Much More To It!

Lead management continues to be written and spoken about by thought leaders and vendors throughout the marketing world.  Many automation vendors have gone so far as to say that they provide lead management software.  While the articles and papers have provided good content, the majority seem to be addressing only a few pieces of the puzzle.  The prevailing thoughts points out that lead management is primarily lead scoring and lead nurturing.  But as important as these elements are, they only make up a portion of the entire lead management process.

In this first in a series of blog posts, I will seek to identify and describe the practice of lead management and all of its components.   This first post will provide a summary of each component, and subsequent posts will elaborate on each component in detail.

So, what exactly is lead management?  In short, it’s the PROCESS of receiving, qualifying, routing, and closing sales leads. Companies looking to develop and implement a holistic lead management practice must include the following elements to ensure a fully developed process:

  • Data:  Marketing and sales data should be appropriately segmented. Data should be managed effectively to ensure integrity.
  • Lead Planning:  Questions such as “How many responses, leads and qualified leads are needed from marketing in order to allow sales to meet their revenue goals?” should be asked, answered and documented.
  • Lead Qualification:  A written definition of a qualified lead should be developed.  And marketing and sales should come to agreement with this definition, as well as other terms used in the lead management practice.
  • Lead Routing:  Process mapping to determine how qualified leads will be routed to sales and how sales will send not-ready-to-buy leads back to marketing must be developed.
  • Lead Scoring:  A numerical ranking system must be developed to aid in determining the point at which leads will be sent to sales.
  • Lead Nurturing:  A documented plan for all leads that don’t immediately go to sales must be enacted.  This included processes for what will be done at both the marketing and sales level to engage and build a relationship with prospects and customers.
  • Metrics:  Determine what to measure and why it should be measured. From there, implement a plan on how to utilize these metrics for shaping future marketing and sales planning.
  • Automation:  All of the above should be automated as much as possible to ensure there are no cracks in the process.

So, as you can see, Lead Management is more than just nurturing and scoring.  It’s a cohesive process filled with several components that each affects the other.  Diminishing the importance of any one of these components could negatively disrupt the entire process.

One more thought:  As the development and implementation of these components are considered, it must be stressed that they cannot be created and implemented by marketing only. Sales must be part of the discussion.  The sales team has much to offer, and their valuable input will serve to speed adoption and buy-in. 

Check in next time for an in-depth look at lead management data.