The good news is that, when it comes to lead management software, small businesses have access to a growing number of solutions at an affordable price.
The bad news is that the choice and number of features can be overwhelming.
While we’ve already covered the specifics of what makes a good CRM tool, this article of our learning center will focus on how to make the most of your leads.
We’ll see what counts as a lead, what features you need to nurture them, and of course, how it all comes together to improve sales and boost your business profits.
What is a Lead Exactly?
There is sometimes confusion around the term, even with experienced salespeople. But at its core, a lead is anyone you can contact who has yet to be qualified as a prospect. It can be a list of names from the phone book, a group of people waiting in line at a grocery store, or whatever email addresses you can aggregate from a quick Internet search.
Lead vs. Prospect: What is The Difference?
We’ve written a complete guide on the topic here. But the gist of it is that leads come before prospects in the sales process. Any potential client or customer is a lead. They are then qualified as prospects if they meet certain criteria such as budget, purchase rights etc…
What Counts as a Lead Management System?
Lead management is the first step in any sales process. The management itself can be broken down into a few steps:
Gathering the leads: that means finding a way of collecting information about people, especially their contact details.
Contacting them: through a number of channels, be it email, phone, or social media.
Nurturing leads: making sure you stay in touch via relevant communications.
Qualify the leads into prospects: it’s about filtering and triage to separate the wheat from the chaff.
How Does it Fit Within a Sales Funnel?
Sales funnels are actually a way of visualizing lead management. So it’s a great way of getting a quick look at how successful you are at converting leads, and by extension, managing them.
For instance, if your qualification rate is very low, there could be issues with the kind of leads you gather, how you nurture them, or maybe even your communication efforts.
What to Look for in Lead Management Software?
We’re now getting to the core of what makes a good lead management software. And here are the absolute must-haves for ensuring you don’t miss opportunities with leads:
Simple interface: it must be easy to oversee all your leads in one easy-to-find, organized place. A cluttered interface can waste valuable time and effort, especially when training new salespeople or working in teams.
Ease of use: The more features your lead management software has, the higher the chances are it will be complex to use. This is fine if you’re a huge company with highly sophisticated sales pipelines. For small businesses, it’s worth sacrificing unnecessary options for the sake of ease of use.
Budget/ROI: deploying a new lead management software is an important business decision. Make sure the price point is appropriate for your needs, competitive, and don’t be fooled by flashy add-ons you don’t need.
Gathering leads: some programs automatically pull lead details from social networks such as Facebook or Twitter. You should also be able to integrate a web form on your site that is linked to the program. Manual import/export is primordial. Another intuitive solution is to collect leads directly from your inbox, for instance, with an integration between the software and an email client like Microsoft’s Outlook.
Collecting key info: no need to draw an in-depth profile of every lead (yet) as it could be time consuming and unnecessary. But you must make sure the right info is there. At the bare minimum, that includes contact details. Photos, LinkedIn profiles or birthdays can also go a long way in relationship management.
Team management: any small business with more than one salesperson should be able to use the same software without problems. Dedicated accounts with specific permissions are ideal, and make sure you also check the license for how many seats can be used.
Updating info: It should be easy and fast to tag people, update contact info, and move leads to a new category in your sales pipeline, for instance, as prospect or returning customers.
Contacting leads: the right software comes with a built-in email marketing solution and ideally with pre-built templates. You should be able to manage your campaigns from the same dashboard, so it’s easier and faster to score leads without switching tools.
Filtering/scoring: the biggest part of your management will be to see which leads are valid and which should be prioritized. This is why lead management apps are also referred to as lead tracking software. Ranking leads with metrics such as email open rate and engagement will help you see where your efforts should be focused.
And another point: good lead management software should be something you use for a long time. Ensuring it is future proof by being flexible and scalable will give you peace of mind and save efforts as your business grows.
Finding Lead Management Software That Works For You
Of course, there is no magic bullet when it comes to the right software for your business. This is especially true with lead management, where you need to find a program that makes sense for your operations, and for the skill level of your sales team.
But at Act! 365, we’ve worked hard to offer small businesses all the right features, with a specific focus on ease of use, flexibility, and affordability. To see how we can help you boost your productivity and sales, try Act!365 free for 14 days.