CRM Lead Management Software
When to Invest in Lead Management Software
There are some stark statistics that B2B marketers need to consider seriously. According to InsideSales.com, 35-50% of B2B sales go to the vendor who responds first, showing there’s a definite reward for being fast on your feet. Also, while MarketingSherpa’s research shows 61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to sales, only 27% of those leads are qualified. As a result of this lack of qualification and other lead mismanagement issues, 79% of leads never convert into sales.
Meanwhile, B2B marketers struggle on a non-stop treadmill of lead generation. All of which makes you think—perhaps they would be better off investing less energy filling their sales funnels and more time managing leads to ensure higher conversion rates.
What Is Lead Management?
So, what can you do to manage leads better, ensuring that more of them make it through the funnel and turn into sales?
Every customer in your fold today started as a lead and progressed through your sales cycle. First, they became marketing qualified leads worth nurturing. Then, they transformed into sales qualified leads that were ready for a sales call. Once in the hands of the sales team, they moved onto the demo or proposal phase before closing the deal.
You need to manage that sales cycle. When doing so, bear in mind that the sales cycle is your internal view of the lead’s progress through your sales funnel. It’s not the same as the buyer’s journey, which viewed through the eyes of your customers is their process of learning about options and beginning a relationship with you.
The buyer’s journey starts with buyers identifying problems they need to solve. They conduct research to determine the category of products or services that might help. Digging further, they find offerings they should consider. Then, they contact those companies. By the time they get in touch with a vendor, buyers have done a lot of work. At that point, it’s up to each company they are in touch with to steer them to a decision. That does not, however, mean it’s time to send out a sales person…although it may be. Sometimes, a series of emails is what prospects need to further their education.
Before leads make contact, you need a plan that spells out how you will handle each lead based on various considerations. The plan needs to take both the sales cycle and buyer’s journey into account. For example, if a prospect is far along in the buying cycle when they first contact you, they may be ready for a sales call. If, on the other hand, they are in the initial research stages, nurturing the lead with emails is likely to work better.
As you can see, lead management is the process you develop that determines how you will handle a lead from receipt to customer conversion.
What Is Lead Management Software?
Because lead management is complicated and time is of the essence, you need to systematize it. Automation ensures you handle leads consistently, and nothing falls through the cracks. Lead management software enables you to do that.
Some companies cobble together a lead management system using different types of software packages, such as lead tracking and email marketing software. Most enterprises and successful organizations, however, use a Customer Relationship Management system. This system gives them visibility to all leads from the time they receive them through their entire relationship with the company. It provides a cohesive system to support an excellent experience through the sales cycle and the life of the customer with the business.
9 Signs You Need Lead Management
Do you need lead management? If your company suffers any of the symptoms below, the answer is probably “yes.”
#1 You’re losing leads
Leads are leaking out of your sales pipeline with a low percentage transforming into sales.
According to Ken Krogue, a study by InsideSales.com revealed that companies never call 36% of their leads. That means companies are spending large chunks of their marketing budgets to generate leads without ensuring there is a systematic process for follow-up. They may as well put the money in a shredder.
#2 You’re way too slow
Think about the times when you’ve contacted a company about one of their products. When you do, you’re taking action because the issue is on your mind at that moment. But life moves on, and soon you’re on to the next priority. This phenomenon helps to explain research that has shown that the odds of qualifying a lead in five minutes versus 30 minutes drop by 21 times! And yet, InsideSales.com reports that the average response time in B2B sales is 42 hours.
#3 You’re not nurturing your leads
When you first receive leads, the majority of them will fall into the category of “not-ready-yet.” While most of them will buy some day, either from you or a competitor, they need time and often more education. By nurturing leads with e-mails and informative content, you deepen their relationship with your organization, build trust and help them to frame the solution around your offering.
#4 Your leads are getting cold
A salesperson’s schedule should not dictate when you respond to a lead. There is no excuse for a lead going cold just because a rep is out of the office.
#5 You aren’t qualifying your leads properly
In a well-functioning sales funnel, there are checks all along the way to ensure you respond in the right way to each lead without wasting time or resources. When these checks do not exist, companies waste time and fail to maximize lead conversions.
When leads enter the funnel, not all of them are qualified for marketing follow-up. Some, for example, do not fit the demographic profile of your customers or are unlikely to have the budget for your solution. These leads should not become marketing qualified. Also, a lead should not become sales qualified until it is ready to buy.
#6 Your salespeople are wasting their time (or not) on unqualified leads
If you send unqualified leads to your sales force, they may end up squandering their time on follow-up. Even worse, and perhaps more likely, they will soon decide that all leads they receive from marketing are worthless and cease to follow up on any of them. Because they received unqualified leads in with qualified ones, they end up throwing out the good with the bad.
#7 You’re not updating lead information
If you don’t have a process for lead management, you’ll probably find that leads in your database do not reflect the latest data. Contact information may be out of date. Also, information gleaned by marketing or sales about the lead may be lost.
#8 You don’t know your best lead source or marketing program
Without lead tracking from inception through sales, you lose the intelligence about which lead source and marketing program has the highest ROI. Yes, you might know which generate the most leads, but it’s challenging to determine which sources result in the highest sales levels.
#9 You don’t know which activities are most likely to result in conversions
Which nurturing campaigns work best? Are demos converting to sales? Does conversion increase when you combine demos with lead nurturing? These are the kinds of questions you need to be able to answer to optimize your conversion rates.
The Hidden Problem with Lead Management Systems
Having read this, you probably agree with the necessity of a lead management process and related lead management software. If you’re ready to move forward, do so with care.
Remember, salespeople are on the go. They like to be spending time with customers, not doing paperwork. They often see lead management software as busy work that won’t help them close the sale. So, it’s essential that you select a system that is easy to use and works seamlessly with your existing processes. For example, if you regularly receive lists of leads, choose a system that will allow you to import spreadsheets, such as Claritysoft CRM, and then assign the leads to your team. If you select the right system for your needs, however, you can unleash the potential of your leads.