You know that your business depends on leads. Without leads, you can’t get new customers, and your business can’t grow. And without lead management, you can’t tell how your marketing is working to get you those leads, who those leads are, or how to follow up with them.
Lead management is a very important component of a successful business (and something that’s a lot less complicated than it sounds!).
It would be like if you met your soulmate at a bar but then you never got their last name, lost their phone number, and forgot the bar you met them at (sounds like a rough night!). How will you ever find them to continue your love story?
We’re here to help you avoid this tragedy by answering all your lead management questions, including:
- What is lead management?
- Why is lead management important?
- What is lead management used for?
- How do you build a lead management system?
What is lead management?
First, let’s get this out of the way: What’s a lead? A lead is any person who is interested in your business and has taken some step to let you know, either by calling you or providing their contact information, but has not yet become a paying customer.
Okay, now let’s define lead management. Lead management is the process of collecting lead information so you can take an action—either by following up, nurturing the lead, and/or tracking information about the lead even as they become a customer.
A lead management system is a tool or software that allows you to perform lead management. This can also be called a customer relationship management tool (CRM).
Why is lead management important?
Lead management is a must for businesses of any size. Here are three major reasons lead management is important.
Lead management helps you stay on top of leads
This is kind of a given, but without lead management, keeping up with your leads is nearly impossible. Without some form of lead management—even a centralized Excel spreadsheet—how do you know who to follow up with, or who called in need of more information, or if you have any leads at all?
And a lead management system can take that to the next level because it can track leads automatically (depending on the marketing channel) and automate some of the follow-up for you.
As you can see in this lead management example, all incoming leads are organized in one central inbox that includes the lead’s information and how they became a lead.
Lead management provides valuable data
You know your customers really well, but wouldn’t it be nice to know some concrete data around how new customers are discovering your business, what type of information they’re looking for that will help them convert, and how long it takes a typical lead to convert into a customer?
Lead management can give you all that data (and, in some cases, more!). With a lead management system in place, you’re able to track how leads find you, common lead questions (or concerns), and how many touchpoints, follow-ups, and nurture emails it takes before they become a customer.
Some lead management systems provide information about what device leads were using when they saw information about your business, which can help inform your strategy. For example, if you notice most of your leads are coming from a mobile device, you can invest more in mobile marketing strategies.
Lead management puts you in control of your business growth
The goal of pretty much every marketing strategy boils down to growing your business. But without lead management in place, it’s nearly impossible to keep your business growing. You could be losing leads, spending your marketing budget on the wrong strategies, or missing an opportunity to get even more leads by not spending enough budget on the marketing strategies that are working best.
Lead management benefits your business because it gives you greater control over your growth and arms you with data that can inform and improve both your strategy and your business.
When you have the right information about your leads and how your marketing is working to drive those leads, you can make better decisions for your business.
What is lead management used for?
Great question. Lead management is used in a few different ways and includes multiple features that can benefit your business.
Here are some features of lead management:
Some lead management systems allow you to track where your leads are coming from. This can help you make data-informed decisions about your marketing strategy because you’re able to see which marketing channels are driving the most leads.
Contact info collection and storing
The basic function of a lead management system is to collect and keep track of lead information like name, phone number, email address, address, and any notes about the lead.
Lead management allows you to keep track of all your lead (and customer) information in one place so you can easily contact your leads and customers, follow up with leads, and more.
Lead follow up
A lead management system will allow you to keep track of leads that you have followed up with and leads that are in need of follow-up so you and your team can keep on top of incoming leads. Some lead management systems will even automate this for you.
A lead management system can help you nurture leads as they move through the buyer’s journey until they become a customer. This can be done through automated or manual emails that you can set to send to a lead depending on where they are in your set customer journey.
Lead scoring is a process where you or your team can determine how qualified a lead is to become a customer and where they are in your customer journey.
For example, if you follow up with a lead who is asking for basic information about your landscaping services because they’re gathering quotes, you know that they aren’t likely to become a customer very soon and will need to be nurtured with relevant emails for a couple of months.
But if you follow up with a lead who is hoping someone will come out to mow their lawn in a week or two, that is a hot lead that you would want to follow up with again soon so you can book the job.
