Without people who are willing to pay for your product or a service, your startup or business will surely fail.
You might have a great idea, team and business model, but it is execution that will bring you success.
Lead management plays an important role in execution. But before we explain lead management in more details, ask yourself these questions:
- Who is my ideal customer?
- How will I acquire new customers?
- How will I reduce the cost of customer acquisition?
Lead management, or customer acquisition management, is about monitoring the attraction of potential customers through well-planned marketing campaigns and activities for acquisition or conversion.
From Sales Lead to Sales Funnel
A sales lead is somebody with a problem that can be solved by a product solution you can provide. A sales lead is someone who is, or will be interested in your product or service. But this person might know nothing about you or your product or service.
Inbound marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns and social media marketing (SMM) are great ways to generate sales leads.
But not every lead is ready to buy your product, especially if it is new to the market, innovative or disruptive. Lead qualification is unavoidable.
Lead qualification is done with different types of (marketing) research, or is based on your experience.
There is no one right answer as to when a marketing generated lead is sales ready. SiriusDecisions has identified five levels of qualification:
- Any contact is a lead
- The contact is an appropriate person in an appropriate organisation
- As above, plus a need has been acknowledged
- As above, plus requirements have been defined
- As above, plus the opportunity is fully BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timeframe) qualified
Qualified Leads as a Starting Point for the Sales Funnel
A qualified lead is a starting point for the sales funnel or sales pipeline. The sales funnel channels a qualified lead towards sale closing.
The idea behind the sales funnel is to naturally direct a person who is interested in your product or service toward sales closing – without jumping out of the funnel.
Lead quality is usually determined by the person’s inclination to perform actions leading towards purchase of your product or service.
Qualifying a lead is very important in order to optimize the entire sales process. Sales funnel optimization is about acquiring, converting and retaining your users.