The most valuable currency in the world is attention. Gone are the days of simply competing against other businesses. Now, you’re competing against social media, WhatsApp groups, Discord masterminds and YouTube celebrities.
Ensuring that your leads are going through a well thought-out and managed process is essential to establishing your businesses authority and keeping your leads engaged. If you’re still exploring how to build a winning RevOps model and are feeling that it is very complicated and maybe a bit overwhelming, don’t worry, this whole process gets a lot smoother with a lead management system.
What Is Lead Management?
All RevOps professionals know. It all starts with leads—people or companies curious about what you're selling. They might drop a message on social media, fill out a web form, or shoot you an email.
But it's not just about getting leads; it's what you do with them. While the marketing team hunts for promising leads, the sales team plays a crucial role in turning those leads into actual customers.
Lead management is a system that helps businesses track, understand, and engage with potential customers, or "leads." It's guiding someone from just being curious about what you sell to actually buying it. Using tools or software, businesses can organize and keep a closer eye on these leads to increase their chances of making a sale.
Why? Because effective lead management doesn't just collect leads. It creates a lead management process that tracks and nurtures them, ensuring they stay interested in your offerings. And if you're aiming for more sales (and who isn't?) quality lead management software or a customer relationship management (CRM) system can supercharge that goal. If you’re already looking for software solutions, read through our article: The 12 Best Lead Management Softwares
But, let’s take a break here and remember a key piece of growing your RevOps strategy. Our modern sales and marketing systems are so heavily focused on automation, analytics, and maximizing efficiency that we often forget this important fact.
Leads are people. They’re not just metrics. People act rationally, irrationally, and tend to follow the tenets of sales psychology.
The graph below displays one of the most important reality of your prospects, leads, and customers. Only 3% are ready to buy NOW!
This reality—that barely anyone is looking to buy a solution—is exactly why lead management is so important for a RevOps team. The downstream leads are unqualified at this point: those who are aware of their problem, aware of a problem, or not aware at all; must be nurtured long-term before you can convert them into paying customers.
But, before you can manage qualified leads, you have to generate them.
Lead Generation Vs Lead Management
In essence, lead generation is the act of inviting potential customers to show interest in your product or service.
Once they express this interest, lead management takes over to guide and nurture them through the buying process. You start by generating interest and then manage that interest to achieve sales. From this standpoint your sales team can move to lead capture, the act of turning leads into customers and revenue.
Why Is Lead Management Important?
While I alluded to this before when I wrote about only 3% of people are looking for a solution now, the importance of lead management goes a lot deeper. Let’s dig into the principles below and set up some of the best practices to create a killer lead management system.
Core Principles Of Lead Management
Focus on Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
If you haven’t already discovered your ICP I’d highly recommend you stop reading this article and go do that. The tighter you get your ICP the more you’ll be able to create excited, ready to buy, inbound leads. Doesn’t that sound nice? Ready-to-buy inbound leads. THE gold standard.
My favorite questions to ask about your ICP are:
- What are their hopes, dreams, and desires?
- What does a day in your dream buyer’s life look like?
- Where do they hang out and congregate?
- What is their preferred form of communication?
If your ICP is well defined and you know they’re a big enough market for your company to actually hit projected revenue goals. Before this stage is really developed, marketing efforts will be wasted and your businesses lead generation strategy won’t be consistently successful. Then it’s time to get to work.
Enter into Conversations with Value
Sabri Suby, one the best marketers to ever have lived, really boils down this principle to one thing. Be the Godfather.
“Make ‘em an offer they can’t refuse.”
If only 3% of your ICP is ready to buy now, that means the other 97% either know they have a problem but don’t know if you’re the best choice to solve that problem OR they don’t even know if they have a problem yet.
This is where a lot of RevOps strategies falter. Marketing teams, under pressure to move MQLs to sales, go for the ‘sale’ right away. But they are trying to sell without first offering what they’re even selling. The customer journey will be disjointed resulting in poor customer experience.
A RevOps team with a good lead management strategy will use this stage of the pipeline to only highlight potential transformation. Once the lead understands your business can offer the transformation they’re looking for, then deeper engagement and management of the lead can start.
