Marie Kondo's best seller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up has sold over 4 million copies worldwide. This means that there are a lot of people out there looking for ways to organize their lives. If you think about it, we have to deal with organization and management all the time, every day.
Me, for example: I have to organize my daily tasks at work, tidy up my house and my closet, manage my tasks as a mom, administrate my schedule work, go to the gym, cook meals, leave my son at school, and so it goes. I'm sure you're no different.
The thing is, if I want to do everything that I have to do in one day, I have to prioritize. The same rule applies to your company’s leads: to properly turn them into sales opportunities you need to focus on the ones that matter through lead management.
To properly turn leads into sales opportunities, you need to focus on the ones that matter.
I'm sure most people that bought Kondo's book did so because they recognized they had to organize things as soon as possible. I'm also pretty sure that if you happen to be reading this content you probably know that you need to better manage leads and discover more sales opportunities.
The question is: is a lead management software the best solution for you? Don't worry, you'll have the answer very soon.
Why there's a need to manage leads?
Acquiring leads remains the number one concern for many sales professionals. However it's very important to not pile up leads just like you pile up things in your house. As Marie says on her book, we tend to keep things because we are attached to the emotions caused by them.
And boy, it does feel good to see a lot of leads coming to your website everyday, doesn't it?
The problem is that when you have too much stuff - or too many leads - and you don't organize it, you tend to get lost in the mess. As a result, you don't sell as much as you need (or wish).
That's the beauty of a lead management software. With the right tool, you can track and manage all your leads activities.
Basically, technology makes it possible for your company to increase the sales team productivity by creating a pool of interested leades and filtering out unqualified ones.
Benefits of a lead management software
"Once-cleaned, never-messy-again". On the first few pages of Kondo's book, she ensures that you will only tidy things up once and never have to worry about putting things in their places again.
On the other hand, by using a lead management software, most of the "tidying up" will be done automatically. Once you start using it, you don't ever have to worry about organizing your leads again.
The process of managing leads helps businesses understand which tactics are bringing the best deals, allowing the optimization of the sales strategy to be as efficient as possible.
In other words, you will be able to track and evaluate lead acquisition efforts. Which strategy is bringing more quality leads: landing pages, social media, web forms or inbound content? A software like that will help you to discover the answer.
When you have all lead information readily accessible and categorized by the different lifecycle stages, you'll be able to use your time to close deals and provide excellent customer service. Thus, properly qualifying and prioritizing leads according to your company's fit.
By having all lead information readily accessible and categorized, you'll be able to close deals and provide an excellent customer service.
Following Kondo's advice to only keep things that bring you good memories or feelings, you qualify your clothes and objects by importance and find them specific places to keep them.
The same goes for lead management: the most qualified ones must have a special place for them in the sales pipeline, don't you agree?
Remember that before qualifying them, a few steps must be taken such as:
- Defining your buyer persona;
- Establish the difference between interest and intention;
- Discover if the lead is a decision-maker or not;
And so on. This process becomes quicker over time as you learn which areas of the lead's profile to look at.
By qualifying your leads correctly, you save time and money by only reaching opportunities that are a good fit for your business. You will also accelerate the lead's response, therefore increasing conversion rates.
Lead conversion is determined 57% by lead quality and 43% by lead response time!
A Velocify’s research study found that the simple act of following up with a lead within the first minute of acquiring their contact info can increase conversion rates by as much as 400%.
At the end of the day, a software allows you to handle as many leads as you want in the best way, and this means scaling your sales efforts.
Best practices for lead management
Just like there are a few steps to follow to organize your house and your life, there are a few lead management best practices that can help you take full advantage of a software like that:
1. Define the difference between interest and intent:
There is a huge difference in wanting to organize your closet and actually setting a date for doing so. The same thing happens with leads: some of them might have recognized there's a problem to be solved, but aren't really considering to buy a solution right now.
How can you distinguish a lead that's looking around from the ones that really intend to buy your product?
Interest is simply defined as someone who's casually interested in reading about your point of view on a certain subject. The lead might be consuming your content, reading blog posts, downloading rich content, but it's very unlikely that they went to your pricing page or checked the features page, for example.
Intent is someone who is actively trying to solve an urgent problem by researching possible solutions. This lead is very likely to have visited almost every page of your website. They might have asked for a demo, and so on. With the help of lead tracking and lead management, you can figure out these patterns and segment your leads according to their behavior.
2. Align sales and marketing
So you're all set to do all the tidying up. Time to take all the clothes from the drawers. There are only two places that they can go: donate pile or keep pile. In order to decide, you'll need to define the criteria you're going to use to get rid of things or put them back in your closet.
According to Marie Kondo, this criteria is how the outfit makes you feel. Has that item ever brought you joy? If the answer is yes, keep it.
Likewise, before qualifying leads, sales and marketing teams need to define the criteria on what they will be analyzed. Both of them must determine together what's a marketing qualified lead (MQL) and what is a sales qualified lead (SQL), so that they have the same goals and expectations. This will help to save the team's time and budget.
To simplify the process, just set milestones that every lead has to reach to be considered a hot one (lead scoring). Once defined, the lead management software will only follow the pre-established rules to qualify leads.
3. Analyze and understand your lead's needs
Kondo is very emphatic when she says it's important to put things in place. You must establish a very clear goal of how you want to feel when everything is organized, because tidying up is just a tool, not the final destination.
The same tactic can also be used in lead management. It's crucial to understand what are lead's needs and what they are looking for. This will help you to build the customer journey with a customer-centric focus.
Design forms to gather progressive information about their needs. If you asked your leads for his e-mail information on the first form, the next may require the company and job title, for instance. Together with lead tracking, it'll allow you to track the leads' lifecycle from their first contact with your company, which pages they've visited and content they've read.
4. Develop content to support lead nurturing efforts
As Marie Kondo beautifully explains in her book, you need to give every possession a home. Clutter will develop when items do not have a designated storage location. It's important to decide where you're going to put things after they’ve been used and they never leave them laying around again.
A lead nurturing strategy is quite effective for converting leads, no doubt about that. To make it work like a charm, you need to produce relevant, quality content to make them feel at home.
When you establish your buyer personas and follow the leads' behavior within your website, it becomes easier to craft key messages and core content that speaks directly to your potential buyers.
The more accurately your content depicts how you can meet the unique needs of a prospect, the more likely they are to trust you. Bear in mind that different personas have different channel preferences. Find out what resonates better with you leads and personalize the content accordingly.
5. Track and report your strategies' KPIs
Pay close attention to the metrics and don't be afraid to adjust your strategy if something goes out of track. Good lead management tools can be connected to Business Intelligence softwares and personalized dashboards, allowing you to read detailed reports with all your leads activities and make better decisions towards your strategies.
Although Marie's promise of having everything organized for good sounds a bit like a dream.She even says that once you organize the house, you'll feel different physically too. For your company, a lead management software turns this dream into a real possibility, and you'll feel that the sales pipeline will flow better.
Track the leads actions, analyze their behavior, qualify opportunities and priorite deals automatically. All you have to do is worry about keeping the leads coming and increase your conversion rates.
Note that you’re not actually done after the deal closes or when you lose a lead. You can get some valuable insights with different teams and leads. Establish a system where feedback can be provided to everyone involved in the lead management to improve your processes going forward.