Lead management: are you the one for me?

Both in your personal life and in your business efforts you should be selective in who you’re spending your time with and money on. Not everyone is going to bring you the return on investment you were hoping for. But how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? And how will you prevent others from influencing your choices?

Since I’m not a psychologist, from this point in the blog I’ll refrain from giving advice on your personal life choices, instead I’d like to talk to you about lead management. Some passages might sound as basic marketing 101, but in our experience many companies we encounter are still puzzled when it comes to this topic. Marketing and sales tend to operate in silos and there is little to no communication about lead criteria and lead acceptation. Many have invested in pretty extensive (and not to mention expensive) tooling to help them in this process. Yet in my opinion, everything starts with getting your basics and definitions straight.

Your sales- and service channels, marketeers and partners are doing their utmost to collect as many leads for your company as possible. Great! But as we all know quality will in most cases surpass quantity. How do you qualify your leads? Let’s start off by determining what a lead exactly might be for you.

What information would you need to qualify as a lead?

Leads come in from various sources; varying from newsletter subscribers to webinar registrations. Just an e-mail address might be enough for some to qualify, yet in an ideal world you’d like to know more about this potentially interesting prospect. How else will you determine who this lead is and what the potential might be?

Are you indeed a prospect?

Talking about prospects; not every lead you will collect is a potential customer. Some might not fit the bill when it comes to authority, others might just not be able to afford your service or product. Some prospects may not be able to use your service or product because they’re outside your footprint. But does that mean these leads are not interesting for you? Of course not! They have shown interest in your company and just because they’re not “hot” right now, doesn’t mean they will never be. It does mean however that it would be a shame if you would target them full-force when the chances right now are small they will convert to a customer.

So when are you going to start spending?

You should have narrowed down your list of leads down to prospects at this point. To determine what kind marketing-trickery will unleash upon this prospect and at what cost, you might want to ask yourself the following questions;

  • How badly do you want this prospect? (potential)
  • How badly does this prospect want you? (engagement level)

As mentioned before; prospects that need some more time to come to full bloom will need to be treated with a little TLC. It would be a shame to target them with the wrong message at the wrong time, simply because they aren’t ready for what you’re offering, or because you just don’t know them well enough. I tend to compare lead nurturing to the early stages of a new relationship. You should show your interest and appreciate their interest in return, but don’t overdo it by showering them with attention and running the risk of scaring them off. It would be shame to lose a prospect that your company has worked hard for to obtain.

How do I make an objective decision who my “hot” leads are?

A widely used and useful technique you could apply to objectify the quality of your prospects and increase your sales and marketing effiency/effectiveness is lead scoring.  The basic principle comes down to awarding points based on the level of potential and engagement. For instance; a prospect that has registered for an event will be awarded more points than a newsletter opt-in. In my next blog we’ll take a closer look at this technique.

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