Not seeing actual business profits despite a constant influx of sales leads?
Sales lead management might just be what you need!
Whether it’s a critical customer detail that you couldn’t get your hands on or a follow-up email that you were too busy to send, there’s a lot that can go wrong with your sales process.
So, to ensure maximum efficiency and avoid major losses due to such errors, you must manage sales leads efficiently.
Sales lead management is a strategic process that considers the leads’ activity and optimizes the selling pitch to ensure conversion. For effective management, you must understand your ideal customers, find leads that match this persona and nurture them effectively.
Lead management may seem overwhelming at first, but it can be highly rewarding with the right strategy and tools. This blog covers 10 tips on managing sales leads and keeping them moving through the sales cycle to bring in more revenue. We also compare the 10 best lead tracking and management software that you can deploy for the same.
In a Nutshell
- Sales leads include all individuals or organizations that express interest in your business and will eventually turn into your clients.
- In a rush to continuously bring in more leads, many businesses overlook how these leads are being managed.
- Disorganization of leads can hamper your sales team’s efficiency and sales performance. Without an effective sales leads management system in place, all your leads are going to go haywire.
- This blog covers the 10 best practices for managing sales leads.
- We also list the 10 best software for lead management and compare their effectiveness to help you find the most suitable solution.
What Is a Sales Lead?
Essentially, any individual or organization that has the potential of converting into your client is termed a sales lead.
Leads must display some interest in your product or service and should intend to buy it. They are not the same as prospects since they have already indicated some form of interest in your business.
There are multiple channels to acquire leads for your business, including:
- Web Forms
- Cold emails
- Offline events
- Social media
Regardless of the source, any potential customer qualifies as a sales lead as long as they are interested in your services. Once your team has contacted the lead, and their genuine interest in your business is ascertained, the lead becomes qualified.
What Is Sales Lead Management?
Sales lead management encompasses all the activities ranging from lead generation to conversion. This process involves all the efforts that go into tracking and managing potential customers.
Lead management helps you nudge leads toward conversion by offering personalized and delightful experiences. The lead management process can be divided into the following components:
The first step to lead management is generating enough leads for your team to work on. These leads can be gathered when prospects depict interest through various marketing channels, including social media platforms, websites, PR events, etc. You also need to acquire adequate information about these leads, including their preferences and how your business can solve their problems using online forms or lead generation surveys.
Tracking & Distribution
Once you have a steady stream of incoming leads, you need to categorize and prioritize them based on the likelihood of their conversion. Create segmented lists of your leads based on their score, source, close probability, or any other criteria of your liking. Once this classification is complete, you need to assign the leads to the most appropriate salesperson for a quick follow-up.
Lead nurturing refers to the actions that help convert leads into customers. Since leads are not likely to make the purchase decision right after the first impression, your sales team needs to contact them regularly with relevant follow-ups. Automated email campaigns for lead nurturing are, thus, integral to the overall success of your sales management efforts.
Why Manage Sales Leads?
Here’s why learning how to manage sales leads can be highly beneficial for your team:
Focus on the Right Deals
Your sales profitability comes down to how well you can manage leads. Effective organization and qualification of leads can bring order to the sales process. It can help salespeople identify higher-value deals. By zeroing in on these prospects, lead management can bring in more revenue.
Achieve Better Productivity
Your sales team can maximize productivity by implementing an effective lead management process. By devoting time and attention to leads more likely to convert, sales representatives can close more deals and drive more profits for the company.
Read More: 5 Effective Ways to Increase Sales Productivity
Nurture Leads Effectively
Lead management can considerably affect the bottom line of your business. Tracking the needs of your prospects to optimize your engagement can help ensure that more leads are converted into sales.
Improve Team Performance
With a sales lead organizer in place, all your team members can access essential data, such as previous interactions, purchasing preferences, etc., to offer a better quality service. It can aid collaboration and help teams across the organization communicate effectively.
10 Ways to Better Manage Sales Leads
Following are 10 best practices that you can implement to see your leads translate into actual profits for your business.
1. Know Your Prospects
Not knowing what qualifies as a lead is one of the biggest productivity challenges for businesses. Your sales and marketing teams must be on the same page regarding what they consider a qualified lead.
