3 common lead management problems to avoid

Lead Management is a process of continuous improvement. Handling each lead both individually and efficiently is a difficult task, but modern marketing technology has made it much easier. Marketing automation software was originally created to help companies be smarter about how they handled lead management. As more companies consider switching from their email marketing platform (EMP) to a marketing automation platform (MAP), many of them are asking whether the added tools and extra investment are worth it. This article is designed to address some of the key benefits by examining 3 common lead management challenges and how marketing automation software helps solve them.

Which segment does this lead fall into?

Every campaign starts with a target segment. The messaging, timing, channels and imagery are all carefully tailored to resonate with members of that segment and performance is based on how effective the campaign was at reaching them.

For organisations using their EMP to handle email communication, creating each segment is a time-consuming, manual process. It involves determining who meets the criteria based on known demographic data, purchasing or assembling a list of those people, and loading that list into the EMP before launching the series of emails. Once launched, the campaign cannot be edited and all members of that list will go through the same set of emails.

Compare this to the segmentation process with marketing automation software. Segments are defined by the marketing team and set up within the platform. Qualifiers for each segment include demographic and behavioural criteria which, once met, automatically place a lead into that segment. Specific segments are enrolled in campaigns targeting them so that every time someone qualifies for a certain segment, they can trigger the start of their own campaign. If an individual’s behaviour indicates they no longer fit the segment, they can be automatically filtered into a more appropriate segment and enrolled in the campaign meant to target their current state. It’s more dynamic and more accurate because everything is determined by the behaviour of the lead on an ongoing basis. The entire process, once set up, is automatic.

Is this a high quality lead? Ready to close? How to transition to sales? (lead scoring, behaviour, CRM integration, collaboration with sales team)

Qualifying leads

According to Gleanster Research, “only 25% of leads are legitimate and should advance to sales.” This begs the question, what should you do with all those leads who aren’t ready to close? Determining which leads are high quality and which aren’t is critical to handling them efficiently and optimising financial results.

Without marketing automation, determining how qualified a lead is can be a giant guessing game. Deciding which leads should progress to sales and which leads still need nurturing (and which type of nurture campaign is best for each lead) is a long process based on demographic data and the manual input of a marketing or salesperson. Not the most effective approach.

Qualifying leads with marketing automation software is a different story. Once marketing and sales agree upon behavioural and demographic criteria for various levels of lead quality, automatic lead scoring can be set up. Each lead can be assigned a specific lead stage and score based on their position, which pages they visit, what content they consume, whether they’ve looked at pricing or contacted sales already, etc. With a CRM integration, the highest scores can trigger real-time alerts for the appropriate salesperson and time can be spent with only those leads that are the furthest along in their buying process.

What to do with leads that aren’t ready to close?

When a lead isn’t ready to purchase, what do you do with them? If you have marketing automation, you enroll them into an appropriate nurture campaign. When they’re ready to buy they will automatically qualify for a more relevant campaign through their behaviour. If you have email marketing, you either forget about them or manually put them into a campaign periodically…if you remember to. Or you can leave it to your sales team to follow up with them in the future.

“79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance.” -MarketingSherpa

Lead nurturing is a key way to stay top-of-mind with those leads that aren’t quite ready to pull the trigger. By continuing to communicate relevant information to these leads, you can ensure you are the first company they call when they are ready to buy. If you wait to follow up with them randomly in a few months, you’ve missed out on an opportunity to gain credibility and address any concerns they may have been harboring. Nurturing is especially important in industries with longer sales cycles where the research and decision processes can last months or years.

Lead management isn’t rocket science, it just takes the right tools and some proactive people to leverage them. By automating some of the key aspects of lead management, marketing automation software makes it possible to directly address many of the common challenges being faced by marketers. We chose three for this article but there are many different ways this software can create efficiencies and grow business, contact us to learn about more of them. Contact us if you require assistance in developing a results-driven lead management campaign.

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