Manufacturing organizations are continuing to adapt to how potential buyers are finding out about their products and services. They are putting more of a focus in being where customers are doing research like industry communities, LinkedIn, Twitter and on their own web site in an effort to positively influence the potential buyer to take notice in their solutions.
Organizations are also investing in having resources specifically focused on qualifying leads for their sales organization. Often times they are inside sales or customer service people that are handling these initial inquiries. For this post, I am going to refer to the Inside Sales Team (IST) as the group that manages the Leads and the Outside Sales Team (OST) as the group taking qualified leads to manage the rest of the sale.
So what happens when a potential Lead then shows interest in your solutions?
5 Best Practices to Improving Lead Management
Capture Initial Interest and Follow Up Immediately
People expect instantaneous follow up. We no longer have a day or two to get back to them so start with an automated email to the Lead with content to educate them further and to explain your follow up process. Get the Lead routed to the right Inside Sales Team (IST) internally and ensure that the IST is notified appropriately to respond back to the Lead immediately.
Having Leads routed to the right IST based on product interest and/or geography is critical to minimize that time from initial inquiry to a response.
Establish Lead Qualification Criteria
Now that the Lead has been contacted make sure to capture the key 3 or 4 lead qualification criteria that your organization would like on each lead. While specific qualification criteria can vary by organization, typically you want to know:
- What Product/Service are they most interested in
- What potential impact would having your solution have on their business
- When are they looking to make a decision
- How do they decide
While these criteria can be straight forward, if you don't have a process in place to capture these qualification questions for each Lead, it is amazing how often 1 or more of these questions are not asked by the IST.
Provide Lead Intelligence
Provide the IST with some Lead Intelligence so that they can quickly associate key events that are happening with the Lead's organization that align to solutions that your products and service can solve. Even if they are not relevant to the individual Lead's circumstance, it will build credibility for your IST and organization.
Qualify and Route
Finally, when you have qualified the Lead it is critical to get it routed to the right Outside Sales Team (OST) that will now manage the sale. Again this may be based on size of organization, their product interest and or geography. Ensure that the sales team is notified and has access to all of the "Conversation" that has taken place so far.
Nurture and Track
The Lead not ready to buy? Put a process in place to provide them with regular content and education. This might be a monthly email for 3 or 4 months with additional information on your products and services. If the Lead responds, you can continue the qualification process. Often times they will click on the hyperlinks that you provide to read additional content. If this happens you may want to notify the IST or if they click on several links you can score their interest for further follow up.
Interested in how you can implement these 5 Best Practices for your organization? Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find out more about Zero2Ten here on our website.