Setting clear guidelines and references for your sales and marketing professionals can help you access leads that match your expectations and avoid wasting time on prospects unwilling to make a purchase. Before organizing sales leads, you should devote adequate time to define what a lead means for your sales team clearly.
2. Identify Lead Sources
Be aware of where most leads are coming from to identify what channels work best for your business. This can help you utilize your marketing budget more judiciously.
Your lead sources could include paid advertising, offline marketing channels, social media, etc. By keeping an eye on which lead generation channels are performing well, you can ensure that your resources are put to good use.
3. Invest in a Sales Lead Manager
A lead tracking and management software such as a CRM can align your sales objectives with your business operations. CRM lead management can bring all your data to one platform, allowing your sales team to access it readily.
It can also help personalize your interactions with the leads to improve your closing rate. With an effective lead management system, you can better manage every opportunity and ensure that no lead goes unnoticed. A CRM tool can also automate multiple processes to enhance your lead nurturing efforts.
Read More: What is Lead Management in CRM?
4. Collect Information From Prospects
You need to have access to relevant information to manage sales leads efficiently. This information can be obtained through forms, surveys, or any other form of interaction. Collecting this data is crucial to keeping your marketing and sales activities aligned with the leads’ expectations.
This information can also help you assign and distribute leads more effectively, leading to better sales lead management. It can enable your sales team better understand the leads and modify their approach accordingly.
5. Segment Leads Effectively
Lead segmentation is critical for effective management. Divide leads based on specific criteria, their interests, or any actions taken by them. You can also score leads based on their characteristic behavior with the help of lead-tracking solutions. This can help you separate hot leads from the rest.
Classifying leads can help your sales representatives identify which leads require more attention. You can segment the leads based on what information they are seeking or their online activity, such as downloading an attachment, filling out forms, etc.
6. Assign Leads Timely
Longer lead response time can lead to a 15% increase in your churn rate.
This brings to light the importance of the timely distribution of leads.
Responding to leads quickly can establish a credible position for your business. The leads can get relevant information on time, which makes for a better experience. If you do not want your leads going cold, focus on being quick and efficient while assigning them to salespeople.
7. Include Lead Nurturing Content
The chances of the lead needing more time to be ready to buy your products right off the bat are phenomenally high. To counter this, you need effective lead nurturing.
All your management efforts should complement lead nurturing. For this, you need to include relevant supporting content in your management strategy. This can help you improve your drip campaigns and guide more leads toward conversion. Personalized marketing content can help reduce the length of your sales cycle and significantly boost your conversion rate.
8. Monitor Your Performance
If you do not measure the performance of your sales lead management process, you will never find out if it is working well for your business.
Keep a close eye on how your lead management strategy is performing and incorporate changes whenever necessary. You need to decide which metrics are the most important to track. Hold regular meetings with your sales team to identify roadblocks in the process and make the required adjustments in your management strategy. You can use a CRM tool to generate custom reports to track various metrics, such as sales cycle length, acquisition cost, etc., for measuring the progress of your sales activities.
9. Focus on Forming Relationships
If you wish to make the most out of all the available leads, you must adopt a more personalized approach. Treating every prospect as a customer can help you gain more loyalty and form long-lasting relationships.
Be responsive, helpful, and accommodating when interacting with prospects. Effective engagement is a critical component of lead management. If you continue to treat leads as just numbers, they are likely to switch to a competitor that is more involved and interested in them. To avoid this, you need to ensure that your leads know how much value they carry for your business.
10. Strive for Continuous Improvement
“Growth and comfort do not coexist” – Ginni Rometty, IBM CEO
Your lead management strategy has to evolve continuously as your business continues to expand.
With time, your lead sources, buyer persona, and other associated factors are likely to change. It is imperative that your lead management strategy changes with it. Adaptability can keep lead management solutions functional for a long time!
Top 10 Sales Lead Management Software
We have made your search for the best lead management software easier by rounding up the 10 best tools and comparing their features. Explore the pros and cons of each of these tools to find the most suitable solution for your business.
