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Companies with a robust lead management process have a 9.3% higher sales quota achievement rate than those who don’t. Thus, optimizing your lead management process is one of the most effective ways to boost revenue.

If you continue doing the same thing, you’ll continue having the same results. Whether you’re trying to get new customers, investors, candidates, it’s all relative. You must always be analyzing your processes and data. Where are leads falling out of the funnel? How many leads last month, more importantly, how many leads the same month the previous year? You need accurate data to be able to set and meet your revenue/fundraising/growth goals.

Here are 5 ways to optimize your lead management process.

Sales rep looking over his lead reports.

1) Ensure Your CRM Stages Reflect Your Sales Process

The first step in improving your lead management process is figuring out if your team is even following it. Often, companies have stages built into their marketing automation platform and CRM, but their reps don’t follow the process. Instead, they follow their own steps for closing deals and haphazardly update the stages as they go.

To find out if this is the case for your organization, ask your reps to walk you through their lead management process, and see how well it lines up with your stages. If there are a lot of variances, work with your team to create a new funnel that reflects the steps it actually takes to close deals.

Your sales funnel needs to be clearly defined, and your team needs to be in alignment with each stage’s definition. Without a properly defined funnel and terms, you’ll waste countless hours in your sales meeting just trying to figure out what you’re talking about. Trust me, I’ve been there before.

Keep in mind that your CRM is only as effective as the data going into it. Data should be entered in a standardized/organized way to ensure you have accurate tracking and reporting.

Just as crucial as having everyone entering the data in a systemized way is the adoption aspect. If people aren’t updating, then you’ll continue to have the same issues.

It’s helpful to have someone on your team be the adoption queen/cheerleader, like a virtual sales assistant. 😉

Related: How to Successfully Drive CRM Adoption

 

2) Focus on Your Lowest Converting Stages

Once your team has committed to using specific stages, it becomes much easier to identify what parts of your lead management process need to be improved. In most marketing automation platforms and CRMs, you can run a report that shows the conversion rate of each stage.

Focusing on where people drop off in your pipeline can help you make the necessary tweaks to your process to ensure more leads move through your sales funnel and to ensure you close more deals / hit your growth numbers. This is the fastest way to get an ROI from your lead management optimization efforts.

Revisit your stage conversion rate report often so you can see if the changes you make drive improvements.

 

3) Customize Your Lead Nurturing Process

Surveys show that businesses with a robust lead nurturing process have 50% higher close rates than those who don’t. Lead nurturing is a highly effective way to move cold leads into warm prospects that are ready to have a productive conversation with sales.

However, many companies’ lead nurturing processes are ineffective because they either:

  1. Require sales reps to manage the entire lead nurturing process manually. This is time-consuming and ineffective since not all prospects are ready to talk to sales.
  2. Or their process is an automated series that treats every lead the same. Treating all leads the same limits your ability to pull out prospects that are warm and/or highly qualified.

To maximize your close rate, your lead nurturing process should be a combination of these two options. Leads that fill out your “Contact Us” forms and have other highly qualifying characteristics should be handed to sales.

However, ones that just download content and lack other qualifying features should go through an automated funnel that educates them about your brand and how you can solve their pain points. Throughout the email series, invite them to have a conversation with sales when they’re ready to move forward.

Related: The Psychology of Developing Strong Prospect Relationships

 

4) Prioritize Highly Engaged Leads

Having a consistent lead management process is crucial for you to have a predictable sales funnel. However, this doesn’t mean that you should treat all leads the same. Just as you should approach your highly qualified leads differently than those that are less qualified, you should also adjust your approach based on each lead’s engagement.

Highly engaged leads are generally more likely to close so, regardless of what stage they’re at, you should treat them with greater urgency and personalization than quiet leads.

The three key engagement metrics you should monitor are:

  • Site visits
  • Email opens
  • Responsiveness

Keeping highly qualified leads engaged and staying top of mind with them is key to closing more deals. It can sometimes be challenging to discern between engaged prospects who are highly qualified and those that are engaged but may be less qualified. How do you know who to prioritize? This is why it’s essential to look at your data – where have they been on your site? How many times have they visited? How responsive are they, etc.?

Additionally, asking qualifying questions and asking about where they are in their process can help you and get a better sense of who you should be focusing on.

 

5) Hold Your Team Accountable for Driving the Process

If tasks don’t have specific owners, they’re going to slip through the cracks. To ensure your lead management process is followed correctly, you need to give every activity an owner and create a transparent system to hold people accountable for driving their pieces of the pipeline forward.

The easiest way to track activities is to leverage the task management features within your marketing automation tool and/or CRM. However, if your software doesn’t include those features, you can build out your lead management process in a task management or wiki software.

Leveraging a VA to help manage your leads in your CRM can be extremely useful. They can help qualify, ensure data is always captured and entered in a standardized way to ensure you have accurate data and accurate reporting. This will free up time for your sales team to focus on what they do best - selling/higher value-added tasks.

To learn more about how a virtual sales assistant can support your team, schedule your free consultation.

 

About the author: Fredi is the Inside Sales Director at Prialto and overseas Prialto's lead management processes and workflows. He's a VA leveraging guru and helps busy professionals offload repeatable process driven tasks so they can focus on higher value-added tasks.

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