Too often businesses put an emphasis on lead generation without giving much thought to how those leads will become customers. It’s akin to the “build it, and they will come” mentality. The truth is leads need to be nurtured before they become customers. By managing your leads in a systematic and structured way, you can increase both the number of leads you generate and how many of those leads you convert. These are some of our lead management best practices to help you increase your pipeline, make sure you focus on the right leads, and track what works and what doesn’t.
Align sales and marketing teams
Sales and marketing teams need to be in alignment and working together for effective lead management. Mapping your sales process and clearly defining how and when leads will be handed off to sales is crucial. This will ensure no lead is overlooked or dropped.
Automate lead capture
Using a marketing automation tool, such as Pardot, or web-to-lead features in Salesforce Sales Cloud will help make lead capture efficient and consistent. By automating lead capture from your website you can not only capture important data points from leads but also begin them on a nurturing journey using autoresponders, workflows and automated tasks.
Keep your data clean
Data hygiene is always critical and can quickly get out of control. Leads can come into your CRM via manual entry, automated lead capture from your website and mass imports. With so many ways leads can enter your CRM, duplicate records are bound to happen. Maintain your data integrity by using a de-duping app from the AppExchange.
Incomplete lead data can also be a challenge. Features in the CRM can be leveraged to improve data quality. For example, validation rules can prevent leads from being converted if no email address was entered or if a need has not been defined. This can help keep leads that are not ready to move to sales with marketing for further nurturing.
Prioritize your best leads
Your leads will likely differ in quality, some may fit your ideal customer profile better than others. Using lead scoring and grading will help Sales know which leads are “hot” and a best fit. Pardot uses a blended scoring and grading method, where score is based on the actions and activities of the lead. And grade is based on how closely they match your ideal customer profile. Using a blended scoring and grading model gives you a full picture of your prospects. Then you can route leads to the appropriate inside sales rep or team using Lead Assignment Rules.
Establish closed loop reporting
Sales, Marketing and executives alike will want to know which channels, promotions are most effective at driving quality leads and resulting in sales revenue. Data from Pardot and Salesforce can support that analysis by linking marketing activities to your Salesforce CRM data. You’ll know which lead source brings in the most leads, how many progress through the sales funnel to result in pipeline and how much revenue has been influenced by marketing.
Closed loop reporting also helps keep Sales and Marketing in alignment, allowing everyone to track and measure lead quality. A combination of Salesforce Campaigns and reports and dashboards can give you critical ROI calculations so you will know where to put your marketing dollars in the future.
Leads are too valuable to your business to let lead management be an afterthought. Poor lead management can mean lost opportunities and revenue. So, put the time and effort into creating a strategy that brings sales and marketing together and leverage the tools your CRM and marketing automation can provide.