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Lead Management

Do you want your B2B sales organisation to generate many qualified contacts and develop them further? And at the same time, as many of your prospects as possible should become customers in the process? Read here about how a systematic lead management contributes to achieving these goals.

Lead management: How do I systematically convert leads into new customers?

In practice, you often have to struggle with the following challenges: either you are missing promising leads or the majority of the gained leads is not followed-up on or not within a reasonable period of time. In these cases, you are risking the acquired trust of your target customers, lose them to the competition or senselessly give away sales potential. With a well-organised lead management, you will realise an efficient new customer acquisition in contrast.

WITH THE RIGHT STRATEGY

YOU WILL THROW NOTHING BUT 3-POINTERS

What is lead management?

Lead management is an instrument to turn unknown contacts into prospects and ultimately into customers. Meanwhile, the process of lead management includes all measures in marketing and sales to develop an unknown contact on the marketing side so that he becomes ready for sales and develops into a real buyer.

Fodder for your sales funnel

Lead management generates input for the acquisition process of your B2B sales organisation

A good way to visualise this process is as a sales funnel where many contacts are thrown in the top, which come out as customers at the bottom. The funnel form is to symbolise: not every contact becomes a customer in the end.

But one thing is clear: only what your team has developed systematically in lead management across all stages can become a purchase order in the end.

If the customer has potential for a high-quality upselling or cross-selling offer, he will become a lead for a new purchase process. So, he will be thrown into a new sales funnel.

The lead management process covers the following 5 phases:

  1. Lead generation through digital channels and inbound marketing
  2. Lead development (nurturing), enrichment with information through software-based marketing automation. There is a large number of activities in this process. Trade fair leads, for example, have to be worked differently than responders to an email or content offer campaign.
  3. Repeated lead qualification on the marketing side by profiling and scoring of the readiness for sales
  4. Leads transfer to sales according to a service level agreement with marketing
  5. Leads reporting implemented by means of analyses of the database
Graphic: 5 Steps of the Lead management process

Management responsibility in sales: Why is leadmanagement the be-all and end-all?

Lead management is about generating new prospects. Especially when you are marketing products or services in the B2B segment that need explanations or which are subject to a longer buying cycle, lead management can make a valuable contribution to marketing and sales. At the same time it helps – also over a longer period – to maintain contact with promising leads.

Furthermore, contacts are increasingly being generated through digital channels such as newsletters, websites, blogs, LinkedIn, XING or Facebook. However leads can also be gained by means of download offers such as whitepapers or through trade fairs. Starting from a certain number of leads, these immense data volumes can best be processed in marketing by means of software-based solutions such as marketing automation tools in order to supply the sales organisation with rated and pre-classified prospects for sales acquisition.

This entails: It is not enough that I set targets and requirements for my marketing and sales teams. As a manager, I must also enable them to reach these targets. It is necessary for this purpose to establish a systematic lead management as a process with the teams and to provide the right tools.

What is the potential of a well-structured leadmanagement?

With an efficiently organised lead management, you will reach the following results:

  • You will generate more leads.
  • You will get the right, well-researched and classified leads.
  • You will focus your sales on promising prospects.
  • You will achieve a higher conversion rate.
  • You will work more closely together with marketing: marketing activities and campaigns will be organised more specifically and more transparently.
  • You will measure your success better.

Factors of success: This is what an effective leadmanagement process looks like

Strategy as a factor of success

Ask yourself the following question in the planning:

  • What are your goals?
  • Have you included all involved departments?
  • Are the process and introduction of the leads management process planned in detail?
  • Is communication about this taking place?

Technology as factor of success

Clarify the following points:

  • What software are you using?
  • Is a CRM enough or should it be a marketing automation solution?
  • Is everything compliant with the GDPR?
  • How is the existing data entered?

Lead generation as factor of success

Campaigns are often planned in multiple stages to find out more and better information about the target customers and to be helpful in supporting their customer journey. Important information about your leads is, e.g. company size, structure of decision-making in sales, objectives of business development, etc.

Clarify the following points:

  • Who is the possible prospect? (buyer persona)
  • Where is he or she moving in our world? (social media, downloads)
  • What is he or she reading on our channels? (website, whitepaper, blog)
  • Can I already detect a conclusion for an interest in a solution or product based on his or her “journey” or behaviour?

Tip: It is ideal to follow up on these points using a marketing automation software program.

