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How to Improve Your Lead Management Process

Learn effective lead management strategies and optimize your sales pipeline with our comprehensive guide. Increase conversions and boost revenue today.

As a business owner, you know that generating leads is critical to growing your business and increasing revenue.

However, managing those leads effectively is equally important to ensure a successful conversion.

Poor lead management can result in missed opportunities and lost sales. If you're struggling with lead management, it may be time to re-evaluate your marketing strategies.

But, what exactly is lead management, anyway?

Lead management works as an umbrella term for a variety of processes and methods specifically aimed at finding, gaining, converting, and building relationships with leads.

As the name implies, lead management involves managing leads. But what does that entail?

Before looking at how to improve your lead management process, you need to know a little more about what lead management is, what it isn’t, and why your business needs a lead management process, to begin with.

What is a lead management process?

What is lead management in marketing? In marketing and sales, the lead management process involves using marketing and sales tools to facilitate a prospect’s customer journey.

Lead generation

The process starts when a prospect makes the initial approach toward one of your marketing touchpoints or the top of one of your marketing funnels.

Understand that this person isn’t yet a lead.

In fact, the person may show up and leave your touchstone anonymously and without leaving behind any relevant information. However, a good lead generation strategy can often turn that prospect into a viable lead.

If the prospect fills out your forms, gives you permission to email them, or requests further information, then you gain a lead to manage.

Lead tracking and scoring

As this process continues, you will have to organize and store the lead information. In addition, you have to start monitoring what the leads do, how they interact with your business, and how likely they are to convert.

This information becomes a lead score that helps to determine the likelihood of the lead continuing on the journey or if the lead might need nurturing or an extra push toward making a decision.

Lead distribution to sales reps

Qualified leads will move on to the marketing and sales funnel. The lead management process involves figuring out if the lead will become a worthwhile opportunity.

There’s more to an efficient lead management system, but this overview can help show you what’s happening during the process.

When you multiply this process by the number of leads your marketing efforts might gain, you’ll see why a lot of lead management occurs through automated means.

That automation typically comes from lead management software or lead management CRM.

What is lead management in CRM? Many lead management solutions exist, and you can find dedicated lead management software.

However, customer relationship management (CRM) suites also contain lead management tools.

Of course, that begs the question of what is CRM lead management. You may find all these terms used interchangeably.

Lead management software deals strictly with all the aspects of managing leads at every step of your marketing and sales funnel. CRM includes lead management tools as part of a larger customer management system.

Keep this in mind if you're looking to choose a CRM or lead management solution for your business.

Why should businesses have a lead management process?

All businesses should consider the lead management system as critical and necessary. The lead management process helps businesses to keep up with their leads.

Without leads, there’s no business. Lead management plays a crucial role in optimizing lead generation strategies.

The ability to organize leads, score them, and track them at every point in their customer journey can help any business to achieve goals and grow.

As lead management entails tracking leads through every step, the information gained from the process can lead to better solutions and returns.

  • Gain more control over the growth of your business
  • Gain valuable data and insight into your lead-generating efforts
  • Make both your marketing and sales teams far more efficient
  • Improve conversion rates and increase the number of leads likely to convert

The lead management system works as a B2B and B2C solution, so it’s a necessary process that all businesses of all sizes can and should employ.

Additionally, lead management works as the cornerstone of a customer-centric brand strategy.

Still, lead management may seem like a daunting task, especially for a larger or growing business.

For this reason, modern CRM lead management software heavily use automation and other tools to streamline the process.

How can businesses improve their lead management process?

By improving your process, you can continuously grow your business. If you feel your lead management process needs improvement, try these seven best practices.

Assess your current lead management system

Before attempting to improve your lead management process, take a step back and look at how it’s currently performing for your business. Look for areas you would like to see improvement.

Consider if your current lead management solution has helped you achieve your business goals and objectives.

Consider if you can achieve more by using your current process or if it’s time to change your lead management process.

This assessment of your current lead management system will become especially important if you want to set and achieve larger goals that your current process simply can’t help you with.

