Table of Content:
Lead qualification and lead management process.
What is lead management process?
Lead management is a set of procedures that help turn a lead into a customer. As simple as it may seem, lead management itself entails many challenges to face up to. As a result, a lead is expected to make it all the way to turning into a customer. In other words, you have to sift your target market through a sales funnel. Here are the stages that your lead has to undergo:
- Leads. The lion’s share of your target market. These are the people at the top of the funnel who might benefit from your product and have an interest in it of some kind (they may fill out a contact form or visit your website). However, they can’t move down the funnel yet because there is a lack of their data available or they don’t fit the qualification criteria.
- Prospects. These are the leads that have been qualified into potential customers. And it is often two-way communication that helps bridge the gaps in leads’ profile and convert them into prospects.
- Sales/Customers. The ones who have reached the bottom of the funnel.
So, what phases should your lead management consist of to get the funnel going? Figuratively speaking, how to germinate seeds that would grow to be fruitful?
Lead management process overview
Components of the lead management process may vary, but the core processes remain. Here are those phases:
- Lead generation
- Lead qualification
- Lead nurturing
- Lead distribution
We’ll cover all of them in the article. But before digging into the intricate but holistic structure of lead management, one aspect should not be overlooked. It is the identification of an ideal customer profile.
Identification of your ideal customer profile (ICP)
It is a vital stage that requires putting your target market under a microscope to develop an ideal customer profile. At this phase, you should figure out what pain points would drive people to take advantage of the particular product you can provide, not your rivals’ one. However, your competitors’ experience would be of great use when coming up with your own ideal customer profile. Therefore, it requires doing comprehensive research on customer insight and current trends.
So, what should you pay attention to when developing your customer profile?
- Analyzing your own or competitors’ experience focusing on what pain points you or they can and cannot resolve;
- Looking at your or your competitor’s best and worst customers and identifying their qualities;
- Analyzing their common characteristics
- Defining such characteristics of an ideal customer as:
The efforts on your well-developed ICP may turn out to be amply rewarded because ICP is the cornerstone of the whole lead generation and lead qualification processes. If you choose the right seeds that germinate in your soil, chances are that seeds one day bear fruits.
Lead generation is a process of reaching out to your leads by providing them opportunities to learn about you. There is a plethora of means to attract leads. Here is where your in-depth analysis of your customer profile comes in handy. It’s essential to incorporate certain lead generation tactics that would optimize sales funnel conversion more. Depending on whether you target B2C (Business to Customer) or B2B (Business to Business) such features as sales strategy, sales cycle length, content and social media platforms would vary. That way you increase the chances that the seed you’ve planted would germinate if you provide a suitable environment for it. Among the most commonly used ways to generate leads are:
- Email campaign. It is true art to design emails that stand out and launch an email campaign that would warm up your leads. Email marketing remains to be one of the most effective strategies to generate leads.
- Website. It could be a stepping stone for other tools to bring into play. It could have a nice landing page that prompts lead to provide some data in return for an offering. Lead magnets on your website are also focused at exchanging a lead’s email on the valuable content you may provide (templates, guides, books etc.). Keeping a blog on your website would help to personalize your company (because you indicate that you’re eager to engage with the target audience) and, therefore, build trust.
- Social media platforms. They provide a unique opportunity to communicate with your leads while simultaneously not drawing them on your website but keeping them on the platform they devote most of their time to.
- Make use of lead generation tools that automate and optimize the lead generation process. Convolo is one of such tools that enables you to acquire more warm leads through a handy callback widget, impressing them with your response times.
Some seeds germinate, while others do not. At this point, you should sort out the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. Lead qualification hinders you from wasting time on those leads who remain cold and, therefore, are less likely to convert and focus more on those leads that are more likely to buy.
However, what does poor lead qualification lead to?
- Disagreement between sales and marketing departments. If marketing provides leads that aren’t yet ready to convert, sales reps have to shoulder an unenviable task that marketing should deal with. And such a turmoil inevitably takes its toll on business. Lead management software is a godsend in this case because it prompts sales and marketing to agree on the lead qualification criteria.
- Loss of time. Don’t be caught up in the leads that have little concern for your product. You don’t have to spread yourself too thin because the time wasted on unqualified leads could be the time invested in qualified ones.
- Sales department bites off more than it could chew. It is an outcome of the poor lead qualification downsides mentioned above. Sales department has its own capacity within which it could thrive.
Therefore, some tell-tale signs of conversion should be pointed out. And at the lead qualification phase you can make use of frameworks. They have their pros and cons depending on your company characteristics (size, industry, ect.).
A framework conceived in the middle of the 20th century, BANT is still in widespread use, though whether BANT framework is still applicable today is open to debate. There are the objectives in the table down below.
- Focus on the leads that are more likely to convert
- BANT framework has certainly stood the test of time. If applied flexibly now, you can make great use of it
- Asking about budget straightaway may put a prospect off. Nowadays understanding a prospect’s needs is at the forefront
- Lack of a personalized approach to customers
If BANT isn’t your cup of tea, CHAMP may be. CHAMP framework is a reinvented BANT in a way that is in tune with the times.
- Prioritization aspect encapsulates a wide range of a prospect’s priorities (time, prospect’s feedback and attitude, plans)
- Focus is shifted on leads rather than placed on their budget
- Timeline aspect can be overlooked. Optimizing a sales cycle is of great importance for the company. Therefore, when applying CHAMP timeframe criteria should be kept in mind.
MEDDIC framework stands out from the others not only for the number of letters in the acronym, but also for a head-to-toe prospect qualification.
- It’s one of the most effective and comprehensive frameworks
- The framework focuses on both the decision process and result
- A prospect’s needs are not the focal point
Once you’ve sorted out the wheat from the chaff, you can switch over to the next phase – lead nurturing. It means that you and your qualified lead have reached the middle of the sales funnel. You’ve passed the first half of the journey, but what if a prospect grows cold and decides to go back? Or what if a prospect even ends up following your competitor instead of you? Here is where the lead nurturing campaign unfolds.
Lead nurturing may require the same tools used in the lead generation phase (email campaign, content marketing, etc.) but the approach would differ.
- It would be much more client-focused and personalized than before
- Depending on how close a prospect to buying the product the content should vary (the closer a prospect to the bottom of the funnel, the more valuable and engaging content is available)
- It takes consistent engagement and communication with your prospects to outline the time for lead distribution
It is the stage when you’re sure enough that your efforts will pay off and the seeds that once germinated would yield fruits. During the lead distribution phase, a prospect is routed to the salesperson that reaches out to a prospect. The process is automated.
It’s of great importance that a prospect is transferred to the right salesperson that would boost a prospect’s conversion to a customer.
No doubt that a sound lead management strategy is a prerequisite for success, but no mistake lead management gives room for imagination. And, who knows, maybe you can come up with such a lead management approach that would draw leads like a magnet and move them right down the sales funnel. Wishing you the fastest conversion!