The process of finding the right prospective buyers and converting them into customers is often overwhelming to both the marketing and sales teams. Moreover, getting high-quality leads is one of the biggest challenges for most B2B marketers. 

Thus, opting for marketing automation and sales intelligence software becomes crucial. 

Let’s understand the lead management process and the role of sales intelligence software in developing better lead management system for your business.  

Lead lifecycle management 

While the end objective of a lead lifecycle is to turn prospects into customers, the span of these lifecycles may vary. There involved some phases of the lead lifecycle that are usually conceptualized in the form of the ‘sales funnel.’ And both sales and marketing teams are part of this process. 

Nevertheless, the following are the four critical phases involved in the lead lifecycle that together set up the foundation for the lead management process

Phase 1: Lead generation

Phase 2: Lead nurturing

Phase 3: Lead scoring 

Phase 4: Hand-off to sales/Sales opportunities

Lead generation 

It is the first and foremost step in the lead management process. In this step, the marketing team will create a list of interested prospects. Traditionally, outbound lead generation is aimed at making the first point of contact with potential prospects. However, the inbound lead generation strategy has gained popularity in the recent past because of its low cost. 

Outbound marketing efforts involve targeted outreach activities such as email marketing campaigns, online advertisements, blog posts, etc. They are, thus, ‘interruptive’ in nature.  

Alternatively, inbound marketing efforts are more ‘permission’ oriented. Inbound lead generation enables marketers to release content and make them wait for prospects. Inbound marketing strategy is more inclined towards developing and pushing content that is attractive to potential leads. Once potential leads establish a connection with the content, marketers strive to engage them further. Examples of inbound marketing strategies involve publishing social media content, churning out articles for the company blog, etc. 

Once leads are scooped up by the marketers, they are included in a lead list where they are segmented. The segmentation is based on a variety of factors, including behavioral details, demographic, and firmographic. 

You can say a lead has been generated after the entry of a new person into the database as an outcome of either inbound or outbound marketing efforts.  

Lead nurturing 

Followed by lead generation comes lead nurturing. Nurturing is the process of making leads ready for sales conversations, and it educates leads and builds interest among them. 

The leads you gather can have varying interest levels, and they might be at a different stage of the purchasing process. As revealed by Marketo’s study, only about 50% of leads in your database have a willingness to make a purchase. However, you can convert leads with good lead nurturing practices. 

Before making a lead talk with salespeople, the marketing team needs to make some crucial decisions as-

Which channels to use for campaigns? 

-How is your business relevant to your leads? How are you going to personalize the content? 

-What should leads know before they get ready to purchase from you? What are the expected outcomes of your campaign? 

However, you must keep in mind that the success of lead nurturing efforts depends on prospects’ initial level of interest and what stage of purchasing they are currently in. This implies that some leads might need more attention than others. 

The marketing team mainly executes the early to middle parts of nurturing process. However, both marketing and sales teams have to engage in this process.

Lead scoring 

Lead scoring or qualifying process strives to seek the answers to the following questions: 

-How interested is this lead in our offerings? 

-Do they align with our target demographic? 

-Where are they in the buying process? 

-Do they require further nurturing? 

Your leads can be interested in your business, but they might need further nurturing to make it sales-ready. 

Conventionally, the marketing and sales team performed lead scoring manually. Nevertheless, most teams today are considering automating this process.

Sales opportunity 

This is the last stage in the lead lifecycle management. After making it through the lead scoring process, prospects are handed off to salespeople, where they are regarded as ‘sales opportunities.’

Role of sales intelligence tools in the lead management process

  • Sales intelligence software helps you gather in-depth data on potential prospects. It also enables you to identify unknown variables that are crucial to your marketing strategy. You can gain better insights into prospects’ buying patterns, what communication platform they use, what concerns they are currently facing, how much they are interested in your business, etc. 
  • Some sales intelligence tools come up with advanced searching capabilities that help marketers reach out to the prospects that are most likely to respond. 
  • By using insightful data offered by sales intelligence software, marketers can effectively segment leads and make informed decisions.

Concluding thoughts

As discussed in the blog, sales intelligence tools strengthen your lead management process. Thus, opt for the right sales intelligence tools for developing a better lead management process.