  • Do you want to find more qualified leads?
  • Does your current process help you do that?
  • Are your leads dropping off at a particular step?
  • Can your current process account for those losses?

If your current lead management system cannot help you analyze and refine your marketing and sales efforts, then you’ve found areas of your process that require improvement.

Knowing where your process falters or fails is the first step in figuring out how to improve the process to mitigate those occurrences.

Optimize your lead generation efforts

Always seek to optimize your lead generation efforts.

Find the next information-qualified lead (IQL). You want your process to work smoothly and seamlessly.

  • Look for new sources of leads
  • Test new lead magnets
  • Keep fine-tuning that landing page
  • Add new marketing and promotional channels

Look at what works, what doesn’t work, and what lead generation methods might work with a little more optimization.

A good way to optimize lead generation comes from looking at where your leads come from and how they found your promotional message.

Was it a click from a social media site? Did a paid ad get them there? Did they find your business through a blog or someone’s review online?

Looking at the origins of your leads can help you optimize your marketing teams' efforts to increase your lead generation from specific sectors.

You will discover that what works best with one platform may not translate well to another platform. With that knowledge, you can optimize your lead-generation efforts on multiple fronts.

Streamline lead qualifications

Do you know which leads will likely convert? What is it about the lead that makes them a sales-qualified lead (SQL)?

Take the aspects of the lead that make them most likely to convert and give those aspects individual point values.

Tally the points and you’ll have a lead score. You can use lead scoring to streamline lead qualifications so that marketing or sales teams can give the highest priority to leads that have the best likelihood of converting. Sales will appreciate having leads they can more easily work with.

If your CRM or lead management system includes scoring or lead qualification tools, then take full advantage of them.

Enhance your lead nurturing strategy

Are you seeing results from your current lead nurturing strategy? Do you have a lead nurturing strategy?

Some leads, especially those that fall into the category of a marketing-qualified lead (MQL), aren’t quite ready to take the next step. These warm leads require nurturing.

Nurturing requires more personalization, more education, and stronger relationships with leads who take the next step.

Nevertheless, you still need to focus on your SQLs. So, make use of automated lead nurturing campaigns that can keep warm leads interested while moving them closer to the next step.

Understand that automated doesn’t mean impersonal or generic. You want to nurture leads by demonstrating the value you offer to that lead specifically.

Lead management software can help you with both personalization and automation. Use the right tools to create lead nurture campaigns that enhance your lead nurturing strategy.

Prioritize lead conversion

Is conversion your top priority? If your lead management process involves a lot of actions not geared toward conversion, then it’s time to rethink your strategy.

Use your quantitative and qualitative data to figure out what’s stopping users from converting.

Maybe you need to tweak your sales scripts to make them more effective. Maybe you need to make use of tested lead conversion strategies.

Do you prioritize your landing page? You should. Have you tried A/B testing to see if a slightly different approach improves your lead conversion rates?

Prioritizing lead conversion will help you stay focused and dedicated to the goals of the business.

You will cut out a lot of unnecessary actions from your lead management system because you will have a very clear goal and more of a willingness to do what’s necessary to achieve that goal.

Frequently evaluate metrics and adapt accordingly

Frequently use your tracking data. The lead management metrics you collect tell a story and you should pay close attention to it.

Use reporting tools to see where your lead management system excels and where it falters.

You can lean into the things that work best while analyzing the faults of the campaigns that aren’t doing too well. You will improve your lead management system in multiple ways by virtue of defining the metrics you want to track and using them to improve your strategy.

Choose quality over quantity every time

With lead management, you should always seek quality over quantity.

That one lead that will most likely convert holds far more value than a hundred random people that only have a passing interest in what your business offers.

Your lead management process should work toward finding the most qualified leads for your business. If that’s not happening, take another look at some of these best practices and figure out how to make your lead management system more effective.

Your lead management system plays an important role in your overall marketing and sales efforts. However, lead management requires the right tools and services to give your business the best chance to succeed.

Mailchimp offers audience management and marketing CRM tools that can help businesses small and large find, manage, and nurture the highly qualified leads they need.

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