7 Ways to Improve Your Lead Management Process

The importance of lead generation is ingrained in the mind of every modern marketer— the more high-quality leads you bring in, the better. But, as the buyer’s journey becomes increasingly multifaceted, it’s now clear that lead generation is just one piece of the marketing puzzle. In order to convert leads into paying customers, you must have a comprehensive lead management process in place.

But, the process of lead management is every bit as multilayered and complex as the modern buyer’s journey. Even the most seasoned marketers struggle to build the perfect lead management strategy for their business.

Fortunately, we’re here to help. Whether you’re new to lead management, or you’re looking for some tips to fine-tune your lead management process, today’s blog post is for you. Let’s get into it!

What is lead management?

Lead management refers to the entire process of generating leads, qualifying them, tracking their activity, passing them on to sales and prioritizing well-timed follow-up.

In other words, lead management is a complex system comprised of several different processes, each of which is essential to your success as a business. Think of lead management like a house of cards. If you lack stability in one area—lead generation, lead scoring, routing, etc. — then your entire strategy will come crashing down and you’ll miss out on potential customers.

With a comprehensive lead management process in place, you’ll fill your pipeline with high-quality leads and maximize the individual value of each lead. Consider these statistics (source):

  • 46% of marketers with mature lead management processes have sales teams that follow up on more than 75% of marketing-generated leads.
  • 25% of marketers who adopt mature lead management processes report that sales teams contact prospects within one day.
  • Companies with mature lead generation and management practices have a 9.3% higher sales quota achievement rate.
  • Companies that automate lead management see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months.

Lead management allows your business to effectively organize and nurture leads throughout the buyer’s journey, and improve your response time to sales-ready leads. All of these steps work together to produce your ideal outcome— an increase in revenue.

7 Tips for Improved Lead Management

As we’ve established, lead management is a complex, multi-step process. No matter how many times you’ve tweaked your strategy, there is always room for improvement. Let’s look at some specific tips to keep in mind as you fine-tune your lead management process.

1. Create buyer personas.

First and foremost, effective lead management requires a deep understanding of the characteristics that make a prospect an ideal fit for your products and services. Think about it— if you don’t understand your best buyers, how can you accurately qualify them, nurture them, or route them to sales at precisely the right moment?

For this reason, buyer personas are essential to your lead management strategy. If you’ve read the ZoomInfo blog in the past you’re familiar with buyer personas. But if you’re not, here’s a quick rundown. Buyer personas are semi-fictional profiles of your ideal buyers. These profiles are constructed using a combination of existing customer data, anecdotal observation, and quantitative research.

Buyer personas won’t just help you identify and target high-quality leads, but they’ll inform every step of your lead management process. Since we’ve already discussed buyer personas at length, we’ll move on. But, we urge you to read the following post for more information: The Beginner’s Guide to Buyer Personas.

2. Personalize your lead capture process.

In order to effectively manage leads, you must collect the right information at the point of conversion. But, no two leads are the same — and a one-size-fits-all approach to lead generation will result in insufficient data.

Here are some tips to make your lead capture process more personalized:

  • Use custom web forms: Prospects arrive at your site from a number of channels and at various stages of the buyer’s journey. One standardized lead capture form won’t account for these differences. For example, the information you must gather from a person who visits a free trial page may be different than the information you must gather from a webinar attendee. Build custom landing pages so prospects reach different forms based on how they arrived at your site.
  • Leverage chatbots: Chatbots are the most effective modern method to personalize the lead capture process. For one, prospects are more likely to disclose personal information in a conversational setting rather than through a typical web form. And, chatbots allow you to capture the data points that are most relevant and applicable to each individual lead. For more information, check out our recent post on conversational marketing.
  • A/B test your landing pages: Personalized lead generation isn’t a process you’ll get right on your first try. Test different form fields, CTAs, and more to optimize your landing pages for higher conversion rates and improved lead management.

