An established process should not only increase the company’s bottom line but also produce the most appropriate solutions for a customer’s needs.
Without effective lead management processes and practices in place, a company’s ability to increase opportunities for both customers and sales is limited.
A sales team can’t simply sit back and wait for prospects to come to them. Their efforts need to focus on generating leads, qualifying leads, and nurturing them.
If leads are handled incorrectly and without an understanding of how the management process works, neither side will get what they want. The lead will most likely seek solutions elsewhere. The sales team will suffer from a lack of leads and low conversion rates.
That said, here are six costly lead management mistakes that can be easily avoided.
Not having a lead handling process in place
What happens when a lead comes in? What happens after the initial contact?
A lack of clarity in the lead management process gives rise to confusion and loses a potential customer in the shuffle.
What happens to a lead after initial contact and who handles the lead at different points in the process needs to be established and well-defined. Otherwise, no one will know when to funnel the contact to the proper person or department, and the lead will lose interest and seek solutions elsewhere.
Not prioritizing leads
The sales process can be long, but failing to prioritize leads can make it even longer and unfruitful.
Although the scenario is not common, some leads know exactly what they need and are ready to buy immediately.
More commonly, a lead requires more information on a product before deciding it’s the right solution.
A keen understanding of a lead’s needs and where they are in the sales process helps a business determine the most strategic way to deal with them. A lead needing more information should probably be funneled to marketing while more decisive ones can go to sales. Actively trying to sell when a lead is not ready is an inefficient use of time and resources.
Waiting too long to follow up on a lead
The chances of making contact with a lead and making the sale increase the sooner someone follows up.
A Harvard Business Review study has revealed that responding to leads within an hour generates seven times more conversions. The study audited 2,241 U.S. firms and found that leads lose interest when there is too much time between initial contacts and follow up.
Within five minutes of a prospect’s contact is the ideal time to make direct contact and have an impact. A computer telephony interaction–like a CTI integrating MS Dynamics and Avaya–allows a sales team to react to lead interest immediately by using a computer to track inquiries and make return calls in seconds.
Giving up too soon
According to Business Insider, a potential customer needs some form of contact at least seven times within a period of 18 months to make an impact.
Through time, a business can convert someone with just an interest into a lead and eventually a sale. It starts with advertising, then the marketing and sales process.
It would be great to close the sale on the first contact, but this scenario doesn’t often happen because many leads are not ready to buy immediately.
Does this mean forget about them? If they are qualified, they will mostly buy at some point. The customer needs to build trust with the business. By nurturing the leads through marketing and periodic contact, the trust will grow over time.
Not creating engaging content
Ours is the Internet Age. Many leads will reach a business via the internet.
Whether a potential customer heard of the business through word of mouth or a web search, they will perform some internet research to learn more about the company and their products.
Quality content — both online and offline — is needed to obtain and nurture leads. This content may consist of web pages, blog posts, eBooks, marketing material, and whitepapers, which speak to the problems potential customers may have. Good content is the difference between engaging a prospect and having them look elsewhere.
Not updating lead databases
Any information obtained on a lead will help in discerning their level of interest and make it easier to sell to them. With the utilization of CRM integration like an MS Dynamics – Avaya CTI integration in the lead management process, it is easy to track if, when, and how many times leads have been contacted. Knowing this vital information gives insight into the best way to address the lead’s needs. Developing a profile of the prospect includes content they have been exposed to or what part of the website prompted the lead to show interest in the company. Whether the lead is funneled to another person or department, the efforts to engage are better targeted.
Leads are crucial to a business’s sales cycle. An efficient handle on lead management brings effective conversion of a prospect to first a lead and then to a customer. Avoiding the mistakes mentioned above will allow a sales team to acquire more qualified leads and create more effective sales opportunities. The result? The business will thrive.
About the Author
Brooke Harper is a seasoned writer and sales consultant, and has written hundreds of articles and white papers covering all aspects of B2B sales, phone marketing, and advanced sales strategy. Brooke is one of the top writers on Quora in B2B and her answers get over 100K views a month, and growing.