All these features go into good lead management because they help you manage leads until they become customers.
How to get started with lead management
Now that you understand how important lead management is and what goes into it, you probably want to get started (if you aren’t managing your leads already). Here are some ways to get started with lead management.
Identify the right lead management system
The first step in getting started with lead management is obviously identifying the right lead management system. There are several features you should look for when determining what lead management system to choose, including:
- A central repository for lead information. This is the basic feature you want your lead management system to include so you can access all your leads (and customers) in one place.
- Lead tracking. Like we mentioned, lead tracking enables you to see how your leads are finding you.
- Lead nurturing. You want a way to nurture your leads until they become customers—preferably directly from your lead management system.
- Call recording. Call recording is a great feature that allows you to listen to lead phone calls. If you can do this directly through your lead management system, you can better manage your incoming leads (and improve your call handling while you’re at it!).
You also want to look for a lead management system that is easy to implement, cost-effective, and provides the data and reporting you need to make informed decisions about your marketing.
Implement your lead management system
Once you have your lead management system identified, it’s time to implement it. This may mean adding a tracking pixel to your website that ties to your lead management system or updating your phone lines. It’s also important to create multiple lead collection points on your website through a lead capture form, click-to-call buttons on mobile, and an easy way to email or chat with you through your site.
Implementing your lead management system may also include creating lead nurture paths, automated emails, notifications, and more depending on your specific lead management system’s features.
Taking the time to properly set up your lead management system can help you set your business up for success long term.
You’ll also want to train your team on your lead management system so everyone is aware of how to use it and how to follow up with leads.
This brings me to my next point…
Create a lead follow up process
Lead management is just one piece of the puzzle. Once you have your lead management system implemented, you’ll want to create a process for following up with leads.
Here are some tips for creating a good lead follow-up process.
- Create a timeframe for following up with new leads. You’ll want to set a goal for how quickly you or your team will follow up with leads. Within 24 hours is a good timeframe to shoot for as most leads will choose to do business with whoever calls them back first.
- Set up automated responses. Some lead management tools will allow you to create automated responses for leads who contact you after business hours that include a timeframe to expect a follow-up. Setting up these automated responses lets leads know you’ve received their information and give you some extra time to follow up once business hours resume the next day.
- Implement nurture paths for your leads. Many lead management systems will allow you to create different nurture paths for your leads depending on where they are in the buyer’s journey. This helps you stay top of mind with them as they’re making their buying decisions and can automate lead follow-up.
- Designate team members to help with lead management. If you can, designate specific members of your team to help with lead management by either sorting leads into different nurture paths or following up—or both! This will help you stay on top of incoming leads.
- Assign leads. Many lead management systems will also allow you to assign leads to different team members for follow-up. This can streamline the process and help you route the right lead to the right person based on their inquiry.
Track your leads
Your lead management system can give you basic information like how many leads are coming in per day, which can help you with everything from scheduling employees to budgeting.
If your lead management system allows you to track where your leads are coming from, you can also use that information to determine the best marketing mix for your business to get the most leads for your budget.
Analyze your reporting
Once you have your lead tracking information collected for a few months, you can analyze your reporting and make changes as needed.
You can also start to see trends that can help you improve your business—whether you’re noticing leads asking the same questions over and over (like, what are your hours of operation), or you’re hearing some call handling issues that need to be fixed.
If you start to notice a pattern of when calls are coming in and how many you receive, you can better allocate time and resources to managing your phone lines and scheduling your team.
Additionally, if your lead management system provides information about your leads, you can use these insights to inform your marketing strategy and your campaigns on those channels.
For example, if you notice that most of your leads are coming from your Facebook advertising and PPC campaigns, you can put more emphasis on these campaigns and begin to analyze the specific language or offers that are generating the most leads. Based on that information, you can use the same (or similar) offers as part of your organic social media marketing and display advertising campaigns to see what’s resonating with your audience there.
By using the information you gather from your lead management system, you can make meaningful changes and adjustments that help you not only get more leads but convert more leads into customers.
Become a lead management pro
Lead management is a must for any business of any size. Lead management systems give you access to lead information, data that can inform your marketing decisions, and features that enable you to convert more leads into customers—you just have to know where to start! Learn more about lead management here.