Ah, Spring—when April showers bring May flowers, and when leads from tradeshows and conferences rain down upon sales and marketing teams. But, as any good gardener or marketer will tell you, it takes more than rain—metaphorical or otherwise—to grow anything. Turning leads into revenue-building conversions takes effective cultivation. Read on for six steps to make your lead management more effective.
1. Create a sales and marketing hybrid team.
Far too often, marketing and sales teams operate in silos—a practice that can result in lower quality leads. To avoid this problem, get key people from your marketing and sales teams to meet regularly—weekly if possible. Ask the sales team for feedback—are the leads coming their way well educated? Are the leads asking very similar questions that could be better addressed by marketing content? By communicating and building a co-team, your marketing efforts will become more focused, your leads will be more qualified, and you’ll have a better, more effective working relationship between both departments.
2. Collect the right data.
Using the shared customer insights from your hybrid sales/marketing team, determine what data your online contact forms need to collect in order to channel and nurture leads. If your sales team is split into sub-teams that represent different industries, tiers, or products, or that focus on different geographical locations, make sure you’re collecting that information. Use A/B testing of landing pages to see which fields are driving the most qualified leads to the correct sales reps, and to make customer journeys more direct.
3. Score & tag leads.
After the form is submitted, the call made, or the email sent, make a note of what’s good about a lead, what’s missing, or how they might be served in the future. Score and tag them: thumbs up or down, four out of five stars, B+ or D, whatever system works for you. The point is to add any applicable new info you can to the data already collected. This will help your sales team know which leads are close to conversion, or who the tire-kickers are, so that they can concentrate on the leads that are ripe.
Not every lead is ready to buy. Some haven’t grown into your products yet, or need an existing service contract to expire before making a move. Targeting these prospects with drip campaigns, meaning occasionally “dripping” a little content their way, can keep you in mind without a large effort on your part—and without pushing them away with a hard sell. Establishing your business as a leader in their industry will pay off over time.
5. Employ tools.
There are plenty of tools available to help marketing and sales coordinate and manage their leads. In fact, it’s likely that your existing CRM has some features that can help you generate and manage leads. Whatever you use, make sure it captures all the data you need at every point in the customer journey, can help you tag and score leads, and arms your sales team as well as your marketing team with everything they need to turn a lead into a conversion.
6. Don’t neglect call tracking.
Many marketers feel like they know their sales funnel inside and out, when in reality they are blind to an entire—and vital—sales channel: phone calls. Call tracking can be a critical addition to your lead management toolbox. Not only does it help with call attribution and lead management, but it also integrates with other analytics and customer management tools, giving you a complete picture of your leads—as they travel online and offline.
It can feel tempting to dance when the leads rain down, but cultivating your lead management strategy can ensure that the leads you get are top-quality and likely to convert—and that will matter even more in times of drought. Remember that your marketing and sales teams need data and need to be coordinated. Keep this in mind as you continue to fine-tune your lead management strategy and you’re sure to improve your lead generation—all year ‘round.
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