Not all leads are created equal. Some customers are ready to make a purchase during early encounters, while others need more time and/or a nudge in the right direction. Still others will never make a purchase no matter how much attention your sales team gives them. Because your resources are limited, it's best to focus your sales team's efforts on those leads that are most likely to result in a sale: your "qualified leads." It's also equally important to develop sales strategies to maximize conversion of these qualified leads that your team identifies.
Below are some tips you can use to improve your lead management to increase sales effectiveness.
1. Eliminate hopeless leads.
The first step to identifying qualified leads involves eliminating those that are sure to go nowhere. This allows your team to trim down the work, reduce confusion and narrow its focus to the leads that hold promise. To determine if a lead is hopeless, your sales team should consider the following questions:
- Does the individual have the power to make a purchase? - In some cases, the person with whom the sales team is interacting may lack the authority or ability to make a purchase. This is a hopeless lead and is only a potential influencer if you uncover appropriate decision makers.
- Do any circumstances prevent the company from making a purchase in the near future? - Some companies may be under contract or otherwise unable to make a purchase from your sales team in the foreseeable future. Although these leads may eventually have value, your team should not focus on these companies until the appropriate time for personal selling. Until then, you should consider an automated lead nurturing contact plan.
- Is your product of value to the lead? - If the lead already has a better solution or does not have a compelling need for the product or service that you offer, the lead is not qualified. Ensure that you have a strong list of insights to gather in discovery that will foil the unique value of your product for consideration.
2. Categorize the leads that remain.
After you have eliminated the least promising leads, it's time to categorize the leads that remain according to their likelihood of conversion. To rank your leads as accurately as possible, consider developing a standardized, quantifiable lead ranking method using the Insight Sales Process™. By using concrete data to evaluate your leads, you can eliminate bias and be sure that you are not missing out on any potential opportunities.
3. Focus your attention on the leads with the most promise first.
The most promising leads are often those who intend to make a purchase immediately and have identifiable needs that you can satisfy. Thus, they should be the first to hear from your sales team. Do not wait to act on these leads, as they may decide to look for a similar product from one of your competitors, and the sale will be lost.
4. Teach your sales team how to interact with various types of leads.
Even after you have determined which leads hold the most promise, you can still lose them to an ineffective sales process. Not all leads have the same goals, needs, budgets and preferences, and they must be treated individually. Implementing an Insight Sales Process™ gives your sales representatives the tools and skills they need to uncover important information about each individual lead and then use that information to develop customized solutions that maximize the chance of a sale.