need for successful lead management. Even market giants like HubSpot and Salesforce don't have automated lead response or AI sales assistants. Chances are, you will need to leverage multiple technologies for your lead management system.

Best Practices for Sales Lead Management

If you want to deploy a strategic approach to nurture and convert leads, here are some best practice tips to get started. 

  • Capture Every Lead: This seems self-evident, but the data says otherwise. Don't let a single lead slip through the cracks.
  • Target a 5-minute (or Less) Lead Response time: Conversion rates are 8x higher if you respond to a lead inquiry within 5 minutes.
  • Personalize Communication: 80% of consumers say they are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalized experiences. It's essential to meet prospects where they are and address their individual needs, concerns, and interests. 
  • Segment Your Audience: Tailor marketing messages for different lead groups to enhance the quality of leads. In general, segmentation can help you increase your conversion rate by up to 50% and reduce marketing costs by up to 30%.
  • Track and Analyze Data: Data analytics provides actionable insights into lead behavior, individual sales interactions, and customer preferences. By tracking KPIs, such as conversion rates, lead velocity, and engagement metrics, you can make informed decisions based on data-driven evidence.
  • Use AI and Automation. These transformative technologies can free up time and resources for high-value tasks. They enhance team efficiency, prospect interactions, and overall team performance.
  • Collaborate with Marketing: When sales and marketing align, you share common goals and objectives. This alignment ensures that both teams work toward the same outcomes, including more qualified lead generation. Collaborative efforts lead to a clear and agreed-upon definition of a qualified lead. Marketing understands your sales team's criteria for effective lead conversion, streamlining the lead handoff process.

Lead management is important to the success of your sales team. Start building your lead management process today with a comprehensive conversational sales enablement solution like Calldrip. With Calldrip, your team can achieve all the best practices above in record time. See for yourself! 

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