Are you looking to expand from a founder-led sales process to something more advanced? Then you need to manage your sales pipeline with the right technology, team and strategy.
Effective lead management includes the following steps:
Lead generation involves attracting interest in your company via sales and marketing. How you do this varies a lot based on your budget, offering, tech stack and the size of your marketing department.
For brevity, we will cover four successful approaches used by high-growth teams.
Showing your expertise through search-optimised blogs and videos can build trust with your target audience. Ideally, you would usher your ideal customer to a well-optimised landing page with a compelling call-to-action.
One thing to consider is that SEO can take time to compound and requires a significant investment of time and marketing resources to get off the ground. If you need quick sales, you should combine it with another approach, like paid media or sales outreach.
Social media can be a great platform if you have sales leaders with strong personal brands and a solid content strategy. You can repurpose and share content, participate in industry discussions, and nurture customer relationships.
However, social media also poses some challenges. Balancing promotional posts with engaging and authentic content can be complex. Additionally, selecting platforms that align with your audience's preferences and demographics is crucial. Sparktoro is an excellent tool for researching your target audience, the platforms and the content they prefer.
Paid advertising can effectively target buyers further down the sales funnel. Google ads, Facebook and LinkedIn offer the best channels. Search is the most common online method buyers use to research purchase decisions, and social platforms have advanced targeting and personalisation options.
Keeping on top of your customer acquisition cost is crucial to ensuring sustainable growth. If you don't, you risk funnelling money into advertising campaigns with unsustainable profit margins as you scale.
If you are a new brand entering a crowded space, or creating a new category, your marketing tactics may be limited. If you are also limited by budget, you may rely on word of mouth to grow and run into obstacles.
An alternative approach is to use cold outreach. This can be via phone or email and can help you reach prospective customers.
Outreach campaigns are ideally coordinated between marketing and sales departments. This can ensure a consistent strategy, messaging, positioning, and data flow between each team to improve future campaigns.
It's also worth mentioning another way of considering lead generation that incorporates the four elements above.
"Seeds, Nets, and Spears" is a framework that sales and marketing teams use to describe different customer acquisition strategies.
Effective sales organisations would typically use a balanced combination of seeds, nets, and spears, adapting the ratio according to their product, market, and business model.
A crucial aspect of managing leads is identifying and scoring leads to disqualify bad fits and focus on your ideal customer profile. In this section, we will discuss the process of creating criteria for lead scoring and explore the concepts of hot, warm, cold and bad fit leads.
Lead scoring is a powerful tool for prioritising leads, ensuring sales teams focus on the most promising prospects. To develop criteria for lead scoring, follow these steps:
By implementing a lead scoring system, sales teams can efficiently allocate their resources, focusing on prospects more likely to convert.
Understanding the differences between hot, warm, and cold leads can help sales teams effectively target their efforts for maximum results.
Ideally, every lead generated by your marketing team is a great fit. But, realistically, you will have a portion of enquiries that are unsuitable or unprofitable.
This could be a combination of factors outlined below.
You may be used to dealing with large enterprise clients with hundreds of employees, and smaller operations are not financially viable.
Conversely, you may be more suited to startups because larger firms' procurement and legal requirements are too complex to deal with.
They want enterprise-level features on a startup budget. Over-promising to drive a quick sale does not make sense if these features aren't planned.
You may be focused on a specific industry or niche. This is common in specialised B2B services. For example, selling professional services (recruitment, accounting) to the technology sector.
You may not be able to handle specific requirements. For instance, you have a SaaS without Single Sign On (SSO) in your roadmap, which is an essential requirement for certain buyers.
This is not always a factor, but often you want to deal with someone who can influence the purchase decision. Particularly if the cost and implementation times of your product are pretty low.
For high-cost or high-risk products, you may be selling to a buying committee, in which case dealing with someone coordinating the purchase decision can work out fine.
Sometimes, you have engaged a prospect too early in their purchase decision. They may be aware they need to buy but are not prepared to make a decision.
This group are not necessarily bad fit leads. Instead, they should be nurtured further through consultative selling or marketing efforts.
If your lead enquiry contains Gmail or Yahoo emails and you are selling enterprise deals of 5-6 figures, it could be challenging. In my experience marketing to B2B audiences, enquiries from free email domains are unlikely to pass financial due diligence and risk management tests. It is relatively cheap to set up an email domain these days.
Similar challenges occur if you are given invalid phone numbers. Your sales teams are more grateful for legitimate numbers because closing deals over the phone can be more straightforward.
Establish and maintain relationships with those who show interest in your products or services to keep your brand top of mind. Provide ongoing value through email campaigns, informative content, and social media interactions.
Sales reps play a crucial role in lead nurturing. They establish relationships with prospects and guide clients through the customer journey. Trust-building is essential for long-term success and increased sales revenue.
Sales representatives should:
A tailored customer journey fosters loyalty and optimises lead conversion.
There are two elements to improving conversion rates.
You should optimise specific channels to enhance the quality of leads and the likelihood that they will convert to sales.
Leveraging these channels facilitates lead nurturing and, ultimately, higher sales.
Who you pass leads to is a significant factor in their likelihood of converting. Your agents likely have different skill sets, and understanding this is key to effective sales.
To paraphrase some of Jason's concepts, it is recommended that you:
Focusing on existing customers is a wise choice for improving sales revenue. Improving customer retention and increasing the lifetime value of customers can lead to great results.
One way to achieve this is through loyalty programs incentivising customers to return and make repeat purchases. In a B2B environment, providing dedicated customer success teams and account managers can strengthen relationships and build trust.
Expanding sales revenue also involves implementing upselling and cross-selling tactics. Upselling encourages customers to purchase a higher-priced, premium version of the chosen product, while cross-selling suggests complementary goods or services that can be added to their initial purchase.
These strategies can stimulate sales growth by addressing customer needs and providing additional value.
Furthermore, implementing referral programs can amplify these efforts. Satisfied customers are likelier to recommend a business to their friends and acquaintances, increasing the potential buyer pool. This word-of-mouth marketing helps obtain new leads and contributes to revenue expansion.
Customer relationship management (CRM) tools can automate lead management tasks, track interactions, and monitor overall performance. In turn, these insights can inform ongoing adjustments to sales strategies, ultimately boosting revenue.
Selecting the right CRM is crucial. It streamlines sales processes, promotes efficiency and helps in managing leads. Consider features like integration, automation, and customisation. Some popular options are Salesforce, HubSpot, and Zoho CRM.
It is also vital that you maintain good database hygiene practices and keep your CRM records clean and accurate on an ongoing basis.
Use Google Analytics to track and monitor lead behaviour. This data provides insights and helps tailor marketing strategies. Benefits include:
Implementing the correct CRM software and tracking tools will improve your lead management process, increasing sales revenue.
Think of it like planting a garden
With the right care, your revenue garden will thrive. It's an art, science, and a bit of green thumb. It's the heart of sales success.
Looking for advice on improving your lead management process? Reach out for a strategy audit to let me know where you want to go and I can help you get there.