Personalization will help you boost conversions and generate more high-quality leads. Most importantly, you’ll gather the intelligence you need to manage each individual lead with the tailored approach they require.

3. Score your leads.

Remove the guesswork from lead management by implementing an automated lead scoring system. Lead scoring is the process of ranking the sales-readiness of each lead based on predetermined criteria.

Automated lead scoring improves your lead management strategy in a number of ways. First, you’ll improve the quality of leads you send to sales, which facilitates better sales and marketing alignment. And, lead scoring helps your sales team prioritize which leads to follow up with first. Timely follow-up is crucial to lead management. In fact, 35 to 50% of sales go to the vendor who responds first (source).

4. Nurture leads with targeted content.

Lead nurturing— or the process of developing relationships and guiding prospects through the buyer’s journey— is an integral part of the lead management process. It answers the question: “What do I do with leads who are qualified, but not yet ready to make a purchase?”

Consider these statistics on the impact of effective lead nurturing (source):

  • Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost.
  • Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchase than non-nurtured leads.
  • Nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads.

We recommend you map your content strategy with the various stages of the buyer’s journey to nurture leads more effectively. This strategy allows you to serve the right content to the right leads, at exactly the right time.

For more lead nurturing best practices, read the following post: The B2B Marketer’s Lead Nurturing Guide.

5. Establish a service-level agreement for lead routing.

The hand-off of leads from marketing to sales is a crucial step in the buyer’s journey. We’ve already discussed the importance of quick follow-up, but we’ll leave you with one more statistic: Online leads can go cold within just 90 minutes (source).

For fast and efficient lead routing, your business must have a detailed system in place for assigning inbound leads to a specific team or sales rep. Establish a service-level agreement (SLA) between your marketing and sales departments to outline the specifics of your lead routing procedure. This official document should include the following details:

  • Agreed-upon definitions and scores for sales-qualified leads (SQLs) and marketing-qualified leads (MQLs).
  • Clear criteria to determine which leads get routed to which team or rep.
  • Expectations for sales follow-up time.

An SLA will hold your marketing and sales teams accountable during the handoff process.

6. Keep your database clean.

As a marketer, you can get lead management exactly right and still see terrible results if you don’t prioritize data hygiene. Here are a few tips to avoid dirty data throwing off your lead management process:

  • Identify duplicate records: 15% of leads contain duplicated data (source). Combat this problem by scrubbing your lead database and removing duplicates. Of course, sorting through your entire database on a regular basis is impossibly time-consuming. We recommend using a data intelligence provider or marketing automation platform to automatically de-deduplicate records as they come in.
  • Implement automatic verification: Leads will often submit fake or outdated contact information in order to remain anonymous. Keep false records out of your database by implementing a verification process on your lead capture forms. Leads will receive an error message if they submit false information, and you’ll keep inaccurate data from entering your database.
  • Prioritize ongoing data hygiene: Even if you follow the above tips, dirty data will still contaminate your database, predominantly through natural data decay. For this reason, it’s imperative to invest in a marketing intelligence solution that automatically audits and cleans your lead database.

7. Prioritize integrative technologies.

The strength of your lead management process relies on the technology you use to store and analyze lead data. It’s safe to assume you store this data in multiple systems, including your marketing automation software and CRM. If these tools don’t integrate with one another, your data will be kept in separate silos. And, ultimately can slow down or complicate the lead management process .

Invest in marketing technologies that integrate with your CRM and other data storage systems. Among other benefits like improved data quality, integrative technology facilitates more seamless lead routing and more efficient sales follow-up.

Key Takeaways on Lead Management

Generating high-quality leads is important for business growth. But, only if you handle each lead with the care and attention they deserve. Lead management may seem like an intricate and demanding process. However, it’s a critical step toward marketing efficiency, streamlined sales outreach, and ultimately more revenue.

For more information about ZoomInfo, the leading business information company, contact our sales team today.