Often, lead management and customer relations management are two interchangeably used terms — partly because sales experts use the same tools to measure and manage both. In practice, lead generation is just one part of the customer relations management process. So, the first step while using any CRM software for lead management is to understand that leads and paying customers are different categories of people who respond to different sales tactics. In more detail, a guide to successful lead generation and management with CRM software goes down to the six steps described below.
Make sure CRM software meets your needs
It may seem obvious, but in practice, there are so many CRM tools to choose from it can be challenging to pick the right one. Some systems, like ClickUp, are developed with small businesses in mind, while others, like Salesforce Sales Cloud, target mid-size companies and large enterprises. Some, like HubSpot Sales Hub, are pretty universal when company size and business specifics are concerned, while others, like Monday Sales CRM, are mostly tailored to advertising and IT needs.
So, the first step while optimizing your lead management is choosing the right CRM. Here, it is also important to consider not only the tool’s functionality but also its user-friendliness. The sales manager’s responsibilities are plenty, and even though mastering a specific CRM software is definitely among them, complicating your sales team’s work is not wise. In other words, aim for the best balance between functionality and simplicity.
Analyze the top sources of your leads
Leads may come from different sources depending on your business specifics and marketing strategy. Today’s most common ones are corporate websites, social media platforms, customer referrals, blogs, and email marketing. It is crucial to analyze which channels bring the most leads and which ones underperform to adjust the lead generation strategies.
Here, it is also important to consider how warm your leads are on each channel. If, for example, your social media campaigns generate many leads who remain cold, but your email marketing campaigns send the most people further down the sales funnel, you should look for ways to reconcile these two. A possible solution would be to extract your leads’ emails from social media and include these people in your next email marketing campaign. You do not have to look up those emails manually, of course — contact searching tools like SignalHire have plugins that extract emails and other contact details from social media with a click.
Nurture existing leads accordingly
As leads go through the different stages of your marketing purchase funnel, they develop an interest in various aspects of your business. Yes, we all know that, but it’s still surprising how many sales reps ignore this simple fact in their marketing campaigns. One of the most common reasons managers fail to categorize their leads accordingly is because they either manually analyze lead progress or rely too heavily on software. And, as it often happens, the truth is neither here nor there. The combination of CRM analytics and an individual, creative approach achieves the best results.
Here is a simple example —a lead who shares one’s email with a company in exchange for downloading some material from the company’s website is a classic cold lead. A lead who fills out a contact-us section on the company’s website is several degrees warmer already. It’s alright to send the first kind of several automated emails, informing the person more about business specifics, product selection, and main features of the provided service — whatever applies in your case. After all, there is a good chance that your cold lead knows nothing about this yet — he simply wanted to download a report.
But the same approach will never work with warmer leads who are already prepared for a conversation. It would be a gross mistake to send them automated replies. Here, human communication comes in if you want to convert these leads instead of losing them for good.
Make regular sales analysis a priority
The main benefit of using CRMs for lead nurturing is that the software offers a convenient, automated way of classifying your leads as they go through different marketing funnel stages. But, once again, it’s not wise to rely on automation alone because engaging your leads and converting them into customers remains a highly creative process. It’s essential to keep track of your lead generation process — just as it is important to analyze the sales KPIs regularly.
Converting leads is an ongoing process, and in order to see precisely how it’s going, it’s vital to analyze sales performance at least every week. Make it a habit for your sales team — either by the end of the week or at the beginning of each new one. Identifying strong and weak spots in your sales strategy will help you find more ways to market your products and engage your leads. And, of course, it will ensure you do not mistake your cold leads for warm ones and vice versa.
Create a tailored, clean sales strategy
After carefully segmenting all of your leads by source and conversion readiness, it should not be too difficult to come up with a clean, effective sales strategy for each lead type as they go through different stages of your marketing pipeline. And regular sales analysis will help you update this strategy to achieve maximum efficiency. That should be enough to cover the ‘tailored’ part of the sales strategy. But what about the ‘clean’ one?
Perhaps one of the most important tips when designing a customer-oriented, clean pipeline is not to focus on lead quality or paying potential alone. Yes, the whole point of selling something is making a profit. But often, it is best to play a long game instead of trying to reap quick rewards. Think about it this way — you may make the most profit by selling an expensive software tool. But it remains a single purchase. In contrast, you may make steady, even if lower, profits by selling ad-ons to this primary tool. Both are important, and both are to be nurtured.
Integrate with additional lead-generation tools
The final and probably most important tip is to keep adjusting and improving your sales strategy. This often goes down to constantly updating and expanding your database of leads — especially if you see that the automation pipeline you’ve built so far is working efficiently. Now, it’s all about scaling — and when the processes are already set up, CRMs are highly effective in automatically scaling them to bring more ROI.
Of course, CRM alone is not a lead generation scaling tool — you will need additional software and strategies for growing your sales database. The most obvious suggestion is to use an email finder for lead generation because email still has the highest ROI compared to other marketing channels. And, if you have already mastered the art of segmenting your existing leads, it should not be too hard to target potential buyers with contact lookup tools — mainly if you use professional databases with various search parameters.
As you can see, proper lead generation with CRM software is primarily about consistency and discipline — with a touch of creativity, of course. Various types of CRMs can accommodate companies ranging from ten to thousands of employees, but no matter the actual scale, the primary logic remains unchanged. That is, keep tracking and approach your leads individually if you want to succeed!