BIGContacts CRM can work effectively as a lead and sales manager owing to its powerful pipeline tracking and task automation functionality. The tool lets you track the movement of leads with a visual sales pipeline. Nurture more leads with targeted and automated email sequences. Track team and individual performance using a range of standard and custom reports offered by BIGContacts.
- Create a custom sales pipeline and manage leads using a drag-and-drop interface
- Track all communication and details associated with leads in one place
- Craft automated workflows and sequences to keep leads moving forward
- Monitor your sales performance with in-depth reports
- Follow-up at the right time with automatic alerts and reminders
- Manage sales leads on any mobile device remotely
- Sort and filter through leads for effective targeting and prioritization
- AI-powered lead scoring is missing
- Images in emails can be slow to load at times
- Big- $5/user/month
- Bigger- $15/user/month
- Biggest- $25/user/month
- Enterprise- Custom pricing
2. Zendesk Sell
Zendesk Sell lets you gain complete visibility into your sales pipeline, so you can manage leads more effectively. Drive more personalized interactions with your prospects by accessing all the related data from a single platform. The tool unifies lead generation and deal management, so you don’t have to jump between applications to manage your leads.
- Manage leads using a visual sales pipeline
- Define custom triggers and automated actions for lead management
- Set up task and email sequences to keep leads engaged
- Create targeted lead lists and deliver more effective follow-ups
- Use detailed reports and analytics to improve your lead management efforts
- Make accurate sales forecasts and predictions
- Stay on top of your deal from any mobile device
- Customer support team is slow to respond
- There are delays in email updates in the CRM system
Starts from $19/user/month
3. Keap CRM
Keap CRM is a reliable lead management platform that lets you create a custom sales pipeline to track leads from start to finish. Use it to automate the delivery of personalized messages to your sales leads. The tool also provides powerful lead-scoring functionality, so you can focus your attention on high-value prospects.
- Set up an automated sales pipeline with a drag-and-drop interface
- Track the status and priority of sales leads at any time
- Deliver personalized messages at the right time to nurture leads
- Score and tag leads to make management easier
- Access up-to-date reports to analyze your lead management performance
- Generate qualified leads with landing pages, forms, and lead magnets
- Lead records are populated with essential information automatically
- Better training resources and onboarding materials are required
- Lacks contact deduplication features
Starts from $129/month
4. Zoho CRM
Zoho CRM helps capture, score, and nurture leads, contributing to an improvement in your bottom line. The tool lets you deliver targeted emails in order to nurture leads into high-paying customers. Zoho also makes lead scoring and distribution comparatively easier. You can also generate actionable reports and track the performance of your sales team using Zoho CRM.
- Segment leads effectively to improve targeting and nurturing
- Score leads to focus on high-value accounts
- Assign leads to the right sales representative for effective handling
- Drive omnichannel nurturing campaigns across social media, chat, calls, and emails
- Monitor the effectiveness of your lead generation efforts with built-in analytics
- Capture high-quality leads from web forms, live chat, etc.
- Manage leads remotely using the mobile CRM app
- The interface is clunky
- Customer support for the tool does not meet expectations
Free plan available
Plans start from $14/user/month
5. HubSpot CRM
HubSpot CRM centralizes lead data and communications, so your deals never slip through the crack. The tool enables you to track the leads present in your sales pipeline in real-time and engage with them more effectively. Use HubSpot to create targeted lead nurturing campaigns and monitor the performance of your lead management efforts with reports.
- Track your leads in real-time using a visual pipeline management system
- Schedule meetings by sharing booking links with leads and keep your calendar well-updated
- New leads are automatically enriched with contact data available online
- Set up instant alerts and reminders to follow up with leads at the right time
- Get insights and make accurate forecasts with built-in analytics
- Keep lead status updated from anywhere with the mobile CRM app
- Connect the tool with your Gmail and Outlook inboxes
- Advanced reporting options are missing
- The overall cost increases quickly due to the steep pricing model
Free plan available
Plans start from $45/month
With LeadSquared, you can capture, manage, qualify, distribute, and nurture leads automatically. The tool lets you define custom triggers for communication workflows, so you can engage with leads and convert them into long-term customers. The tool also offers a range of reports to help you monitor the effectiveness of your lead management efforts.