Don’t Rush from Capture to Close
A common issue with over-eager RevOps teams is the move to try to close a lead right as they’re captured. Capture is essential but not more than having the lead communicate their problems/gaps and then having them enter the nurturing process.
The primary objective of lead capturing is to gather enough information about a potential customer to allow for personalized and targeted marketing efforts, ultimately aiming to guide them through the sales funnel until they make a purchase.
Qualify, Score and Segment Your Leads
Remember, leads are not just statistics or analytics data points. They’re people with unique perspectives and they represent unique companies which have completely different systems and requirements for purchasing.
As a lead realizes transformation of their challenges is possible, they’ll start engaging with your organization on a more regular basis. This is where a good CRM tied into a well-structured sales process will be capturing their touchpoints and categorizing the lead with specific, pre-set scores. Some examples of segmentation are:
- Demographics: Group by age, gender, job title, industry, or geographic location.
- Behavioral: Categorize leads based on their interactions with your website, content preferences, purchase history, etc.
- Source: Group leads based on where they came from, e.g., social media, email campaigns, webinars, or organic search.
- Engagement Level: Segment leads by their activity levels, such as highly engaged, moderately engaged, or inactive.
- Sales stage: Segment based on where they are in the buying process: awareness, consideration, or decision stage.
Create a Lead Nurture Plan
Once you’ve set up the characteristics of your ICP and have started lead scoring, it is time to start developing the relationships you’ll need to make long-term revenue. Lead nurturing is a strategic process that involves building relationships with potential customers at every stage of the sales funnel.
This follow up process is often labor intensive. But, don’t let that deter you. In 2023, many marketing automation systems exist that will take new leads through a nurturing program right to a sales rep.
Here is a sample plan overview that can be used as a foundational template and should be further built upon.
- Welcome Engagement
- Send a welcome email.
- Introduce brand values.
- Deliver Value
- Provide authoritative content.
- Offer instructional materials.
- Maintain Consistent Communication
- Regular, tailored communication.
- Space out interactions appropriately.
- Solicit Feedback
- Use feedback forms.
- Incorporate quick polls.
- Exclusive Offers
- Offer subscriber-only discounts.
- Provide early product access.
- Drive Towards Conversion
- Present limited-time offers.
- Share success stories and testimonials.
- Manage Attrition
- Respectfully handle unsubscribes.
- Seek feedback for improvement.
Lead nurturing is similar to dating; it requires patience, listening, and understanding. By following this plan, you'll foster genuine relationships with potential customers, guiding them organically through the decision-making process. Real relationships ultimately create high-quality experiences and convert leads.
Additional Lead Management Tips And Best Practices
Making Data a Priority: Attrition and Cleaning Your Lead Lists
I’ve worked with many businesses that are way too focused on the size of their email lists and that it continues to grow. The quality of the leads on that list is far more important than the size of the list, from two points.
- If a person in your campaign can’t find relevant information, they’ll be looking to unsubscribe from your sequences. If a lead can’t unsubscribe easily, they’ll be quickly frustrated and mark your emails as spam. If you want to continue delivering emails to your leads, prospects, and customers, you really want to limit the amount of spam hit against your business.
- I haven’t found a single email marketing system (EMS) that doesn’t charge hefty monthly fees for large email lists. If x% of your list is totally unengaged and not within your ICP, you’re literally throwing money away.
A well-structured system of data prioritization can offer valuable insights into future sales trends. In essence, understanding each piece of data within the sales funnel can significantly optimize sales strategies and yield better ROI.
Use a Lead Management Software
Lead management software streamlines the process of tracking and engaging potential customers, ensuring that no opportunity is missed. It enhances efficiency and maximizes the potential for conversions by automating and organizing lead-related tasks.
Mastering Lead Management
Mastering the principles of lead management is essential to cultivating genuine relationships and transforming curiosity into conversion. Using these principles and tools your business can help more leads move down the funnel and into paying customers.
As always, myself and the entire RevOps Team are here to answer questions you may have and help you make more revenue! Leave a comment below, connect with us on LinkedIn or subscribe to our newsletter for the best on all things revenue operations.