Introduction to Improving Your Lead Management
Taking care of all your business contacts can seem like a huge task, especially if you’re a small business with plenty of other things to do. But lead management—i.e. the monitoring of contacts throughout the sales process—can be hugely successful if done correctly.
This success is reliant on a few factors, not least being the amount of effort you put in. Lead management is like anything else, in that respect; what you get out of it is what you put into it.
Yet having a lead management process, or tool, isn’t enough. Small businesses can sometimes find themselves swamped by having the wrong CRM software that asks too much. This causes leads to fall to the wayside, which means missed opportunities for sales.
The Three Principles of Lead Management
In running a successful lead management process, it helps never to lose sight of three principles: the acknowledging, the adapting, and the nurturing. Acknowledging requires you to take stock of who’s who in your contact list, why they’re still in your database, and using that knowledge to your benefit. The adapting asks you to work with the lead, and prepare for different outcomes. Finally, the nurturing focuses on how you can put them through your sales process, combining your marketing and your knowledge of the lead to make them a prospect, and then a customer.
Working Smarter, Not Harder: 8 Tips
Giving your leads your attention will pay dividends—but there’s a difference between working smarter and working harder. So how do you know what’s working? We’ve provided 8 tips for small businesses so you can check if your lead management process is working for you.
1. Focus on the Individual
For your lead to join you on your sales process, it’s vital that you see them as more than just a name. Find out what you can about the lead, what they’re interested in, what they’re going to respond to. If you treat every lead as an individual, it will dramatically improve the potential of a sale the further up the process you get. Your conversations, whether face-to-face, online or on the phone, will be vastly improved as the lead will appreciate your relatability. It also diversifies the conversations you have, which can’t be bad a thing!
We cover this topic—and how to implement it throughout all your marketing—in our PRM NOW series. If you’re interested, you can find out more about it here.
2. Keep Your Database Manageable
Make sure the database you’re working with is actually working. Have a regular inspection of your database so you can prune the outliers: duplicate addresses, accounts that no longer exist, or people that are definitely not interested. After all, spending time sending marketing materials to dud accounts is simply a waste of your time and money.
3. Segment Your Contacts in Your CRM
Make your business life easier and your future self happy by segmenting your contact lists. Tagging your contacts based on who they are, what they’re doing, and what they’d be interested in, will give you a clearer look at your lead management and provide a fantastic basis for your next actions.
4. Target Your Leads
Using your segmentation to more narrowly define who needs what will give you direction for your future marketing efforts. Your leads will receive marketing that they’re much more likely to be interested in, instead of generic marketing they can easily ignore. Otherwise, you might be sending completely irrelevant marketing to the wrong people, turning them off your business.
5. Stay Consistent
There’s nothing worse for lead management than forgetting about a good lead. It may take a while—or even longer—but leads need to remember you exist; whatever the timespan may be, you can only do that by being present. If you’re planning ahead on your marketing, you’re less likely to be inconsistent.
7. Keep Your Lead Management Adaptable
Consistency is important, but not at the cost of what the lead wants. They’re human; they’re not always going to follow the set process you’ve planned. But when a lead changes their mind, you have to change with them. Lead management therefore requires you to be reactive; if you ignore the signs, don’t be surprised if your lead pushes you away.
6. Save Time For Better Lead Management Results
Dedicating the right amount of time to specific tasks is an essential part of working smarter, not harder. If you’re finding that lead management takes too much out of your day, try and zero in on what’s holding you back. Is the process inefficient? Are you trawling through too much data? There are ways to be just as successful whilst spending less time; segmenting and automation go a long way towards that.
8. Keep Your Lead Management Clear and Simple
At the end of the day, you need to know what you’re doing, how you’re going to implement it, and who it will be going to. Set yourself realistic goals, and keep your communication clear and simple—both with yourself, and with your leads. If they can understand your direction, they’re more likely to take the journey with you. Similarly, if you’re confusing yourself with how much you need to do, take a step back and simplify the process; you’ll perform better when you’re not distracted.