Leads are the growth engine of any sales-oriented company. Organizations of all sizes spend billions of dollars each year generating these precious bits of potential opportunity. But converting sales leads into customers requires meticulous and nearly constant management. It can be a cumbersome undertaking, at best.
In the past, comprehensive lead management systems were primarily designed for use by large corporations. However, advances in technology have made lead management software available and affordable to businesses of all sizes and kinds. In fact, some popular systems like SalesForce start as low as $25 per month per user.
Most sales and business experts agree lead management systems are invaluable tools for cultivating and converting leads, enhancing relationships with existing customers, and, ultimately, growing your business. And while lead management systems offer varying features and capabilities, here are some of the ways these powerful tools can help your company.
Enhanced collaboration of sales efforts
In most companies, sales is a collaborative effort. For example, marketing generates leads, they are passed along to sales, and then distributed to individuals or teams tasked with pursing the lead. For this system to work, marketing needs to know what sales is doing, and vice versa. They need to be working seamlessly together, and that requires the constant flow of information.
One of the most basic functions of lead management software is to give everyone involved in the sales process real-time access to the status of every lead. The sales manager no longer has to ask the marketing department if information was sent to a lead. In most software available today, like SalesForce and Azurepath, activity is immediately tracked and instantly available to all team members, enhancing efficiency, reducing redundancy, and improving effectiveness.
What’s more, lead management systems quickly get leads into the hands of the appropriate people. Gone are the days of leaving a post-it note on the northern district manager’s desk with lead contact information. When leads are generated, either automatically through the web site or from a salesperson at a trade show, systems like Azurepath quickly funnel them to the appropriate team members. And most people in the sales field know, the sooner you start working a lead, the better the chances are of converting.
Since many of the lead management systems available today are cloud-based, all information can be accessed anywhere, anytime, from any device. Plus, most lead management systems give you the ability to send text or email alerts to personnel when relevant information has entered the system.
Lead analysis and qualification
Not every lead is worth following. However, deciding which ones to pursue can be difficult for even the most seasoned sales and marketing professionals. Thanks to computers and algorithms, human beings no longer have to make these judgement calls. All you have to do is feed the leads into systems like PipelineDeal and the software analyzes, qualifies, and ranks all leads. All you have to do is start working them.
Automated Lead Nurturing
Very few leads are “sales-ready” when they are first received. To convert them, they must be worked, or “nurtured.” Whether this means responding with an email, sending requested information, following up with a phone call, or all of these, lead management systems track all nurturing actives, prompt them when necessary, and record them within the system.
For example, when a lead comes in through the web site, popular systems like VanillaSoft and SalesForce can generate an email response, direct the lead go the appropriate salesperson, and alert marketing to send materials. Each step of the process is reported and team members sent a status update. When it’s time for the salesperson to call the lead, the system will prompt the salesperson to take this action. No steps are skipped, no opportunities missed, and everyone up to date about lead status.
Improve Marketing and Lead-Generating Efforts
Information is everything when it comes to sales and marketing. Perhaps one of the most valuable features of lead management software is to provide you with a detailed analysis of your marketing and other lead-generating efforts. Reporting capabilities vary, but tools like Pardot give you the data you need to clearly identity the source or sources of your highest-quality leads. This information will then allow you to concentrate your marketing efforts on the most productive channels and eliminate less fruitful marketing efforts.