Lead Management encompasses many different areas: Lead Capture, Lead Routing, Lead Source Tracking, Lead Response Management, and Lead Qualification.
Lead Capture is the process of getting someone who clicks to your site to fill out a form.
The look, feel, and length of the form are technically part of the web design; but what does the form do? Does it put the data into a table, send an email, or populate directly into some form of database? The form is the transition point between lead conversion and lead management. Most companies still have to manually type in a lead from the website into tracking systems that range from simple spreadsheets to a customer relationship management (CRM) database. Ideally a lead is able to be captured and redirected to the appropriate department for response in real time.
Lead Routing is the process of getting the lead into the hands of the most appropriate salesperson.
Speed is critical. We are finding that most leads sit somewhere between forty-eight and seventy-two hours before the salesperson actually attempts the first live contact. Much of the slowdown in routing leads is because there isn’t a pre-defined process to decide which salesperson get’s to work the lead. Many sales managers still dole out leads by hand after considering who is best suited to work each of the leads.
Most lead routing is still defined by geography. In a day when the Internet is removing geographical boundaries and there are many effective tools to allow a full sales process to be done remotely, this is a practice that should be reconsidered. If the sale is followed up through an inside sales or remote sales strategy, then geography should have very little bearing on the decision. If outside sales or face-to-face sales strategies are required because of product constraints, then geography may have a strong bearing on lead routing.
If fairness is important to management, then routing by a ‘round-robin’ process that systematically and evenly distributes leads is also available. This often creates a more desirable final result.
Better alternatives to geographical and round-robin routing are routing by performance, skills, or specific vertical market knowledge. Both the company and the salesperson do better when leads are matched up to the best qualified salesperson.
Lead Source Tracking is an extension of the web analytics process. The end-goal is the flow of source data from the original search engine, keyword or partner source all the way through the sales process. This can only be done if all of the associated systems are at least partially integrated with each other or if one system is able to do it all.
Ideally you’d be able to track closed and paid revenue back to the level of original lead sources.
Lead Response Management is a process to immediately and systematically push leads into the hands of qualified salespeople so they may contact and qualify the leads.
This is the portion of the solution that is most often neglected. Our experience and studies show leads generally sit for an average of forty-eight hours and get called between four and five times with a ‘contacted’ ratio of only fifty-five percent.
This is the most common hand-off point between the marketers that drive the web leads and the salespeople who are in charge of responding to them. The baton gets dropped.
Who drives the process? Who owns it?
The marketers want data on how fast and how many times the salespeople respond until they make contact. They often get frustrated because they lose control of the lead at this point.
The sales department wants a lot of quality leads quickly. There is a fine balance between quality and quantity. They don’t want junk or ‘tire-kickers’ that waste their time, yet they want a continuous flow of qualify leads.
The salespeople often don’t realize that it is their sales manager and the routing system that often slows down the process. Sale departments get frustrated because there aren’t enough quality leads.
One elegant solution is to embed a web-form onto a website that captures the lead and pushes it real time into a database. It then quickly routes the lead to the best suited sales rep, a telephony tool immediately gets the rep on the phone and automatically calls and connects the lead to the rep.
Why dial them immediately?
1- Because this is the only time you know where they are.
2- They are surfing the internet because they want help now.
While it does this, the system also moves all of the lead source data into the database for further analytics, tracks the number of calls, tracks the call time, and drives a lead response process to ensure quality control on each and every call.
Another solution is to have someone else do it for you. LeadQual.com is the first company of it’s kind, an outbound call center that specializes in immediate lead response on behalf of it’s clients.
Lead Qualification is the process of contacting a lead and turning it into a prospect based on the lead’s interest level. A prospect enters the Sales Process and is further qualified for need, urgency, budget, and decision making capability. The skill sets for this process are usually different than lead generation, in fact, they are often the reverse. Qualifying for interest often casts a wide bucket, qualifying for need casts a small one. Interest is often the counterfeit of need.
This process is usually done by the Sales Department, but two big problems make it difficult:
1- Leads lose Interest very quickly.
2- People are difficult to make contact with.
Jacques Werth, from High Probability Selling, quotes the average Business to Business Contact Ratio is 14%. That means you need to make 7 dials to get 1 contact.
Our experience shows this varies dramatically by industry. Our average is closer to 10% when trying to make contact for the first time.
What is the solution to increasing your contact ratio?
It goes back to Lead Response Management: Acquire a system that immediately and systematically pushes the leads to the best qualified salespeople, a system that also allows the salespeople to immediately and frequently respond to leads and turn them into prospects. Again, this simple but overlooked approach can boost net results by 20 to 200%.