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October 26, 2018 // Craig Snyder

B2B Lead Management Strategy

B2B lead management can create sales qualified leads for a company if the correct strategy is used. The key to delivering good leads is ensuring that your business development efforts have a clear and accurate understanding of what aligns with the goals of the company you are supporting as well as a defined understanding of the sales team’s criteria. Business development requires a methodology and a sense of situational awareness that differs from a typical sales strategy.

Lead Management Strategy:
The strategy is rooted in the understanding of sales cycles, purchasing trends, and industry. Uncovering when business’s review their budget, needs, and projected purchase time frames can change how effective your lead management strategy performs. Marketing intelligence can vary from industry to industry. By gathering market intelligence, you can determine trends in the market that your company can benefit from. Knowing a business’s purchasing trends in addition to their brands/products used within their operation is crucial.

Appointment Setting:
Setting expectations for follow-ups and appointments can change how successful your strategy is.  Always set a clear expectation of the next steps. Getting something on the calendar allows the point of contact to confirm the potential of doing business with your company. The customer should have a full understanding of who is reaching out and what type of communication will ensue. Also, clear communication of expectations with your sales team ensures a shared understanding of the importance of executing the next steps. Setting proper expectations with a prospective client solidifies the reason for the upcoming step in the sales process. Effectively outlining and positioning to the client what will be taking place in terms of:

  •         What is the next step? (Call, Appointment, WebEx, Conference Call, RFQ/Electronic Bid)
  •         When is the next step? (Day, Time)
  •         Where is the Next Step? (Address, Login Info, Phone Number, Contract/Bid Website)
  •         Who is the Next Step with? (Contact’s Level of Decision Making Authority/Operational Function; Other Contacts to be Copied on Communication)

Pipeline Management:
Pipeline Management is key but there are differences between a business development prospect pipeline and a sales pipeline. The business development prospect pipeline involves more time prospecting before a sales-ready opportunity is established. A sales pipeline operates on close dates established by the business development team’s prospecting. By calling, taking accurate notes in Salesforce(CRM), and having a consistent follow-up, you can stay in front of any upcoming needs the prospect may have. A typical sales pipeline is managed/nurtured by close dates. Opportunities are not always worked by the sales team after the close date/purchase date has passed. This may result in the opportunity being reworked and qualified by the business development team.

This perspective on B2B lead management comes from my tenure at Concept. My lead management, appointment setting, and pipeline management experience have been intertwined with long-term clientele. The key to delivering qualified leads is a tailored lead management strategy. Clearly defined expectations for your sales team and customer are executed by an accurate and appropriate appointment setting process. The business development pipeline management process will help the sales team organize their sales pipeline and ultimately help achieve goals.