New customer acquisition is the lifeblood of many businesses, but it can be costly. One of marketing automation's big wins is the ability to create a continuous process to do lead management at scale. The key to making it work is developing an effective process to automate.
Here are some lead management best practices that will help you:
1. Define and document your lead management process
- Have a clear, mutual understanding between sales and marketing as to what a lead looks like. Include all factors that matter; epending on your business, those could be industry, role, technology use, location, or a host of others.
- Have a plan for how leads are qualified and routed.
- Have a plan for how you manage, store, and archive data.
2. Include all lead management stakeholders
- Sales must be included on many levels, from inside sales reps to strategic account managers. Marketing should include at least those who plan and execute strategies and campaigns.
- Marketing and nurturing content development processes are part of the lead management process and should be defined and maintained alongside the other steps in the prospect cycle.
3. Create buyer personas for leads
- Understand your customer beyond demographics. Look to your existing best customers to build model personas, including characteristics, triggers, motivations, desires, needs, and preferences.
- An effective persona has the customer's goals at its core.
- In the B2B and considered-purchase world, develop personae for champions, buyers, decision-makers, and users. Each has their own requirements and agendas.
4. Create persona-specific content
- Know your buyer personas to develop the key messages and core content that speak to those buyers.
- Your content should depict specifically how you can meet the unique needs of a prospect to build trust.
- Different personae prefer different channels. Understanding a persona's willingness to engage over social media, email, traditional phone outreach, and other touch points is vital.
5. Watch, listen, and adjust
- Stakeholders should agree on metrics. Track them, and evaluate at least monthly.
- Pay close attention to basic statistics such as email open and clickthrough rates. Don't be afraid to make rapid changes if a campaign is falling flat before your very eyes. Today's marketing automation tools provide the flexibility to change tactics on a dime – use it!
- Stay in touch with existing customers, and pay close attention to those that leave. Face up to what your customers tell you is wrong with your business, and use it to design a better customer experience for new arrivals.
6. Process dictates technology
- There are a lot of CRM and campaign management solutions on the market. Know what you want to accomplish, and don't settle for software that forces you to constrain your goals and limit your effectiveness.
- Automated lead nurturing should be considered a must-have. Qualified leads will evenutally buy from someone; nurturing lets you stay on their radar.
- Understanding the contact and campaign history associated with every lead is vital. CRM and marketing systems should combine data to deliver a comprehensive activity history; this gives sales a sturdy basis for warm conversations and helps uncover trends.
- Ensure that your system makes it easy to pass leads to sales, and that sales can see the significant trigger events that qualified the lead.