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No matter what business you’re in, whether you’re marketing to consumers or to other businesses, you need leads—people who express interest in what you have to offer but haven’t yet made a purchase. Without leads, there are no sales, which means no income and no profit margin. Of course, leads are also very valuable to your competitors, so your lead management process needs to be secure enough that they don’t try to steal them from you.

Sales lead management may seem like it’s just the dirty work you have to do to make your sales team happy, but it’s one of the most important parts of business operations. A good sales lead management process lays the groundwork for better and more effective leads in the future and can be easily integrated into your marketing culture.

Sales Lead Management Explained

Sales lead management is a way of managing your sales leads and their corresponding information. The key to a successful implementation is ensuring that it will meet the needs of your business. For example, if you are in the tech industry, you may want an automated system which updates your leads as they progress through the sales cycle and converts them into customers. A key aspect of any good sales lead management process is understanding how long it takes for conversion rates from one stage of the process to another.

Anatomy of an Effective Sales Lead Management Process

Step 1: Lead acquisition and tracking

Successful sales and lead management start with acquiring and tracking leads. This is done through a sales lead management system that lets you capture potential customer contact information and keep track of their interests, needs and preferences. A good sales lead management process will also include setting up your customer journey, so prospects are automatically forwarded to the next steps in the conversion cycle as they progress with you.

Step 2: Lead qualification

The second step of a sales lead management process is lead qualification, which refers to the step in the sales cycle when leads are assessed for suitability. A lot of businesses use automated or semi-automated systems that help them qualify leads and weed out people who might not be qualified buyers. The programs can range from something as simple as scanning through online resumes to more complex filtering systems that scan data from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Lead acquisition and tracking

    Step 3: Lead scoring

    Lead scoring is one of the most important parts of any sales lead management process. It lets you know which leads are worth your time by ranking them based on their potential value. This can be done in several ways, such as developing a prospect fit matrix to qualify your leads, such as a tiered system where all leads get a score, say from 1-5, depending on their potential.

    The first tier would include leads with high conversion rates and the highest level of intent to purchase.

    The second tier would have average conversion rates and intention, while tier three would include people who contacted you but showed little or no interest in buying your product or service.

    The final tier would consist of cold leads that have not yet been qualified as either hot or cold.

    You might find this way of assigning scores useful when it comes time to determine whether a particular lead is worth pursuing further or not.

    Step 4: Lead distribution

    A good sales lead management process starts with lead distribution. The distribution phase is where the leads are shared with a sales team, and each member of the team has their own responsibilities for the duration of the process. A good sales lead management system will allow you to track your progress, set goals and keep everything on track. This way, you can measure success and make adjustments as needed.

    Response Time

    The crucial part of your sales lead management process is the time it takes for your leads to be converted into customers. Make sure you invest in a quality sales lead management system and process that will help you convert leads into customers as quickly as possible. An effective system can help you increase conversion rates by at least 30%. Ensuring accurate data from all aspects of your business, including customer journey and implementation time, will also improve conversion rates. Implementation time is when you decide how long it will take to implement the process or tool in your company. 

    Response Time

    Disqualifying Bad-Fit Prospects

    Bad-fit prospects are people who have an interest in your product, but they either cannot afford it, or they have a competing service. It’s important to disqualify bad fits early on because it saves everyone time and effort—if someone’s not interested, then there is no point in trying to sell them something because it won’t work anyway! By getting rid of bad fits beforehand, you’ll know exactly where to focus your efforts so you can spend less time marketing and more time actually making sales.

    One way to find out if a prospect is a bad fit is to ask them about their budget so you can see how much money they’re willing or able to invest in your services or products at that time. Asking them what goals they want to achieve through your services or products will also enable you to see how closely your services align with what they’re trying to accomplish.

    Getting Buy-In

    Case studies

    Case studies are helpful in getting buy-in because they show what other companies have done, and you can use the same numbers in your pitch. You need to be able to prove that your system will get results. If a company has a conversion rate of 1% on their sales leads, you need at least 10 conversions per 1000 leads just for them to break even on implementation time. It’s important that they know the success rate of your system so they know if it’s worth investing in the project.


    Having references for a sales lead management system and the process is key to ensuring that the customer has confidence in your ability to deliver. It helps them see you as an expert, so they can feel comfortable with hiring you and trusting in your work. It also serves as validation of your system’s effectiveness. 

    Other sales collateral

    The final step in the sales lead management process is getting buy-in. This can happen in a variety of ways, including sending a proposal for approval or having an onsite meeting with a prospect to review your solution. Getting buy-in will help you increase your conversion rates by having prospects that are more informed and have committed to moving forward with their purchase decision.

    Sales collateral such as presentations, white papers, and other materials are a key part of your lead management process. If you can successfully get these materials in front of your prospects, you will have a higher conversion rate and shorter implementation time.

    Follow-up email after your first connect call

    Keep the conversation going and follow up with them by sending them a personalized email. This will make you stand out from your competition and set you up for success in the sales cycle. Just be sure to send it within 24 hours of connecting with them on the phone or through an online chat session.

    Recap of the items of discussion

    It is important to follow up on the first connect call with an email recap of the items that were discussed. You want to remember everything you talked about with your prospect so that you can refer back in your next email. Try summarizing the key points or questions they had and the things they agreed upon. In some cases, it’s a good idea to include a one-sentence high-level overview of what you will do in the next step in the sales process.

    Introduction to the person they’re going to be speaking to next (if any)

    If there is going to be another person talking to the prospect, it might be a good idea to introduce them. For example, “The next person you’ll speak with will likely be Jane. I’ll let them know that so they can prepare for your call.” This will help both you and the prospect remember who they are speaking to, which is important if they’re communicating with more than one person in your company. There’s an opportunity here to provide additional information about this next conversation so that the prospect knows ahead of time.

    In the end, all that matters is getting sales leads. The most important thing you can do is remember your lead management process and have a good sales lead management system. Make sure you’re attracting qualified leads with a great product or service at a reasonable price. Then nurture those leads by providing them with the content they need to keep moving forward in their journey of buying your company’s product or service. Finally, close more sales by remembering that it’s not just about the sale; it’s about the customer experience that will make them want to come back for more!


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