Knowing how to close sales is only half the battle. If you want to acquire more customers, you need to have great leads. If the person sitting on the other side of the table isn’t interested in your product or service, it won’t matter how good your pitch is. That’s why you need a process for sales lead management.

But what is lead management, and how do you know if it’s worth your time? Let’s look at all of that in this comprehensive guide to lead management for your sales team. We’ll cover the various stages of managing leads and also offer a series of powerful tips to make the entire process smoother.

What Is Sales Lead Management?

Lead management is the complete process of finding, tracking, scoring, qualifying, and nurturing leads into fully-developed sales opportunities. It starts with capturing new leads using a variety of inbound and outbound marketing techniques and ends at the point when your sales reps are ready to close the deal. 

Pitching your product to a complete stranger and hoping to land an immediate sale isn’t just ridiculous; it’s a pipe dream. Sure, you may get lucky from time to time. But luck is hardly a marketing strategy. 

To close sales consistently and often, you need a proven process for capturing new leads and turning them into interested prospects. Up next, let’s take a look at all the advantages of having a well-defined system for managing your sales leads.

Advantages of Using a Lead Management System

A lead management system is a blueprint for converting qualified leads into new customers. It’s not set in stone, but it offers a streamlined process for your entire organization to follow. It ensures consistency in your sales process and prevents confusion within your sales and marketing teams

Here are a few advantages of having a properly defined lead management system for your startup or small business:

  • It provides you with a framework for attracting new leads. Capturing new leads is tough, but having a process can considerably reduce the burden on your SDRs. One way of doing that is to use lead generation tools like Datanyze, which gathers high-quality leads from social channels like LinkedIn.
  • It lets you track your leads for deeper insight into their purchasing behavior. A good lead management system relies on data, which can come from tracking new leads as well as existing customers on your company website.
  • It lets you qualify leads more effectively. According to Marketo, 96% of the people who visit your website aren’t ready to buy, yet. By having a lead management system in place, you can filter out leads that aren’t worth pursuing and focus on the ones most likely to convert.
  • It enables you to nurture leads with greater precision. By personalizing your marketing campaigns to individual customer journeys, you can make sure that you nurture your most important leads using an established lead management system.
  • It helps you avoid internal confusion. By having a detailed guide for your sales and marketing teams to follow, you can avoid internal confusion between company professionals responsible for different stages of handling leads.
5 stages of sales lead management

The 5 Stages of Sales Lead Management

Now that you know why lead management is so important, let’s take a look at the different steps making up the process.

However, one thing you should know about lead management is that it’s a non-linear process. Every customer journey is unique, which means that doing everything in a sequential order is almost impossible. That said, there are roughly five stages to sales lead management:

Lead Capture

Lead capture is the process of generating fresh leads for your sales and marketing campaigns. At this stage, you’ll want to attract a consistent flow of high-quality leads from a variety of different sources. You’ll also want to gather their contact information and other pertinent data relevant to your marketing campaigns. 

To capture leads consistently can mean taking part in networking events, hosting podcasts and webinars, using content marketing and search engine optimization, investing in online advertising, or using dedicated lead generation tools.

Lead Tracking

According to Hubspot’s 2021 Sales Enablement Report, 50% of your prospects are not a good fit for what you sell. That’s why sales professionals use a variety of tools to track and analyze their leads. By knowing where your visitors are from and how they behave when they’re on your website, you can decide if they’re a good fit for what you’re selling.

The first thing you’ll need is a customer relationship management tool (CRM) to keep track of your entire sales pipeline. You should also invest in tracking software like Google Analytics, which provides you with detailed metrics on how prospects interact with your business across different channels.

Lead Scoring

After you finish building your leads database, it’s time to categorize your leads using a scoring system to determine how likely they are to convert into potential customers. To score leads accurately, you’ll need access to important data such as their purchasing behavior or professional history. 

Luckily, there’s a tool for that! Datanyze doesn’t just provide you with accurate contact information on high-quality leads; it also helps you hone in on the best leads by giving you details on their professional history, personal interests, and job role. The best part? All of this information is sourced in compliance with international data protection regulations.

Lead Distribution

Depending on the data you’ve gathered so far, you should now be ready to qualify your leads and move them further across the sales funnel. Review each individual lead to see if they’re ready to be passed on to your team of sales professionals. If not, you may want to nurture them further using a drip campaign before you pass them on to your sales reps.

A drip campaign helps you produce qualified leads. By educating your prospects about your product or service, you’re giving them the opportunity to decide whether it’s what they’re looking for or if they should go elsewhere. 

Lead Nurturing

At this point, your leads are fully qualified and ready to be passed on to the sales team. Quota-carrying sales reps can communicate directly with the lead and try to understand their pain points. From there, salespeople can recommend tailored solutions that solve those specific needs and requirements.

