Generating leads is a marketing term that describes the process of attracting and converting a prospect who’s interested in your product or service into a potential customer. When potential customers take action in your marketing activities by giving you their information, a lead is created.
Lead management is highly critical for especially B2B sales funnels. It focuses on building prospects and engagement as they move through your sales cycle. But it’s not only about the sales cycle and sales team action, but it also covers customer relationship management, customer experience management, and customer acquisition management.
Lead management is an important methodology which starts with lead generation. You can use search engines, social media, and content marketing — including blogs, whitepapers, success stories, infographics, videos, and webinars — to reach, attract, engage, convert, and nurture leads.
Lead generation can help your sales teams with better allocate their time on relevant spending prospects because you are giving them hot and well-qualified leads. According to a recent benchmark study by Marketo, companies using lead generation practices achieve better sales conversions and higher revenue growth.
The most important benefits of lead management are listed below:
When you decide to set up your lead management structure, you can plan and work on lead management software like Pipedrive, Zoho CRM, SAP CRM, Oracle Sales Cloud, and Hubspot. You can access the rest of them from here.
First, start setting your lead management structure by profiling your leads according to the criteria below:
Demographics: Gender, Title, Personal Email or Business Email, Education (B2C), Age (B2C), Income (B2C), Location, etc.
Firmographics: Industry, Company Name, Company Size, Company Location, Annual Revenue, Products or Services, etc.
After profiling your leads, you can score them according to online behaviour, email engagement status, subscription status, and social engagement.
Lead scoring is a methodology for ranking leads in order to gauge a prospect’s buying likelihood. Leads are scored according to the interest they show in your product or service. Businesses score leads by assigning numbers or signs, implementing rankings such as A, B, C, or using terms like ‘hot’, ‘warm’, or ‘cold’. Then you can optimize your marketing activities according to lead quality.
By assigning scores to leads based on their demographic information and their behaviour on your website or landing page, your sales team can differentiate qualified and unqualified leads easily. And also, there are some definitions you should use while lead scoring:
Unqualified Leads: A brand new lead that enters the sales or marketing funnel and is not scored yet.
Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs): It is an engaged visitor, indicating that it is likely to become a customer. They will need to be contacted with regular follow-ups to keep them interested in your services or products in the upcoming months.
Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs): This lead is almost ready to become a customer and is therefore vetted by the sales team.
SQLs have a high possibility of converting to customers which can be accomplished by the alignment of sales and marketing teams. Both teams should outline clear expectations for their part in the sales funnel and detail the process by which a lead will be passed off from one to the other.
Marketing qualified and sales qualified leads should be closely followed by sales teams and segmentation must be done correctly. In addition, feedback from leads is very important as it will provide insights for the next term marketing budget, sales budget, and marketing-sales strategies
The other critical path of a lead generation strategy is to understand your lead’s buying journey and funnel.
Top of the Funnel (TOFU): At this first step, a buyer tries to find solutions to his/her problem. Top of the funnel marketing refers to the efforts that are focused on meeting the target persona’s needs at the awareness stage. Top of the funnel marketing activities includes blog posts, articles, success stories as well as promotional activities like events and webinars to reach your audience.
Middle of the Funnel (MOFU): According to the SiriusDecisions Demand Waterfall, the middle of the funnel is the area where the marketing to sales hand-off realizes (MQL to SQL). In the middle of the funnel, the marketing team aims to help the sales team prioritize their time by providing clear information on each lead directed to the sales team.
You can start the process of persuasion to a potential customer in the middle of the funnel, mainly by presenting the details and advantages of our product or service with marketing materials. These can be ebooks, guides, videos, or current customer references.
Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU): At this stage, the decision-maker is aware of certain brands, products or services. Therefore, it is essential to offer promotions to potential customers. These can be demos, comparison charts, special discounts, or shopping cart scenarios (ex: transactional emails, push notifications, etc.). These actions can also shorten the sales cycle.
One of the most important effects of this phase is that after creating happy and loyal customers, they leave feedback and comments on different platforms. This allows similar leads to see these comments and become new customers.
A successful lead generation structure uses both inbound and outbound marketing strategies for the attraction and conversion process before the prospects become customers.
Inbound Lead Generation: This is about creating content that attracts and captures potential customers by providing value-added information, which will then help you guide the potential customers in your sales funnels.
With inbound lead generation, you can increase the awareness and visibility of your brand and make it easier for other potential customers to find and reach you. Some inbound lead generation tactics are:
Basically, inbound lead generation includes the use of a marketing automation platform to carry out these steps.
Outbound Lead Generation: Outbound lead generation starts with basic knowledge of your target audience. You can reach your target customers through different channels, including the marketing actions below:
These actions can be used alone or be combined with an “integrated campaign.” Outbound Lead Generation should involve a set of clear steps and be managed through a well-planned structure as they will be automated in the future.
In the social world, which is becoming more and more connected, it is very ineffective to run a successful marketing activity using a single channel. So don’t forget to take advantage of all your available marketing opportunities, including outbound lead generation, to maximize impact on your business.
For an effective lead management flow, you should use a CRM tool or other analytics tools to measure essential KPI metrics such as:
Lead Sources: This will help the marketing team understand incoming lead channels and which lead channels work best. Lead sources can be webinars, podcasts, events, lead lists, email campaigns, PPC campaigns, blog posts, etc. After identifying which lead source is bringing quality leads and maximizing efforts in those channels, it can increase your ROI. You can also see some insights into Hubspot for traffic generation sources to boost your business.
Number of Leads: The number of leads from all different channels. Any contact information from a filled form indicates 1 lead.
Number of Qualified Leads: As we mentioned above, these can be MQLs and SQLs. These are the leads which are scored by sales teams and need to be contacted and turned into opportunities.
Opportunity: The chain from leads to qualified leads to opportunities — all the way to customers. If your qualified leads consider your solution and return back to you somehow, it genuinely is an opportunity.
Cost per Lead: This can be calculated by Money spent on capturing leads divided by the total number of leads captured.
This reflects the cost efficiency of your lead generation management. Cost per lead shows you how much budget the marketing team spends for new leads. This metric is very important to measure a campaign’s success. A lower cost per lead is always desirable.
For example, if you had 7 clicks and 100 impressions, then your CTR would be 7%.
Based on the information gathered by measuring and analyzing these metrics, you can review your process, make new decisions, and plan your marketing strategy again.
It would not be a complete marketing and sales strategy to set up and run the lead management structure. Optimization is required for lead management periodically, including channel-based, campaign-based, content-based, or even tools used in sales processes. The optimization should be done according to the KPI metrics analyzed. And marketing analysts focus on poor performing campaigns and channels so that they can stop investing in these channels if necessary.
Optimization and A/B tests can be done on the following marketing elements:
Lead management should be handled as a whole structure, not just with the sales team or marketing team, and teams should work with the coordinated and feedback mechanism.
Thanks to the A / B tests and optimizations performed here, the optimum marketing channels and campaigns can be determined and managed through different distribution channels as much as possible and with the appropriate content and marketing language.
In lead management, a metric-based tracking system must be set up and the whole team must contact each other and give feedback via the CRM system.
Last but not least, here’s a wide range of Lead Management tactics we have prepared for you to implement your growth marketing activities. You can choose the tactics according to your main goals (Brand awareness + traffic generation, conversion, and retention) as well as the difficulty level (beginner, intermediate, advanced).