5 Steps to a Lead Management Process

Lead management processes are on an entirely different level than they used to be, with manual lead distribution all but falling by the wayside. Today we have tools that do far more than your first CRM system ever did, including customer segmentation, lead assignment, lead mapping and automation of many tasks that used to have to be done manually.

But lead management software must use intelligence to manage leads as well as an outstanding sales rep would do– and having a well-defined lead management process brings it all together. You need to be able to find leads readily, route leads efficiently and to manage them with skill, so none fall through the cracks. But before you do any of that, it’s important to ensure that your sales team itself adheres to important best practices.

Sales teams that excel understand how to combine the best lead management process with the best technology.

Begin with Best Practices

Experience can tell you quite a bit about the patterns that your lead management process should take in your organization. Knowing which tasks are considered routine and non-routine is a good start, as is understanding the typical steps lead nurturing takes when it results in sales.

1) Lead Responsiveness

One of the most important tactics your Sales Development team has is responsiveness. This isn’t just limited to Inbound leads; It’s also true of Outbound leads contacted through email, social channels or phone. Truth is– sales development is an interruption-driven discipline. Would-be buyers want immediate attention, a call-back, an email response, a real-time chat, or a meeting that happens yesterday. Responsiveness matters in your lead management process:

A Customer Experience Survey from the Interactive Intelligence Group identified the most valued attributes for client interaction. “A timely response” ranked higher than attributes such as professionalism or knowledge.

A Harvard Business Review (HBR) study of 2,241 US firms found the state of enterprise sales leads to be abysmal:

HBR Study
  • Nearly half (47%) of sales teams responded slower than 24 hours or not at all to leads. * The average lead response time for B2B companies was 42 hours

* A mere 37% of companies responded to their leads within an hour

Unsurprisingly, when correlated with success, the faster the firm, the better the results. Woody Allen famously said, “80 percent of success is showing up.” With lead management, we’d add that showing up faster than expected is even more important.

2) Source Intelligence About Your Leads

Having access to company and contact data on leads– all in one place– is critical. This should include information about company size, revenue, and employee count; Contact details should include prior communications or interactions (contact history), as well as basic information like a picture– so you have an idea of whom it is you’re talking to. Advanced information can include News, Alerts or Headlines, as well as Technology profile information.

This information enables sales development reps to build rapport, and interact with intelligence. This produces better outcomes for the buyer. Tools like KiteDesk FIND are designed to generate this information, on-demand.

3) Segmentation Matters

2016 Bridge Group Survey

To achieve responsiveness and intelligence, the best practice for your lead management process is to segment leads. According to The Bridge Group research, Geographic-based routing is most common, followed by Named Accounts and Round Robin:

Smart systems like KiteDesk FLOW enable the assignment and routing of leads, either manually or with triggers– for either Inbound or Outbound generated leads.

4) Nurturing & Follow-Up Matters

Lead nurturing should be personalized and responsive, with a pre-defined sequence being ideal. It’s not only responsiveness in your lead management process but the adherence to multiple touches that pays off in creating qualified opportunities and ultimately Closed Won business.

The sales team itself should be cross-functional, communicative, and supported by a strong tool that enables them to adhere to a process that never lets follow-ups be missed.

The best way to avoid becoming part of these statistics is to use a platform like KiteDesk FLOW that enables sales teams to set sequences of interactions and establish follow-up communications at specific intervals– with specific messages.

5) Track & Measure to Improve

“If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Improve It.” -Peter Drucker

This sage advice is decades old, and as true today as when first quoted.

The best case scenario is to have an event-based lead tracking / analytics platform like KiteDesk FLOW to monitor all sales development activity without requiring sales development reps to log those actions themselves. This gives a better way to optimize each activity going forward.

Bonus: You Can’t Manage Leads You Can’t Find

Outdated lists can’t do what today’s dynamic sales team requires. Finding leads across the web, and then obtaining validated contact information and social profiles are the most effective ways to identify and qualify leads.

KiteDesk FIND is a web app and Chrome extension that goes with you wherever you go on the web so you can harvest leads from anywhere. It then helps you create lead lists with validated phone numbers, emails, and social media contact information. KiteDesk FIND also includes powerful tools like Ideal Customer Profile generators, account-based prospecting, and a convenient prospects screen for centralizing and organizing outbound lead generation.

With these best practices in place, you can be confident the technology you choose will have the optimum environment in which to work.

Other Critical Factors to Making Lead Management Processes Effective

The sales process will always involve a number of routine tasks, but when these tasks (or parts of them) can be automated, time savings accumulate and sales team members can spend more time on nurturing leads and moving them through the sales pipeline.

For example, suppose your lead management solution provides you with trustworthy phone numbers for prospects. Without a one-click dialer, you’re spending several more seconds placing each call than you could be. It doesn’t sound like much, but over time those seconds add up to a significant amount of time. When all team members have access to tools that automate manual, repetitive tasks, more energy can be devoted to sales.

Automation lets your team focus on moving prospects through the sales pipeline.

Customer-facing support is important, but so is operational and administrative support. While this might seem like an area in which the team can be trimmed, having outstanding operational and administrative support is an investment that pays off, particularly when personnel are equipped with technology and tools that allow them to do their jobs with maximum efficiency and minimal hassle.
 Additionally, analysis has shown that having a non-manager to manager ratio that’s too high or too low can be detrimental too. In higher performing companies, the ratio of non-managers to managers is around 8:1, whereas poorer performers have ratios higher than 10:1 or lower than 5:1.

KiteDesk FLOW takes the benefits of KiteDesk FIND and amplifies them by automatically setting out prioritized task lists and helping sales team members use their time in ways that will get the best return on investment. KiteDesk FLOW uses advanced analytics to determine what gets the best results in your organization and fine-tunes automation and prioritization activities for maximum results. In other words, FLOW is the orchestra conductor that keeps everyone in tune and in step, at every step.

Go ahead and contact us at any time so that we can tell you more about how KiteDesk FIND and KiteDesk FLOW. Learn how we can help you identify, nurture, and manage leads, moving prospects predictably through your lead management process.

Photo credit courtesy Daryan Shamkhali

Originally published at www.kitedesk.com on October 12, 2016.