Nurturing leads can take time, and it’s best not to rush the process. If you approach this part too aggressively or push your product without understanding your prospect’s pain points, you risk turning them off. 

6 sales lead management tips

5 Powerful Lead Management Tips You Should Know

Now that you’re aware of the different stages of the lead management process, it’s time to dig deep and start building your sales workflow. In order to convert leads efficiently, learn these powerful sales lead management tips by heart:

Build a Marketing Stack

Managing leads isn’t easy, which is why you’ll need a variety of tools and technology to assist you in the process. There are marketing automation tools for each individual stage of sales lead management.

For example, we recommend using Hubspot for customer relationship management, Datanyze for discovering new leads, Google Analytics for tracking and analyzing, as well as Campaign Monitor for email marketing and lead nurturing.

Determine Your Buyer Personas

A buyer persona is a fictitious representation of your ideal customer. Basically, you make a list of all the things you already know about the various types of buyer who might be interested in your product. Then, you turn them into useful customer profiles.

Creating a buyer persona helps you narrow down your target audience and learn more about their specific pain points. It also helps you conduct better lead research and lead generation.

Refine Your Lead Sources

80% of B2B social media leads come from LinkedIn, but there are a lot of other sources that can work for your startup or small business. Aside from social media, you can also rely on client referrals, content marketing, social media, and much more.

For the best results, try not to spread your marketing campaign too thinly. Focus on a few primary sources for gathering leads consistently, and make sure you use tracking and analytics to determine which sources perform best.

Segment Your Target Audience

Once you’ve developed a leads database, it’s time to segment your customers based on their needs and interests. Instead of using the same generic sales pitch for every prospect, tailor it to their individual needs and pain points.

You can use a mix of analytics tools and customer surveys to determine your customers’ interests and demographics. That’ll help you segment your leads database more effectively.

Develop a Scoring System

Unless you have a unified system for scoring and qualifying leads throughout your organization, your sales and marketing teams are going to have trouble ranking leads consistently. 

While there’s no one industry standard for you to follow, there’s a number of lead scoring systems and frameworks that you can build on. An example is the BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline) Framework created by IBM. 

Create a Drip Campaign

Email marketing is a highly effective way of not only attracting new leads but also qualifying them for your sales team. A drip campaign is a type of email marketing campaign that uses a series of automated emails that trigger at specific stages of the buyer’s journey.

A drip campaign is a great way to nurture leads who aren’t quite sales-ready and help them decide whether your product is a good fit. Aside from drip campaigns, you can also use other types of content to hook your prospects and tilt their opinions in your favor.

80% of marketers use automation software

How to Generate Leads Consistently

Before you can effectively manage your leads, you’ll need to develop a reliable and consistent system for attracting new prospects to your business. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to generate leads for your startup or small business.

  • According to Demand Metric, content marketing generates three times as many leads as outbound techniques at less than half the cost. You can create different forms of content to attract new sales leads, including blogs, infographics, ebooks, and podcasts.
  • Email marketing can be used to both generate new leads and qualify them. In fact, a great email list is the foundation of every good lead generation campaign. Use curated offers and powerful content to keep prospects glued to your email campaigns.
  • Rain Group claims that 69% of buyers accept calls from new salespeople. However, the secret to cold calling is (ironically) to make your calls as warm as possible. Focus on qualifying prospects rather than pushing for an immediate sale. Also, do your research.
  • Networking events are a huge source of potential leads for B2B companies. You don’t even have to be physically present for most networking events as a lot of them are conducted online.
  • Social media marketing is yet another way to generate leads for your business. Leverage platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to connect with your target audience and screen for potential leads.
  • Finally, you can use a variety of lead generation tools to automate the process of generating leads for you. There are lots of software companies with specific solutions to help you build your leads database. 

Should You Use Lead Generation Software?

Using a lead capture tool is a valid strategy used to automate and streamline your lead generation process. 

Not all businesses have the resources to go looking for leads themselves or hire an expensive sales agency to outsource lead generation. However, using free and paid tools can help you save both time and money. 

Lead generation software can also allow you to gather accurate contact information using privacy-compliant methods. With the additional information you receive from these tools, you can even personalize your sales campaign to individual customer interests.

Datanyze: The Best B2B Lead Gen Tool for Startups and SMBs

Datanyze is a lead generation tool for companies based in the U.S.A, Canada, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. It focuses on generating high-quality B2B leads using a variety of privacy-compliant sources, such as LinkedIn.

Datanyze gets you accurate contact information on every individual lead, including email addresses, mobile numbers, and direct-dial phone numbers. It also provides other relevant information — such as professional interests and job roles — to better understand your leads.

Datanyze’s Google Chrome Extension lets you gather all this data and manage it from one place using a smooth and intuitive dashboard. You can get extensive information on potential leads while performing simple profile searches on LinkedIn. To get started with Datanyze, just sign up for a free account and install the browser extension!