Growing your customer base starts with effective development and management of a sales pipeline. A sales pipeline, not to be confused with a sales funnel, details the steps on the buyer’s journey from lead to customer. Effective management of this pipeline ensures the necessary actions that should be taken at each stage.
Effectively managing a sales pipeline allows for increased visibility into your team’s effectiveness at each stage of the process. Ultimately the goal of effective sales pipeline management is to increase your ability to generate predictable and consistent revenue.
Effective pipeline development and management focus on the following areas:
- Lead Qualification
- Lead Scoring
- Lead Nurturing
What is Lead Qualification?
Lead Qualification is the process in which leads are moved throughout the sales pipeline progressing from a lead to a prospect and then ultimately to an opportunity. This process occurs at every stage of the sales pipeline and ultimately decides if the prospect should be disqualified or will continue to be funneled down the pipeline.
As a first step to lead qualification, it is important for Marketing and Sales teams to work together to determine what is a true opportunity for your organization. Once Marketing and Sales are on the same page with what an Opportunity is, taking steps back to define what qualifies as a prospect and then what qualifies as a lead will help ensure that each team can work to improve each step of the process.
Leads can come from a variety of sources, with some of the more common ones including; website visits, inbound phone calls, email subscribers, social media, tradeshows, referrals, business card exchanges, etc. In many cases, each source can require a different method or even criteria for lead qualification. Having a defined process, criteria, and scoring model to continuously capture additional insight and measure each source is key to effectively qualifying leads.
Using a combination of marketing automation technology, channels, and our team of Sales Development Representatives (SDRs), Concept can help ensure that your organization’s B2B sales lead qualification process is being managed consistently and effectively. We work with clients across a variety of industries and sizes and recognize that each organization’s lead qualification criteria is different. We take the time to understand your ideal customer profile (ICP) and qualify or disqualify each lead accordingly.
As an extension of your Sales Development and Marketing teams we work throughout the lead qualification process to not only gather additional insight and intel, but continue to position your company’s value proposition to ensure each lead understands how you can eliminate their pain and move them toward their business goals. Our goal is to take each of your leads and progress them to a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) stage and ultimately to a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). At that time, we coordinate the next step to get that SQL in contact with a member of your sales team.
Why Lead Qualification is Important?
Too many times companies get caught up in needing to generate MORE leads. However, what often gets overlooked is the quantification of not just number of leads, but number of qualified leads.
Having an effective lead qualification process accomplishes:
- The quicker you can determine whether you and a new lead are a good fit the less time and money you will waste pursuing leads that don’t make sense. Not only will this prevent time wasted, but it will free up time to spend pursuing qualified leads and have a higher likelihood to close.
- In order to qualify a lead, key pieces of information must be identified. When qualified leads are passed to your Sales team with the right information identified, it allows for your sales rep to make the most of his/her initial conversation with a prospect by personalizing their message accordingly. Having a more personalized and relevant conversation will only help to increase the ability to convert the lead to an opportunity.
Improves Close Rates & Probability Accuracy
- What Sales/Marketing team doesn’t want a high close rate and a better way to forecast future sales? Better qualifying leads is the first step. Higher qualified leads tend to result in a higher close ratio. A better lead qualification process and criteria allows for more accurate reporting when it comes to forecasting and predicting future sales.
LET’S TALK LEADS
What is Lead Scoring?
Lead scoring is an agreed-upon methodology between Marketing & Sales for assigning values to rank and score leads.
Scores/Rankings can be based on multiple attributes, including:
Lead Fit –How well does this lead match your company’s ideal customer profile?
- Demographics—Company Name, Employee Size, Location, Annual Revenue, etc.
- Budget, Authority, Need, Time (BANT)—Can the lead afford you? Do they have the authority to purchase? Is there a need you can assist with? What is their timeline?
- Tracking behavior digitally to determine how engaged with your brand they are is the next stage of lead scoring. Is the lead spending a lot of time on your site? Engaging with social networks? Opening and Engaging with Emails?
- Ensuring that your lead scoring process is accurately representing the types of behaviors of the lead is key when determining if a lead is serious about buying, or just trying to learn more. Assign lower values to introductory behaviors like clicking through blog posts, and higher values to actions like downloading content or registering for a webinar/demo.
The goal is to align your lead scoring model with key pieces of data and activities that increase the likelihood of a lead progressing to a sale. This scoring process should be working alongside your qualification strategy as the numerical representation of qualified lead. This process helps sales and marketing teams prioritize leads, respond to them appropriately, and increase the rate at which those leads become customers.
What is Lead Nurturing?
Lead nurturing is the process of developing relationships and continuously engaging with buyers at every stage of the sales pipeline and through every step of the buyer’s journey. While many focus on generating leads as the primary objective, it’s easy to lose sight of the importance of nurturing existing leads that are qualified but simply weren’t ready to make an immediate purchase.
Effective lead nurturing can be done via many different channels with the most common including; phone, email, digital advertising, social, etc. As sales funnels lengthen, buyers become more independent and distracted. As a result, the importance of a strategic, effective, and personalized lead nurturing focus continues to grow. Not effectively nurturing a buyer can result in lost sales and market share to competitors as they most likely are nurturing and staying in front of leads.
Spending the time to develop and map out the right workflow for ongoing lead nurturing that combines messaging, channels (phone, email, digital advertising, social, etc), and the number of touches from Marketing and Sales Development teams is the first step.
Effectively managing the lead nurturing of a high volume of leads through various channels requires the incorporation of marketing automation tools and technology to streamline and automate this process to ensure each lead is being contacted at the right time with the right message.
The Concept Difference.
Concept is a unique sales development and marketing agency. We specialize in helping our clients track all leads through any portion of the sales funnel. We develop a custom reporting dashboard for each client, so they have complete visibility into how their leads and campaigns are performing. With our partnerships with Salesforce and HubSpot CRM platforms, our clients are also able track their conversions from various media buying platforms. At Concept, we connect all sales and marketing efforts back to actual closed deals and prove true ROI.
LET’S TALK LEADS