Take a moment to think about your strategy for managing sales leads. Is it a systematic and thorough process, leading to big sales and loyal customers? Or are you unsure whether you have a lead management strategy at all?
Sales lead management is one of the most vital aspects of business, having a direct impact on your company’s bottom line. But if you’re going off intuition alone, it can be hard to know how and where to focus your efforts. Are some potential customers slipping through your fingers? Which leads are going to bring you the most value? How can you nurture your prospects to ensure they make a purchase?
If you aren’t using the right lead management techniques and tools, you may not be capturing all of the potential revenue available to you. In this article, we’ll look at some of the most common lead management mistakes made by business owners, sales reps and marketers, along with some tips for moving forward.
1. Failing to utilize lead management tools
The more disorganized your leads are, the more likely you are to miss out on sales. Businesses will often attempt to track leads using their existing tools and resources. However, these solutions are rarely designed to manage leads effectively. If you’re jotting down information on Post-It notes, some of your leads will likely slip through the cracks — figuratively or literally. Meanwhile, using Excel or your accounting software doesn’t give you the functionality you need to properly score and follow up with your leads.
In contrast, lead management software offers everything a business needs within a single platform. These software solutions allow you to capture leads through your website, track huge amounts of data, and easily see which prospects you’ve connected with and which ones require follow-up. With all of your leads consolidated in a single system, it’s easier to stay on top of potential sales.
2. Trying to purchase leads
When you’re just starting out, buying lists of leads may seem like a good time-saving strategy. However, the leads that are truly valuable for your business aren’t going to be a dime a dozen. In reality, trying to purchase leads often means collecting outdated, irrelevant email addresses that are a waste of time to pursue. You’ll be much better off in the long run if you work on acquiring qualified leads slowly and organically.
3. Missing opportunities to collect leads
Nearly everything you do is an opportunity to connect with potential buyers. Whether you’re attending a conference or writing a blog post, you should always be thinking about how to collect contact information. Keep business cards on hand when meeting new people, or suggest connecting on LinkedIn right then and there. When producing digital content, ensure it contains a prominent call-to-action for interested readers to get in touch with your business.
4. Neglecting your social media
With approximately three billion people around the world using social platforms, social media now accounts for a significant amount of lead generation. Even better, it often results in passive lead generation: potential customers can take the initiative to discover and interact with your business, rather than you pursuing them. Take advantage of this massive pool of leads by regularly posting new, engaging content on your company’s social media accounts.
5. Not tracking how your leads are generated
Where are your leads coming from? Maybe you’re doing a great job of connecting with people at networking events, but your website is receiving minimal traffic. If you aren’t tracking the sources of your leads, you don’t know which of your marketing efforts are working and which ones need to be revamped.
Lead management software makes it easier for you to track this data and identify your most valuable lead sources. You can even run reports to determine how your lead acquisition has changed over time. As you learn more about what works and what doesn’t, you can focus your time and money on the strategies that are most likely to yield valuable prospects.
6. Failing to properly prioritize your leads
The Pareto Principle (or 80/20 rule) is a general guideline stating that 80% of all results come from 20% of all effort. In sales, this often means that 80% of your revenue will come from 20% of your leads.
Prioritizing your leads is about effectively determining which prospects are going to yield the greatest results and putting as much effort as possible into closing these high-priority sales. Every business will have its own scoring system, but some common factors to consider include whether the lead has made past purchases, which products or services they’re interested in, and how receptive they’ve been to your sales efforts.
7. Not making multiple connections
Leads are more likely to become customers if they engage with your business multiple times. After all, the more you speak to an individual, the more opportunities you have to discuss benefits and answer questions. And if you’re having trouble connecting through one communication channel, it’s always worth trying another. The lead who is too busy to pick up your calls may be more than happy to have a conversation about their needs over email.
8. Forgetting your A/B testing
A/B testing is a common strategy in email marketing in which you compare the performance of two email campaigns to determine which version is most effective. However, you can also conduct similar tests for the purposes of lead management. For example, you might compare the response rates for two versions of a follow-up email, or the pickup rates for phone calls made at two different times of day. Such tests can help you identify the most effective and profitable lead management techniques. Keep in mind that these techniques may change over time, so A/B testing should be an iterative process.
9. Dropping leads altogether
It’s easy to forget about cold leads, especially if they haven’t responded to any of your messages. However, a cold lead is still a lead. Even if an individual has been reluctant to convert, they shouldn’t be dropped altogether unless they’ve specifically requested it. Someone who was vaguely interested in your product a year ago may simply have been too busy to go through the purchase process; they could very well be ready to purchase now.
Lead management software offers a convenient solution for tracking all of your leads, even those that never panned out. You can always schedule reminders for yourself to reconnect with these individuals later, with the hope of better results.
Ultimately, the biggest lead management mistake you can make is to not put any effort into managing your leads. But even if you have a process in place, there’s always room for you to assess and improve your methods. There is no “one size fits all” solution for optimal lead management; each business has to develop a strategy that works for them. Luckily, using some tried-and-true tips and the right software makes it easier to do just that.
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