Marketing will now hand off a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) according to jointly pre-defined criteria to sales. With this enriched information about the potential customer, the lead can now be developed further in the sales team to become a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). Ideally, conversion rates from prospect into a lead are above 30% and a conversion rate of at least 30% from lead to purchase order is reached.

Practical tip: How do I organise an efficient leads management process?

The basis for high efficiency and the necessary transparency of the process are the various IT tools. A customer relationship management tool (CRM) is necessarily needed. The CRM system is essentially processed and developed further by the sales organisation and records the interactions between sales and the potential or existing customers.

A further very useful tool is the marketing automation solution (MAT). This solution is usually placed in marketing and enables an automation of marketing activities and campaigns. The system delivers so-called Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL), which have a certain scoring value, trigger the hand-off to sales and which are entered in the CRM for the further sales-related processing.

Once again in the sales CRM, the lead passes through different qualification stages in the so-called sales funnel.

These are, for example:

  • Information phase
  • Qualification phase
  • Benefits argumentation phase
  • Quotation phase
  • Decision phase
  • “Win” or “loss”

The BANT criteria for lead qualification

Sales qualifies the MQL according to its value and classifies it into one of the first three stages. For classification into one stage, you define the necessary criteria together with your sales team. The BANT criteria are frequently used as the basis for a lead definition:

Budget bag

Budget

Is there a budget or can one be obtained?
Spaceship

Authority

Are the decision-makers at the table?
Speaking figure

Need

Does the customer truly have a benefit?
Clock

Time

Will the project be realised in xx months?

Excursion: The sales funnel – an important planning tool in B2B sales

Read more about it

Sales has already spoken several times with a lead in the benefits argumentation phase. It is therefore also possible to define the probable realisation period and presume project size. Both values are entered into the CRM and result in the unweighted sales funnel value. The weighted sales funnel value is derived from it by means of the following factors:

  • Project size in euro p.a.
  • Probability that the project will be realised by the customer
  • Closing probability

Practical example:

Project value of 1 million euro p.a.,

realisation probability 100%

closing probability 33% (because there are two competitors)

This results in a weighted sales funnel value of 333,333 euro.

The weighted sales funnel value offers you a very good prediction for order intake that you may expect in the future for 2-3 years after the introduction of the system.

What should I take into consideration by all means concerning lead management?

  • Marketing and sales must work together on one goal.
  • The data must be reconciled in the CRM and MAT systems so that there are no duplicates.
  • The introduction of MAT takes at least 1 year and requires a clear management decision with sufficient budgeting.
  • Train your sales employees: Populating the CRM database must be a duty and a new project must be created according to the BANT criteria.
  • Customer hold files must be processed promptly, especially in the campaign process.
  • Regular reporting

Lead management: Do it yourself or outsource it?

Internal

The marketing portion in the leads management process should always be carried out internally. This is where the knowledge about the target customer, its needs and the customer journeys is. An external service provider would take much too long in combination with the marketing automation software to familiarise with all topics relating to your product offer, your marketing strategy, etc.

External

The lead management process from the MQL stage or the hand-off to sales with pure cold calling based on addresses, in contrast, can be outsourced very efficiently.

You will profit from many years of experience with the expertise of a sales service provider and have the following advantages:

  • The internal organisation is strengthened through sales outsourcing and relieved from new customer acquisition. Resources are freed up for further core sales tasks and strategic matters.
  • You profit from the service provider’s experience through their further acquisition projects.
  • Many companies do not use a marketing automation tool yet, i.e. the lead generation process begins with acquisition on an address basis, either of customers or purchased addresses. Costly errors are made especially in this first stage of data analysis, which you can avoid by using a service provider who is aware of all obstacles.
  • The quality, currentness and quantity of information on the market, customers, competition will increase significantly.
  • You steer the marketing activities in a targeted manner and with more intensity through the increased customer dialogue.
  • You will get additional valid data on the current sales classification and sales potentials. The consequence: clear, plannable budgets.
  • You will activate additional sales potential that no longer goes to your competitors thanks to the efficient lead management.

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You would like to boost the success of your leadmanagement with help from the outside?

No problem, contact our experts about it.



Sales Consultant Christian Soller

Christian Soller

Sales Consultant
Vertrieb

Tel.: +49 911 6602 147
E-Mail: christian.soller@suxxeed.de

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