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10 Tips to Boost Lead Generation and Management Processes

10 Tips to Boost Lead Generation and Management Processes
Article Cliff Notes

A lot of companies (particularly startups) do not have a coherent lead generation strategy.

Aligning your team and creating a service level (SLA) agreement is step one.

Follow our 10 handy steps to fine tune your process from there.

How do you garner and manage leads? A pretty straightforward question, but one we often find lacking a cohesive answer.

When it comes to lead generation process, sales lead management, and lead qualification process there is often no defined procedure.

If a company has a lead generation manager or lead generation Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) odds are they’re ahead of the game. But the more typical scenario is a loose mixture manual legwork and ineffective communication that threatens to damage the bottom line.

In terms of lead management, it’s critical to get the timing of a bottom of funnel action-to-sales response just right. Because of this, we’ve created a list of 10 curated tips to streamline your lead generation and sales lead management process.

Let’s get started…

1. Align Customer Service, Sales, Product and Marketing

When it comes to lead management process flow, getting all your teams aligned is goal number one. In an ideal world, these different teams would work together seamlessly as if part of one organism. The reality is this almost never happens.

See if you can’t hammer out a service level agreement (SLA) that commits everyone to:

  • Definition consensus – What is a lead? What is lead generation? What is a lead generator? What is a sales qualified lead? What is an accepted lead? And on down the funnel, etc
  • An ironed out blueprint for how to manage sales leads, perhaps a checklist distributed to all members.
  • KPIs – key performance indicators that help gauge individual and organizational success on a weekly, quarterly or annual basis.
  • Reporting Procedures – Dashboard maintenance and reporting standards, and directives on how to distribute these company-wide.

2. Orchestrate Lead Generation

Make sure that you’re organized to capture sales qualified leads. Make sure your content is on point and target leads through:

  1. Demand Marketing – Paid search (FB ads), banner ads, social media ads, native marketing efforts, print ads, direct ad campaigns, emailers, and IRL networking.
  2. Inbound Marketing – Blogging (and everything that entails, guest posting, blogger outreach, blog syndication, etc), SEO campaigns for organic traffic, social media outreach, and premium content offerings.

These are things most companies are utilizing to a degree already, just make sure that you leave nothing on the table.

3. Integrate CRM and run on Autopilot

Enter the office of most successful companies and somewhere you’re going to find a CRM sales process flowchart. This flowchart will show what tools your team has agreed to use and how they want to integrate them into your sales lead generation process. The needs of every business are going to be different but CRM and automation efforts need to consider the following:

  • Website CMS — such as WordPress or Joomla.
  • Lead nurturing — retargeting campaigns, drip marketing.
  • Content production — blogs and social media channels.
  • Marketing automation — segmentation of target audiences, email marketing.
  • Lead conversion — sales pages, CTAs, and forms.
  • Enterprise level applications — automated customer service, business intelligence systems, etc.

4. Understand Leads & Gather Intelligence

If you’re trying to perfect your lead generation system you need sales and marketing to put their heads together and agree on criteria for scoring leads. If you’ve not already done your due diligence creating detailed buyer personas and journeys for each buyer, do this immediately.

To keep conversion rates high you’ll also want to map out how you’ll capture prospective lead info. Profile your audience and tailor landing pages and forms to attract them. Dig into the data a little bit and figure out what events or sources triggered leads into taking action inside the funnel. If you need help fleshing out your buyer’s persona use Linkedin or other BI sites to fill in any gaps.

5. Take a Careful Approach to Segmentation

Step 5 in our 10 step sales process is to set up automated workflows that create highly detailed segments of your audience. Use the criteria that was set up in step number one, and feed your leads content they’re likely to have a high affinity for. Segmenting based on industry, occupation or other specific demographic identifiers should drastically increase the effectiveness of your sales lead funnel.

6. Set up Lead Scoring

You’ll also want to organize criteria for rating a lead. This scoring system underpins the entire operation as it dictates when to move a lead into your CRM and trigger notifications for additional steps via the (previously mentioned) automated workflows.

Potential leads buildup positive scores through their online behavior and demographic category. A few examples:

  • Engagement — this can be any number of actions, clicks, email opens, shares, upvotes and/or comments.
  • Persona — age, gender, location, industry, title, seniority, company size, employees, etc.
  • Stage — behaviors (such as conversions), when used as a proxy, can show if a lifecycle change (location in the funnel) has occurred for your lead.
  • Velocity — the timing of events, shown as a data-driven indication of a lead’s likelihood to purchase.

Scoring works both ways. Create feedback scores for negative indicators such as interest in competitors, disinterest in your product, or a low budget.

7. Focus on Lead Nurturing

To properly grease a lead generation funnel one needs to pay special attention to lead nurturing. Lead nurturing starts with your content map, and it continues with coaxing leads with relevant content/contact at appropriate intervals. Qualified lead generation must be accompanied by a nurturing hand in the form of email drip campaigns, audience specific ad targeting or direct approach personal content.

Apply the scoring rules detailed above and figure out who are the leads most likely to convert — and then kick back and let your automated workflows do their magic.

8. Time the Transfer to Your Sales Team Just Right

One of the “moments of truth” with lead marketing is assigning a lead to a sales rep. Your e leads CRM should be automatically enrolled into your CRM and then when their score hits a certain level (and only then) they should be moved on to the appropriate sales rep. A lot of times hitting this scoring threshold is accompanied by some event such as requests a sample or more information about a product. Also, be sure to rely on your foundational plan (step one again) and hand the sales qualified lead to the best sales rep per the segment/conditions.

9. Nurture the Sale and Fine Tune Customer Service

If your teams have been properly aligned (step one) all customer service members will understand how to use your CRM for leads management. This means they know how to evaluate a lead and how to interact with them in the most advantageous way. This means knowing how to build trust and gain attention — the two foundational elements of sales nurturing.

Your customer service personnel need to update the CRM after every customer interaction. Doing so makes sure the system will continue to make sense of the lead. Marketing won’t interfere with the sales process, sales will have notifications in place to follow up and/or upsell in the future, and product development will stay in the loop/provide supportive customer-focused information on future releases. Each part functioning succinctly, perfectly aligned and connected by the CRM.

10. Lean on Your Analytics

Almost no part of this process works with analytics. Want to improve your lead generation and management processes? Forget it without analytics.

Every member of your team needs to be using relevant analytics tools to make sense of their efforts, and of course to optimize them. An integrated marketing, sales, and customer support effort should work in concert with the SLA created in step one. Information is shared and at least one person needs to be put in charge of ensuring compliance with the SLA. Without analytics tools and someone overseeing the whole effort, it’s hard to course correct or make proper budgeting decisions going forward.

Summary

This might be a review for some, but glancing back through “lead generation for dummies” never hurts. Leaders and companies who carefully pay attention to these steps (particularly steps 1-3) tend to outperform their competitors by a healthy margin. This isn’t an easy or simple process but when done right it’s an art form. With the right system, people and enough time any business can flourish.

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