Lead Management: Your 4-Step Plan for Converting Leads into Customers

When it comes to getting more customers from your marketing, the first goal is to drive consumers to your website. But that’s still not enough to determine true effectiveness of your online marketing efforts. You need your prospects to take the next step in the consumer buying journey, which is to contact you while they’re visiting your website or immediately afterward. And when prospects do call you, email you, or fill out a form on your website, they move even further down the sales funnel and can become leads once you qualify them.

How well you follow up with and nurture your leads at this stage of the buying journey often determines if they become customers. In fact, businesses that nurture new leads with marketing-related emails see up to 45% more lead generation ROI than businesses who do not use lead nurturing. So, how exactly do you turn new leads into customers? Try these four best practices that can help you master lead management and get more customers from your marketing efforts.

1. Build Your Contact List

When an interested prospect contacts you via phone, email, or website contact form, you first need to add their information to a centralized contact list. Collect details like their name, phone number, email address, and product or service interest. This is also the time to classify them as a relevant lead for your business. (If you know when the prospect is looking to make a purchase, you can even designate whether they’re a short- or long-term lead, which can help later in the process.) Having an up-to-date list of contacts and qualified leads gives you an easy and convenient way to organize the information you need to provide timely, pertinent, and consistent follow-up both over short- and long-term sales cycles.

2. Track the Marketing Source

How are people finding your business? Online ads? Social media? Direct mail? Radio? T.V.? (You get the picture.) Whether you’ve allocated marketing dollars toward online or traditional advertising channels (or both), you need to track what drives website traffic and contacts so you know which marketing methods are working. When prospects call your business, your staff can simply ask them how they found your company. You can also use tools like call tracking numbers, website URL tracking, and other lead management software to track your marketing sources.

3. Respond to Calls & Emails ASAP

Consumers often choose the business that follows up with them first, so it’s vital that you classify and respond to new leads by phone or email as soon as you can. While answering every phone call promptly is ideal, there might be times when you miss a call. In these instances, make sure you have a reliable phone answering service or call recording product in place so you can listen to the call recordings, classify new contacts as leads, and reach out to them quickly with helpful information.

If you’re responding to leads via email, a quick and simple thank you note can be a great response to start with. Your email should communicate that you’ve received their request and what your next steps will be. For example, you might let your leads know that you’ll be calling them to set up an in-person consultation or to provide a phone quote. Whatever the next steps are, just make sure your lead knows what they can expect next from you.

4. Regularly Follow Up With & Nurture Your Leads

It’s important to continually follow up with prospects you’ve classified as leads, but who haven’t yet made a purchase. This is especially true in industries with long lead times. You can stay top of mind with leads by making timely follow-up calls with helpful information and sending compelling emails that nurture leads and convince them to buy. If you’re sending emails, consider messages like customer testimonials, before and after pictures of your work, and special offers and promotions. Don’t be overly aggressive in lead nurturing emails. Rather, focus on providing content that will help leads understand the value of your business and convince them why they should choose you over a competitor. These types of emails can help build consumer trust so that when the time does come, your leads will feel more confident in buying from you.

Learn how to implement these lead management best practices, see email examples, and get a handy checklist in our latest ebook Convert More Leads Into Customers with the Power of Lead Management. You’ll also learn more about ReachEdge, the marketing system that includes lead management software to help you track, nurture, and convert more of your leads into customers.

How are you using these lead management best practices in your business? Let us know with a comment!


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Amy Neeley

Amy enjoys helping small- and medium-size businesses (SMBs) navigate the online marketing world with tips, trends, and best practices they can use. She has written for Fortune 100 companies, non-profits, and SMBs, and her articles have been featured on sites like Yahoo! Small Business Advisor, MarketingProfs.com, and other industry publications. Amy can often be found walking her dogs, Lola and Marlo, and keeping up with the news via Twitter.

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