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Sales - 8 min READ

Sales lead management solutions for small business

How to set up a process to manage sales leads as you scale

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Copper Staff

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You’re running a small business, which means you’re handling everything from customer outreach to marketing and accounting.

It’s a lot, right?

It might just be you holding down the fort at your business, or maybe you even have one person helping out with sales.

Even then, as you scale your business, you’re going to realize that you need some kind of framework to manage all of the leads that come your way. And as you’re working hard to grow your business, the last thing you want is to leave a single lead unturned.

But how can you manage your leads when you’re still small and scrappy?

The good news is that you don’t need a huge budget or even a big sales team. With the right setup, you can manage sales lead management and scale your business right from the start.

What is sales lead management?

Generating leads is hard, but following up and engaging with your leads is even harder. It’s tough scaling up your customer relationships, especially if it’s just you running the business.

Sales lead management is the system you use to organize, follow up, and nurture your leads. If you do it right, sales lead management will connect you with new leads and warm them up to the point where they become qualified prospects.

With the right lead management solutions, you’ll have a steady flow of leads in all stages of your pipeline — without overwhelming your fledgling (or one-person) sales team.

Aside from saving your sanity, sales lead management is also beneficial because it:

  • Saves time: You don’t have time to herd cats. No more hunting down a lead’s email, or sifting through a list of emails to find qualified leads. With lead management, everything is in one place so you can make faster decisions. Plus, a lead management strategy helps you focus your time on leads that are actually ready to consider your services, and that’s a win for both you and your customers.
  • Brings in more sales: Did you know that 80% of new leads never translate into a sale? While this is a frustrating reality of doing business, sales lead management helps you convert more of these leads into customers. You can’t win ‘em all, but proper lead management ensures that no qualified leads fall through the cracks.
  • Retains customers: It might feel like you’ve hit the jackpot when you get a new customer, but that isn’t the end of the relationship. You don’t stop being friends with someone after one brunch together, right? So you shouldn’t stop investing in the customer relationship after someone makes a single purchase. Fortunately, lead management makes it easy to keep your biz top of mind for your customers, forging connections that keep them happy for the long haul.

Sales lead management steps

Sales lead management might sound a little complicated, but it’s the dose of structure that your small biz needs to grow. Every business is different, but generally speaking, each lead should go through these steps: capture, tracking, scoring, distribution, nurturing.

1. Capture

65% of businesses say generating (or capturing) leads is the hardest part of sales management. So if your lead pipeline looks a little sparse, you aren’t alone!

In the first stage of sales lead management, you’ll capture a lead’s information via:

  • Events
  • Content marketing or SEO
  • Social media
  • Paid ads
  • Website form submissions
  • Referrals

You get the idea.

Keep in mind, though, that your leads could be anyone. You don’t know anything about them, so it isn’t a good idea to go in with salesy messaging right away — what if they aren’t a fit?

2. Tracking

Instead of going in with promotions immediately, get a little more context on the lead. In the tracking stage, you can use a CRM like Copper to log every touchpoint you have with a lead.

The system will tell you how engaged someone is based on website analytics, email marketing data and more. With a CRM doing all of the tracking, you’re free to spend time on more important things for your biz.

3. Scoring

At a certain point, your CRM will tell you that a lead is ready for engagement. It does this through scoring, a process that quantifies how interested a lead is in your business.

Scoring is usually a points-based system where you add points to a lead’s profile for interest and deduct points if they fail to respond.

4. Distribution

If the lead is interested enough, the CRM can distribute the lead to your sales team so you can get in touch.

On bigger teams, this is a complicated process, but if it’s just you and one other salesperson, there isn’t much to distribution.

You can assign your salesperson to take all of the leads, or you can ask your CRM to distribute every other lead to keep things fair — it’s totally up to you.

5. Nurturing

The last step is nurturing (which is our personal favorite). Since 96% of website visitors aren’t ready to buy when they visit your website, they’re going to need a little warming up first.

Lead nurturing is an art form in itself, but you can deepen your relationship with customers through:

  • Meetings
  • Email newsletters
  • Testimonials
  • Webinars

Some leads will require a lot of touch points before they’re ready to take the plunge, and that’s okay.

With a CRM on your side, you can nurture leads automatically, giving each prospect the exact information they need at the right time.

The best lead management solutions for sales

Does that sound like a lot? If you aren’t doing sales lead management right now, adding it to your workflow might seem daunting.

But it’s actually pretty easy! It helps to have a lead management solution like Copper on board, but as long as you follow these best practices, you’ll be off to a good start.

1. Define your ideal customer

Before you do anything, it’s important to know what kind of leads you want to attract to your business.

It stinks, but most of the leads that come into your pipeline won’t actually become customers. When you know your ideal customer profile, though, it’s possible to sift through the leads for the diamond in the rough.

Make sure you define your ideal customer first, because you’ll be looking at each lead and comparing them to this profile. If the lead doesn’t match most of the criteria for your ideal customer, you probably need to remove them from your pipeline.

This might sound crazy as a small business owner, but you only want business from customers who are going to benefit from your services. That means saying sayonara to people who aren’t a fit.

2. Segment leads

Eight out of every 10 leads will fall out of your sales pipeline. But sales lead management makes it possible to keep more of these folks around, all thanks to the power of personalized, relevant content.

The stats don’t lie: relevant content can increase conversions by an impressive 72%.

But how do you send each lead hyper-relevant content? It’s easy if there’s one person in your pipeline, but what about 50, or 400? That’s a headache waiting to happen.

In this scenario, you need to segment your leads to get results. 51% of marketers say segmentation is the best way to personalize the sales process (and with a CRM, it can happen automatically).

In terms of how you segment your leads, that’s up to you. You might segment folks based on:

  • Lead source
  • Demographics
  • Niche or need

By separating your leads into different buckets, it’s possible to create content en masse without sacrificing your personal connection with each lead.

3. Use a CRM to manage everything

If you try to do all of this without a lead management solution … you’re gonna have a tough time. An Excel sheet or your email inbox just won’t cut it for doing sales lead management at scale.

A CRM will not only manage your leads’ contact information, but log every interaction they have with your brand.

It also empowers you to save time with smart automation. Most CRM automation is so good that your leads won’t even realize it’s automated outreach!

Sales lead management made easy

You have a small business to grow. Why not automate your sales lead management so you can focus on the bigger things? Your business will grow while you sleep, give customers exactly what they want, and save you hassle in the process.

But it’s hard managing all of these leads solo. Plug your awesome sales strategy into a solid platform that automates sales lead management for you: give Copper CRM a test drive now.

Try Copper free

Instant activation, no credit card required. Give Copper a try today.

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