How to use CRM for lead management



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For more than half of marketers (61%), lead generation is not only a top priority, but also the most difficult task. Of course, without a steady stream of leads and continuously filling the sales funnel, your business is doomed to failure.

Even a well-designed lead generation strategy does not guarantee success. This is emphasized by 88% of marketing professionals, who point out that lead generation is followed by the process of converting them into paying customers.

Lost sales opportunities will not bring you money. Therefore, you need to take a holistic approach to the process, properly managing leads from acquisition to closing.

In this article, we take a closer look at the lead management process, its role in ensuring business growth, and how to manage leads more effectively with a CRM system.

What is lead management?

By definition, lead management is the process of attracting potential customers with their subsequent promotion from the top of the sales funnel to the bottom, which ends with a purchase. Typically, lead management consists of six main sequential steps…

  1. Capturing leads
  2. Enriching leads with data
  3. Lead qualification and prioritization
  4. Distribution of leads among managers
  5. Lead nurturing
  6. Lead conversion

Lead management can be considered successful when two things have happened. The first is when you’ve established a strong relationship with potential customers who have entered the sales funnel, and the second is when they make a purchase, preferring your product to a competitor’s solution.

Why is lead management important?

Lead management has a number of benefits for any business, large or small. Here are some of the most important ones…

  1. It helps you establish relationships with potential customers. The right lead management strategy allows you to establish contact with leads that enter your sales funnel as quickly as possible. This will help you speed up their movement down the funnel.
  2. It helps you stay in touch with prospects all the time. Effective lead management ensures constant, relevant communication, which is a key influence on the customer when choosing a service.
  3. Promotes effective tracking of potential customers. With the help of lead management principles, you will be able to know exactly who your potential customers are, what channels they come from, what they respond to best, and how well they convert.
  4. Saves your business time and money. Good lead management saves sales managers time and effort because it allows them to shift their focus away from leads with a low likelihood of buying. Instead, managers can focus on leads that are more important to the business and have a higher chance of converting.

How does CRM help you manage your leads effectively?

Effective lead management can set you apart from your competitors and significantly increase sales.

In the era of rapid technological progress, manual lead management is no longer enough. To grow your business organically in today’s environment, you need to arm yourself with reliable software, namely a CRM system that will allow you to effectively manage your leads. And it’s actually easier than you think.

CRM is an ideal lead management solution that allows you to attract leads, enrich them with relevant data, qualify them, distribute them to sales managers, and support them more effectively. As a result, your business will have a higher conversion rate.

Let’s take a look at how CRM can help with all of these lead management processes.

CRM and lead generation

Having a CRM system for lead management can improve your lead generation processes in several ways.

First, it makes prospecting much more efficient and successful. With a CRM system, it becomes easier to define your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and use it to find new leads to fill your funnel.

By collecting all customer data in one place, you can structure and analyze it to identify similarities. Start with the customers who are already paying you money, because they are the audience you want to grow. Use CRM data to…

  • Identify commonalities among your current customers
  • See who you have already successfully sold to
  • Find out why you lost deals

This information will help you identify the leads with the highest chances of conversion. It can then be used to develop a marketing message that resonates most with this audience, write emails and call scripts, and engage only those channels where these customers are located in your strategy.

In addition to helping you identify your ideal customers, a CRM system will also help you attract them. With CRM, you can create customer cards from incoming emails, calls, website forms, or chats. Customer cards will be created automatically and every bit of data about them will go directly to your database.

CRM and lead enrichment with data

Customer data is your business’ most valuable asset; and the quality of your data directly affects the quality of your business offerings. It’s important to make sure that the data you collect about your prospects is complete, reliable, relevant, and accurate. CRM is good at this task.

CRM improves the quality of lead data by automating the process of enriching leads with data. Modern CRMs offer numerous integrations with LinkedIn, Facebook, email, and other specialty services to automatically pull publicly available data from these sources and then add it to lead profiles.

These integrations allow you to pull publicly available data from your prospect’s Google account or LinkedIn profile and enrich their CRM profiles with a bunch of data, such as first and last name, company, job title, birthday, social media profiles, and more. All this is possible in just a couple of clicks.

Another feature of CRM that helps keep your data clean is duplication prevention. 

Finally, CRM allows you to structure your customer database. You can add and remove fields to collect only the necessary data; mark them as required so that customer profiles are always complete; create folders; link customer profiles to company profiles, and more. Tag leads with specific tags and segment your audience in the way that suits you best.

CRM and distribution of leads among managers

According to statistics, 50% of potential customers choose the supplier who responds to them first. Moreover, responding within the first minute after receiving a message or registering increases lead conversion by 391%.

If you want to gain a competitive advantage over other companies in your market, make sure that lead support starts from the moment a lead enters the sales funnel. Any delay reduces your chances of winning the deal.

The best way to respond quickly to leads that enter the funnel is to automatically assign them to a sales manager.

A CRM system automatically distributes leads to managers. You can assign managers randomly (to each manager in turn), or based on a set of predefined criteria, such as lead industry, company size, country of location, etc. After that, the CRM system notifies the responsible manager about the new potential client.

CRM and lead nurturing

The next step on the way to successful lead management is lead nurturing. It’s not enough to just appoint a responsible lead manager. Immediately after that, the manager must take actions to push potential customers to make a purchase decision.

50% of sales come from the 5th follow-up email. Moreover, a sales manager sends only 2 emails on average. Thus, salespeople make a fatal mistake that leads to lost deals.

If you send repeated emails, thereby warming up leads, manually, you can understand why you don’t send enough emails. After all, you need to have a good memory and endurance to remember to whom, what, and when to send.

You can speed up this process and make it much more efficient by automating lead nurturing with a CRM system. Set up a series of emails and other actions at a certain interval and engage in personalized conversations when the prospect is ready for it (for example, when you receive a response to your third follow-up email)

CRM and converting leads into customers

Finally, any successful lead management process should end with the conversion of a lead into a paying customer.

CRM improves your relationships with leads and customers by encouraging them to buy your product faster. Here are all the benefits of using a CRM system to drive lead conversion

  • CRM allows you to track all the details of interactions with a lead

Managers can record and access every detail of every interaction they have with a lead. All these details are safely stored in one place and are easily accessible to everyone involved in the sales process. Your comments and communication details give you a more holistic view of your company’s relationship with each specific prospect.

In turn, you gain insight into their buyer’s journey, their pain points, their needs, and their wants.

As a result, you can tailor your future communication, highlight previously discussed points, and prove that you really care about your customers.

  • CRM allows you to communicate with potential customers at the best time

CRM helps you keep track of leads in the sales funnel and communicate with them when they are most likely to convert. You can set up a filter and create a special data view in your CRM for leads you acquired some time ago who haven’t communicated with you in a certain period of time or who have indicated a time when it’s best to get back to them with your offer.

All of this information will help you convert leads in a timely manner and more actively.

  • CRM allows you to make data-driven decisions

Great CRM solutions allow users to generate sales reports. This helps to gain insight into which processes help to convert leads before scaling these actions, as well as identify processes that need improvement.