One of the major goals that every business shares for their inbound marketing is increasing the number of leads that they attract. However, the number of leads you're generating via your inbound strategy isn't necessarily a measure of your success. The ultimate goal is to convert those leads and to nurture them through the sales funnel. If you're attracting a significant number of leads but your conversions remain low or you're unable to close an adequate percentage of sales , then it likely means that you're having trouble with your lead management process.

Working with an inbound lead management consultant will help to ensure that you're not wasting the leads you're attracting and that you're able to capture and close at a good ratio. Here at SMB Advisors, we provide professional inbound lead management consulting services to businesses across multiple industries. 

 

What is Lead Management?

Lead management is basically what it sounds like--the process of managing the leads that you generate. However, it's not as simple a task as it might appear. Managing your leads requires that you keep track of their actions and determine when or if they should be engaged and then nurturing them through the buyer's cycle. Having a lead management process in place will help you with the following:

 

Effectively managing the pass over from the marketing department to sales

One of the biggest issues that businesses have is ensuring that their marketing and sales teams are communicating with one another. Because they are separate entities, there's often a disconnect between the two. The marketing team focuses on identifying and attracting leads. The sales team focuses on nurturing and closing those leads. If there's no lead management process in place, then getting your leads from the marketing process to the sales process can be a challenge. 

 

Ensuring that the best opportunities are met with the most sales resources

One of the main challenges that arise out of the disconnect between marketing and sales teams is the inability of the sales team to identify high quality leads. Many of the leads you attract may only have a passing interest in your business. The last thing you want is for your sales team to waste their time attempting to nurture such leads, and potentially missing out on leads that are ready to buy. With a proper lead management system in place, your marketing team should be able to identify high-quality leads for your sales team to focus on.

 

Making sure that no lead ‘falls between the cracks’

If you're not tracking the leads that you generate, then you won't know whether they're ready to close. If you have a lot of leads coming in from different sources, there's a good chance that many of these leads will be lost simply because you don't have an inbound lead management process in place. For example, if a lead has spent a significant amount of time exploring your website and engaging with your content on multiple, separate visits, then they need to be engaged. If they aren't, there's a chance that they will lose interest and will move on to another website. Not only do you lose out on a possible sale, but all of the resources you put into generating those leads that you've lost were wasted.

 

Optimizing systems and processes to allow for more efficient sales and marketing

Effective inbound lead management requires that you optimize your processes and implement various practices and automation tools to help track the leads you've generated and to properly nurture them throughout the buyer's journey. Make sure that your marketing and sales personnel are using the same system and have access to the same data. This will prevent a disconnect between the two teams, improve communication, and improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of your lead management process.

 

What is the difference between managing inbound vs outbound leads?

Outbound leads are leads that you reach out to via cold calls or cold emails (meaning, that the lead did not initiate the interaction, you did). Outbound leads have not taken any kind of action that indicates they might be interested in your products, services, or overall business. They may not have even known about your business until you reached out to them.

Outbound lead generation often involves purchasing lists of outbound leads that you can then reach out to. Many of these leads will end up being low quality. However, you may still hit on outbound leads who show interest. During such interactions, the sales team will typically try to close right away. Basically, the nurturing process goes out the window -- you go from bringing awareness to your product or service to trying to close the sale within a single interaction.

Managing inbound leads is much different. This is because your leads have taken the initiative--they have shown their interest. Once they are captured, they provide you with permission to engage with them (whereas outbound leads do not provide permission, which is why that form of marketing is often called "interruption" marketing). But it's because inbound leads move through the first few stages of the buyer's cycle on their own that it's so important that you have an effective inbound lead management process in place. 

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How Our Consultants Can Help

We will evaluate your inbound lead management process (or lack of one) to determine where your inefficiencies or problem areas lie. We will then implement the tools and processes needed to improve your management process, bridging the divide between your marketing and sales teams. The following are some of the more specific ways in which our inbound lead management consultants can help:

 

Assist you to build an internal lead management process

We can help you build an internal lead management process that both your marketers and sales personnel can easily follow. We'll implement a process that will prevent leads from falling through the gaps and that will allow your marketers to identify what leads are ready to be engaged by your sales team. 

 

Work with your existing software and tools

You'd be surprised at how many businesses have the software in place and the tools at their disposal to implement an effective inbound lead management process but simply haven't done so. In some cases, this is because they aren't familiar with the ins and outs of what their software is capable of. We can evaluate your existing software and tools and use them to build your lead management process.

 

Make Additional Software Recommendations Where Needed

There are a lot of different software applications and tools available that can help improve your inbound lead management process. For example, automation tools can allow your leads to be scored based on the actions that they take, making it easy for your sales team to differentiate high quality leads from low-quality leads. There are also automation tools available that make it easy to assign leads to your sales personnel based on parameters that you can customize.

Here at SMB Advisors, we are familiar with an extensive variety of inbound marketing and sales software solutions and can recommend the best tools for your lead management process based on your company's unique needs.

Design Your Lead Management Process

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