Lead Management – From Concept to Implementation

A successful lead management process depends on many factors, including the type of product or service you offer. There are several strategies and tactics that can be used in the CRM process, and the process itself is very flexible. It can be used in the same way as a conventional marketing strategy, or it can be used much more creative.

Most B2B marketers understand the importance of lead management, many have started the process of engaging sales in the conversation, and some have even created a lead mgmt strategy on paper. However, implementing a Lead Management process can be daunting and time-consuming, causing marketers to abandon ship before it’s complete.

Read: How to Run an Inbound Marketing Campaign?

There are three steps marketers can take to help ensure a successful implementation of leads.

Set Expectations

Lead management is the foundation of your sales and marketing processes; it is often complex and the implementation can be time-consuming. Once the strategy has been formalized, implementation ensues and can take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks depending on the complexity of your marketing and sales processes.

Components such as a two-tier sales team, channel sales, multiple scoring models, data cleansing and global implementations can affect the length of the implementation process. Even after the process is ‘live’ there is a post-deployment period in which testing, monitoring, and tweaking will be necessary.

Bluebird Strategies recommends weekly project management meetings with all key stakeholders to help all parties understand the scope of the project, state of the implementation, successes, and any issues that have been encountered. By keeping all key constituents ‘in the know’ it helps to manage expectations and set the stage for a successful lead management implementation.

Know Your Database

Understanding the standard and custom fields in your database is critical to implementing lead management. Custom fields are used to track insights along the entire lead management continuum. When implementing your lead management process, you will undoubtedly be creating new custom fields to support the process.

For example, if you are tracking a lead stage called ‘Engaged’ and you want to be able to report on this stage, it’s critical that you are flagging when a prospect enters and leaves this stage. If you do this for all lead stages, you will have the intel available to create a custom report documenting the lead flow through the entire funnel. On average, when we help clients define and implement lead management we add 20-30 custom fields to support the process.

Know Your CRM

Most often, leads CRM processes are built upon a foundation of technology that includes marketing automation integrated with CRM. Marketers are usually very intimate with their MAP, but often have limited control over the CRM system. It is vital to garner the support from sales, and sales operations to optimize the CRM system to support the lead management process.

As described above, custom fields will need to be added, but the scope goes well beyond field-level changes. Lead management implementation will require the creation of automated workflows, custom dashboards, new views, lead assignment rules, alerts and more. Be sure to understand the limitations of your current CRM edition before beginning implementation.

Recently, while implementing a lead management process we ran into a limitation on the number of custom fields available in the CRM system. Mid-implementation, the client needed to scramble to determine which fields could be repurposed. Bluebird Strategies recommends that both sales and sales operations are stakeholders in the lead mgmt strategy creation process to minimize the ‘surprises’ during implementation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between leads and sales? The terms “lead” and “sale” are often used interchangeably, but in fact, they are not the same. A lead is a potential customer who has initial contact with a company, but no sale has been made.

How do you generate leads? Generating leads is the holy grail of marketing. Your business doesn’t really exist until you’ve got something to market and run a campaign.

What is the best lead management software? If you’re a small business owner, you may be looking to improve the way you manage leads. There are good software such as Salesforce, Zoho, and Quick Base.

If you’re serious about improving your lead generation activity, then you need to be serious about lead operations, which means taking the time to set up a proper system that will help you keep track of your prospects.

What is lead management process? Lead management is the process of finding leads, monitoring all of your business’s touch points, and qualifying and engaging clients until they buy your product.

What are four main stages in lead management process? These are:

  • Sart with right tools and tech.
  • Work closely with sales.
  • Implement lead nurture
  • Track your progress.

What is lead management in CRM? Lead management is an organized process in which leads are identified, qualified, analyzed, and then nurtured in order to generate new business opportunities. In a typical sales process, leads from multiple channels enter your lead management system, and the sales-ready leads are converted into deals.

Why is lead management important? Using lead management processes allows companies to understand which marketing campaigns bring in the best leads, helping you to streamline the sales process and enhance its effectiveness and performance.

What are the 7 steps of selling? The following are 7 steps of selling:

  • Prospecting and qualifying.
  • Preparation/pre-approach.
  • Approach.
  • Presentation.
  • Overcoming objections.
  • Closing the sale.
  • Follow-up.

Global Lead Management Software Solutions Market Size, Shares, Key Players, Industry Analysis, Growth, Trends, Drivers, Challenges 2020—2028. (ksusentinel.com)

The What & Why of a Lead Management Process

Lead management here at BlueBird is all about creating “one funnel” for marketing and sales and aligning the teams around a shared process. Our clients need a new lead management process at various times:

  • When they are implementing a new marketing automation system.
  • When they are moving from a one-tier to two-tier sales structure.
  • Or most often, when they grew so quickly and didn’t have time to put a proper structure in place.

I recently saw a stat from MarketingSherpa that reveals that 69% of B2B organizations have not identified their funnel, which means as marketers, we still have a lot of work to do.

leads and marketing

Over the years we have developed a lead management workshop method that has three main goals:

1. Bring agreement around a common set of definitions (lead statuses and waterfall stages for example) and map out who is doing what, from top of funnel to opportunity close and customer engagement.  Things to think about include: at what point is marketing passing leads to sales? What are the criteria for sales to create an opportunity? When is a lead sent back to marketing for more lead nurturing?

2. Create a heuristic lead scoring model so sales and marketing will know where a lead is in their buying journey and when they are ready to have a conversation with sales. We recommend weighting later stage content more heavily than early stage content, so prospects that are further along in the buying process won’t have to wait before engaging with sales.

3. Identify what needs to be optimized in both the marketing automation and CRM systems to make the new processes work. Usually, there are new custom fields that need to be created, sales alerts to be built and workflows designed to ensure compliance to new service level agreements defined during the workshop process.

To create an effective lead management process you need commitment from the marketing and sales leaders, clear communication on why the new process is needed and comprehensive training so everyone understands what is expected of them. If you haven’t identified your funnel and created a process, now is the time.  Contact me for a discussion to see if we can help.

Conclusion

Lead management is a critical component to sales and marketing success. If you have been struggling to implement lead mgmt and would like to discuss our approach in more detail, feel free to reach out. I’d be happy to chat!

About Faheem Rafique

The author is a digital marketer who loves technology, design, marketing and online businesses. He has pretty good experience in automation, strategies, digital marketing. We can help you to manage and build brands on the web.

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