- Capture leads from websites, social media, third-party sources, or offline events
- Segment your lead lists for improved targeting
- Automatically qualify leads before assigning them to sales representatives
- Use pre-designed reports or create custom dashboards to track relevant metrics
- Route leads to the right agent based on your defined parameters
- Enable your sales team to track leads on the go with the mobile app
- Create no-code sales automation workflows to keep leads moving forward
- Lacks advanced reporting capabilities
- Setup can be time-consuming and tedious
Starts from $25/user/month
7. Apptivo CRM
Apptivo CRM prevents your leads from falling through the crack with effective tracking and management. The tool lets you score and prioritize leads based on custom criteria. It also makes it easier to filter and sort through lead data, so you can work more productively. Use Apptivo to schedule follow-up emails and calls with leads and enhance your conversion rate.
- Use the Kanban view to track available sales opportunities
- Automate sales tasks and workflows to convert more leads
- Capture leads from web forms, emails, and a number of other sources
- Get better insights into your lead management processes with detailed reports
- Set reminders to never miss a follow-up with your leads
- Customize fields, layouts, and views to suit your exact needs
- Work on the go with a powerful mobile app
- The setup process is time-consuming and challenging
- Customer support is substandard for the lower-priced versions
Starts from $10/user/month
8. Pipedrive CRM
Pipedrive CRM is an effective solution for sales lead management with its powerful lead generation and prioritization features. All the incoming leads are stored in a Lead Inbox, making qualification and tracking easier. The tool also provides detailed timelines for lead activity. Use Pipedrive to group and filter your leads for more effective management.
- Use visual and intuitive sales pipelines to manage leads
- Lead records are populated with contact information available online
- Track visitor’s web activity and capture high-quality leads using the sales prospector
- Unify all conversations, including messages from Facebook and WhatsApp
- Filter, sort, and qualify leads for more effective management
- Use tags and labels to organize sales leads
- Capture high-quality leads from live chat, chatbots, and web forms
- Lacks advanced reporting capabilities
- Training resources are not up to par
Starts from $9.90/user/month
9. Insightly CRM
Insightly CRM lets you manage and nurture leads effectively. Use this comprehensive CRM solution to track all information related to leads and craft personalized experiences, thereby converting them into long-term customers. The tool also enables you to create multi-step and automated workflows to keep things moving forward at all times.
- View the source, activity timelines, emails, notes, etc., associated with leads in one place
- Leads are routed to the right representative automatically
- Send targeted emails and track their open and click rates
- Use workflow automation and validation rules to keep leads moving forward
- Create custom reporting dashboards to track the most relevant performance metrics
- Manage leads remotely with the Android and iOS applications
- Define visibility and access permissions for your team members
- The learning curve is steep
- Limited customization options are available
Starts from $29/user/month
10. Less Annoying CRM
Less Annoying CRM is an uncomplicated tool for managing sales leads. It lets you ensure that your team is following up with prospects at the most effective time. With Less Annoying CRM, you can keep track of previous touches with leads and manage them using a pipeline view. The tool enables you to manage your tasks, as well as collaborate with team members.
- Keep track of leads using a visual pipeline
- View contact details, priority status, notes, and other associated information for leads in one place
- Track all your pending tasks and upcoming meetings with a comprehensive calendar view
- Customize fields and stages to track the most relevant information
- Generate lead reports to get a complete overview of your lead management processes
- Access updated lead information from any remote device
- Get daily agenda emails for scheduled tasks and meetings
- The automatic population functionality needs improvement
- Lacks advanced features for creating recurring tasks
Drive Better Sales Outcomes With Effective Lead Management
If you are tired of losing promising opportunities to competitors, it’s time you focus on how your sales leads are being managed.
While the answer to how to manage sales leads may vary for different enterprises, they all require one thing in common- a powerful lead management tool.
Such a tool can help generate, qualify, nurture and track sales leads. In addition, it can provide centralized access to essential information related to prospects, allowing sales representatives to optimize their sales pitches.
For this, you need a functional, easy-to-navigate, scalable, and adaptable tool. An example of this is BIGContacts. The CRM software can help optimize your sales management efforts to drive more conversions and revenue. You can also use its automation capabilities to get things done quickly and efficiently, leading to delightful customer experiences.