Leads are the sinews of war for the commercial development of any business. What is lead management? How do you acquire marketing leads, identify potential prospects, and then turn them into customers?
Leads, generation and lead management
A lead is a prospect whose potential is not yet qualified. We have some information on this contact which is still only leads.
The interest shown by the contact in a proposal is a signal marking the starting point of the conversion funnel. In digital marketing, the Internet user generally fills out a form to obtain specific information (request for a quote, download an e-book, register for a webinar, etc.) The data collected makes it possible to define the contact. You can then carry out commercial actions to transform the qualified lead into a prospect and finally convert him into a customer.
Lead management is therefore the management of the lead life cycle: from the generation of the contact to the transformation into a customer. Lead generation is thus the first step in the conversion funnel.
How to turn a lead into a customer?
The first step in lead management is to set up marketing actions and tools to collect contacts. It is also possible to buy or rent contact files.
Two strategies can be implemented, inbound marketing and outbound marketing.
Inbound marketing consists of writing value-added content for a target. You attract visitors through content marketing. They control the interaction and choose when and how they will consume the resources you make available to them. This is a long-term strategy that allows you to build a relationship of trust with your target. Examples of inbound marketing: newsletter subscription, blogging, animation of your presence on social networks, webinar, publication of e-books, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), etc.
In outbound marketing, it is the company that determines the moment and the means to interact with its target. This strategy has the advantage of obtaining results quickly by communicating with a population of hot leads made up of a high proportion of individuals with proven purchase intention. However, consumers are increasingly less receptive to direct prospecting methods. Examples of outbound marketing: prospecting by emailing, cold calling, Google Ads campaigns, social ads and other digital advertising means.
In practice, the 2 strategies complement each other. An ad on Google will attract a prospect through a promotion. The latter may not succumb to the offer, but still be interested in your content. He will then come back later to download an ebook from a call to action or subscribe to your newsletter for example. It is therefore very important to work on your landing pages and not to forget segmentation and targeting to maximize conversions.
Marketing qualification with lead scoring
Before you can turn new contacts into customers, the first step is to measure their level of interest. A first level of qualification can be done automatically thanks to lead scoring. This is a rating assigned to the contact based on various criteria:
- socio-professional profile,
- choice of downloaded document,
- entering contact details in a form,
- behavioural criterion such as the page views on the site: the visit to the prices page is, for example, a signal of intention to purchase interesting to exploit
This score takes the form of a note or an appreciation of interest and urgency (for example: hot, lukewarm, cold ...) which reflects the appetite of the lead for your product or service offer.
The processing is highly automated, because the mass of data to be analyzed is very large.
At the end of this process, the lead with a sufficiently high score becomes a "Marketing Qualifield Lead" (MQL), or a marketing lead. The next step is to qualify it commercially.
The sales team now has a list of prospects but whose commercial interest is not yet proven. The sales force must now qualify these contacts more finely to know if a business opportunity really exists.
This stage of the sales cycle is important, because it prevents salespeople from spreading themselves out by focusing on the profiles that are in principle the most profitable and / or those that will be the easiest to convert.
To qualify a lead, the sales team uses the BANT technique. Budget: does he have the financial means to buy your offer? Authorithy: does he have the decision-making power? Need: does he really need your product or service? Timing: when will he commit to the act of purchase? When should it be delivered?
This is the final step in the conversion funnel. The goal is to convert detected business leads into hard sellers. Salespeople also talk about closing.
It is also interesting to implement a lead nuttriting strategy. It is about sending relevant content to the right contact at the right time, without focusing attention on its own products or services. A kind of brand loyalty that will allow him to be converted later.
Performance: KPI choice
Depending on the objectives, several performance indicators are possible to build a dashboard.
- number of leads
- conversion rate, ratio between the number of visitors and the number of leads for a merchant site - the number of leads transformed into customers
- CPL - Cost Per Lead: cost of obtaining the lead. For example, for a marketing campaign, this is the cost of the campaign / number of leads obtained.
- CPA - Cost Per Acquisition: cost price of the campaign / number of new customers
- the gross margin generated by new customers
- ROI (return on investment): gross margin of new customers - total acquisition cost / total acquisition cost. It is a fundamental KPI for an optimization of the selected channels.
It is important to think carefully step by step about the important points according to your processes in order to choose relevant KPIs.
Marketing automation software to industrialize lead management
To manage your actions of collecting and managing contacts, there are complete SaaS software that make your job much easier. Here are some key features of marketing automation software:
- management of contact lists
- automation of email sending according to scenarios
- interfacing with CRM tools to exchange customer data
- multichannel channel tracking
- management of the conversion funnel
- reporting: KPI generation, publication of reports
- landing pages creation
- social media post
- analytical functions (data analysis, data mining)