Your CEO wants one thing from you: leads that result in more business. Your sales team wants one thing from you: leads that are ready to buy. To satisfy both you need to produce not just more leads, but quality leads.
To generate quality leads, focus on these four essential elements: Process, Technology, People and Content.
Do you have a documented, repeatable process to manage your leads? Have you implemented a method to nurture leads that aren’t quite ready to buy? Have you defined what a good lead looks like? Do you have a systematic way to qualify your leads? If you answered No to any of these, you have a process issue.
Are you able to track the online behavior of your prospects and leads? Are you able to scale personalized communications to your prospects and customers? Can you automatically manage the targeting, timing and content of your outbound marketing messages? If you answered No to any of these, you have a technology issue.
Are you able to respond to a prospect’s inquiry (form-fill or 800#) in 10 minutes or less? Do you have anyone dedicated to nurturing leads that aren’t “sales ready”? Does someone qualify the lead before it’s sent to a sales rep? If you answered No to any of these, you have a people issue.
Do you have multiple forms of content: blogs, whitepapers, webinars, ebooks? Does your content reflect what your buyers and prospects are interested in, or just talk about your product and services? Do you have content that targets prospects at each stage in the buying cycle? Does your content guide your buyers through the sales funnel at their own pace? If you answered No to any of these, you have a content issue.
To be successful at lead generation you need all four essential elements. In this post, let’s cover the first.
Process: Lead Management
Today’s marketing leader can no longer afford to emphasize lead volume over lead quality. They must refine their processes to:
- Capture quality information
- Validate and score leads
- Develop programs to nurture pre-sale leads
- Qualify leads as sales ready
- Define lead routing rules
I find that most marketing departments have no Lead Management program in place. Instead they perform some paltry form of lead qualification and instantly hurl leads over the fence to sales. The majority of these leads are not ready to buy right away. Nor are they desirous to meet with a sales rep at this point. When a rep gets a lead like this, they discard it never to engage again. In a 2010 study, SiriusDecisions found that 80% of leads a sales rep deems “unqualified” end up buying within (24) months. Without Lead Management, these leads will probably be buying from your competition.
The objective of a lead management process is threefold:
- Generate more Leads of a higher quality – Lead Management defines a process to capture, nurture and qualify leads. The output is leads of higher quality.
- Maintain a predictable flow of leads – Lead Management is a multi-staged process. Leads exit each stage after achieving the stage “exit criteria”. Marketing leaders can measure the conversion rate from stage to stage, providing predictable lead flow.
- Focus sales reps activities on real opportunities – Lead Management forces sales and marketing to define what a good lead looks like. The process generates “sales-ready” leads that focus reps on real opportunities.
Gartner Research found that companies that implement lead management see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months. Ultimately, Marketing’s measure of success is leads that generate new revenue. Without lead management you will not achieve this goal.
Don’t have a lead management process, or need help optimizing your current one? Send me an email to spend (30) minutes on the phone discussing ways to create/improve your lead management process.