A sales lead shouldn’t be considered a sale prospect. In fact, it’s just the first step in the whole sales process. Any company can get leads but in order to turn them into actual revenue, one need to effectively manage, track and develop the relationship with them that is to organize sales leads. The process of organizing sales leads creation consists of several steps:
- Developing a concrete definition of a sales lead.
- Creating strategy for Lead generation.
- Creating offers for different stages of the sales cycle.
- Nurturing sales leads.
- Identifying and qualifying potential sales leads.
- Tracking sales leads.
- Obtaining efficient software.
- Distributing sales leads quickly.
- Organizing team meeting.
Developing a clear definition of a sales leads and creating and ideal customer profile
The most common misunderstanding between sales and the rest of the company occurs because of an ambiguous definition of a sale lead and the very process of turning a prospect into a lead. Near 90 percent of leads are sent to sales staff not being ready to deal with a salesperson, which inevitably leads to losing a client. One should understand that a term “sale lead” is a person with a particular reason, interest and/or need to buy a product. But even leads, who have the potential to become a prospect, can differ in value. The lead that has intention to purchase a single and/or the cheapest product is less valuable than the one who can make a big amount of purchases over a long period. Thus, for increasing the effectiveness, one should understand when a prospect becomes an actual lead ready to be forwarded to sales.
Creating a strategy for lead generation
The process of obtaining sales leads starts with lead generation. Lead generation is a process of attracting possible leads and converting them into prospects. There are different ways to generate sales leads:
- Customer referrals. You can get referrals made by satisfied customers.
- Producing useful content. Companies that provide educational or informative content, by offering prospects helpful information in the form of eBooks, blogs, whitepapers, will by no means win their trust and their business and, therefore, generate leads earlier in the buying process.
- Hosting or participating in conferences, webinars, industry events and trade shows. Speaking at such events gives company’s product/ service recognition and separates it from other vendors or service providers.
- Integrate social media. By monitoring and keeping track of the followers of company’s social media you can have a possibility to see who is using or talking about your product/service on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
- Getting lead generation tools which will help you to view how many people visit your website every day and even to get to know their names and email addresses with the help of hello bars, pop-ups or slide-in. As a result, it will turn your website visitors into leads immediately.
- Purchasing lead list. Companies may buy sales leads list from lead generation companies which maintain a database of consumer leads.
Keep in mind that lead generation takes time but if it is successfully managed, it will bring numerous sales leads and produce long-term results.
Creating offers for different stages of the sales cycle
Make sure that you create offers for different stages of sales cycle whether it is a person who wants just to see a demo of your product but not ready yet to talk to your sales team or someone who is at the beginning of the buyer's journey being already familiar with your product/ service and is interested in a free trial. Even though it takes time to create valuable content which will help and nurtures your leads, but if you don't offer anything to visitors who aren't ready to buy, then they may never come back to your website. You may try to use smart CTAs on your web pages and blog posts. Smart CTAs (a Call-to-Action is a link or button that you place on your website to drive prospective customers to convert to leads through landing page forms) detect where a web visitor is in the buying cycle, whether they're a new visitor, a lead, or a customer and change accordingly.
Nurturing sales leads
Probably not all people are ready to buy directly after their first interaction with you. That is why leads that have not fully passed the stage of becoming qualified need to be nurtured by the marketing organization. You have to develop such a campaign with the help of which you will be able to connect with your prospect multiple times and, move them through sales cycle until they are ready to purchase.
Identifying and qualifying potential sales leads
Identifying and qualifying a potential sales lead is one of the most important keys to success in sales. This process means understanding your product/ service and customer market well enough to know whether someone is a good fit for your product or not. In other words, it’s evaluating the readiness, willingness and ability of a lead to buy a product/service. Thus, before you try to call and pitch a sales leads, you should take time and make research about them, their business, market, the size of their company, geography, needs etc. Identifying and qualifying a potential sales lead is very crucial and it will help you with the next points:
- You will not waste time on a prospect that will never buy.
- If you qualify a lead correctly, you will know what to expect from him/her and what the deal size will be.
- You will not close the deals, that can have a really damaging effect not only on your career but also your company (people can write a bad feedback about your product or ask for a refund).
- You will know who your real target is.
- You will understand how to sell them because you have already qualified them to the degree where you already have understanding of what kind of organization/person they are and how your product can solve customer's pain.
Tracking sales leads
In order to determine what works and what doesn’t, you should capture the source of the lead. Lead tracking or Lead management is a process of following up with the prospect who has expressed interest in a product/service. Why we need to track leads:
- By tracking leads you will have better understanding which tactics bring the best leads
- You will be able to optimize sale strategies for being efficient and effective.
- As lead management records a lead’s history of interaction, it allows you to analyze how a prospect was converted to a lead and, later, to a customer.
Now when we know why to track sales leads, let’s discuss how to track them.
- Be organized. Always keep your sales leads organized by using tracking software.
- Define your expectation and be mobile. By giving your salespeople 24/7 access to your CRM, you will have a possibility to have each lead updated. Make sure that your team knows what you expect from them. Besides, you should always clarify with your team how to qualify leads and how to move them through the sales cycle.
- Use database and follow up. It is well-known fact that sales process is a number game. That is why it is a bad idea to rely on your memory while tracking your leads. For this purpose, you need to have a reliable database. Remember, the more people you contact, the more responses you will have.
- Use tracking software for efficiency and automation. As it was mentioned above, it helps your team not only to be on the same page, collaborate and update information but also save more of their time. Use synchronization of your tracking software with your email contacts or gating forms for importing information directly and not wasting time for entering data twice.
Obtaining efficient software
You have to install, from the beginning, an effective customer relationship management (CRM) tool in order to provide your employees with a program that captures information about each and every interaction with your leads and customers. CRM allows your team to be more efficient. In addition, management has the possibility to know which stage each lead is in at any point of time, who is working on each lead and how long each individual has been in the pipeline. Simultaneously, each member of a sale team can quickly share information and provide updates. This greatly simplifies collaboration resulting in more deals closed. Thus, CRM lead management system:
- develop consistent sales processes;
- ensure accuracy and reduce data entry;
- increase speed of lead qualification (the reports from CRM shows where your best leads come from, who is the best performing sales people and how long it takes a lead to become an actual customer);
- identify which marketing tools really work, which don’t and which need to be improved.
Distributing sales leads quickly
Recent researches have shown that if you respond within 24 hours of a prospect contacting you, your rate of sales closing goes up effectively. You will distinguish yourself and your company from other competitors by quick answer. But keep in mind that your reply shouldn’t be an automated email responder but a personal phone call from a sales person. By this, you will double your chances for getting a new lead.
Organizing team meeting
Meetings with the sales staff and everyone who is involved in the process of sales should be organized on a regular basis. Such approach will help to review win/loss records, lead quality and tracking programs and improve your sales effectiveness. Besides, you need to motivate your sales people about each prospect for them to concentrate on detailed qualifying (the more information they gain, the better and easier sales results will be).
What works for one business may not work for yours. So, try to test strategies for finding the one which will be suitable for you and quit the ones that don’t work for you. Don’t be afraid to be different and create a unique system for your business that will distinguish you from others.