A successful online marketer can be compared to a gardener; Just as a gardener waters his plants at all stages of their growth, an online marketer should care for their customers during every step of their journey. Contacting the potential customer isn’t always enough to convince them to try out your product or service. When it comes to lead management, the customer is accompanied from initial...
The previous parts of our advice series have shown that lead management is more than just a cliché devised by wannabe marketing specialists. It’s a process that is structured well throughout, partly automated, always customized, and requires maximum performance from marketing and sales.
At the beginning of the series we used a metaphor to compare the customer to a plant. With content marketing measures and other actions, it all begins with the seed i.e. with lead generation where the first shoots begin to sprout. Lead nurturing cares for the ever-growing plants, giving them exactly what they need: information, content, and other incentives. If the plants then bear fruit, it’s down to lead scoring to assess their maturity. Last, but not least, the sales department comes into play: it is time to reap what you sowed and cultivated for a long time. In the fifth part of our lead management series, we explore the last step, the harvest: lead routing.
What is lead routing?
The term routing refers to controlling or maintaining data movement. According to the definition of lead routing, the last parts of the lead management process are therefore directed towards maintaining contact data, albeit in one direction: from the sales department to a successful transaction. Basically, lead routing describes the content being passed from the marketing department to the sales department.
In the B2B area (where great importance is attached to personal contact), the process follows a classic pattern: When lead nurturing is complete and the maturity (defined by lead routing) has been reached, the lead is then passed on to the appropriate sales representative. They take the contact on and are responsible for further communication with them. The goal is clear: to achieve a successful transaction and to deliver products and services to the customer in a profitable way.
The final part in the lead management process
The takeaways from the lead scoring process are essential to complete the lead management process. It is only through clear evaluation that it is possible to estimate how interesting a lead is for the respective sales target – and whether the lead is ready for an offer at all. It’s not just the user-related data or the user profile that play an important role, but also the activity and reactions towards measures that have been tried. All this counts towards the lead routing process.
A lead scoring model evaluates each prospective customer and specifies their priority in the lead routing process. It also defines the exact status in the customer journey. When the lead is at the point where they’re ready to make a decision a critical phase begins: You shouldn’t wait too long before implementing specific measures and you must make personal contact at the right time. The sales representative has everything they need: all essential information and analyses so that they can adapt their sales strategy accordingly.
Lead management: a continuous process
Even if finalizing the lead management process has been mentioned: it is by no means completed. Lead management, and especially lead nurturing models and lead scoring models, are constantly developing. It is a continuous process.
Controlling and analyzing play a central role here; they show where the purchasing process can be improved and where you can use better methods to win over potential customers. This creates a marketing automation machine, which is based on modern lead management tools.
With programs such as HubSpot, Pipedrive, or Teamgate, you can organize all your actions in a clear way. By allowing all data from different channels to enter into a central platform, you can segment leads more easily and make them accessible to both departments – marketing and sales. It is also easier to define unique lead routing rules.
The big challenge remains to find the optimal balance between automation and personalization. If you then find the right approach for the target group and the right content for the campaign design, the lead management strategy is sorted. Companies are therefore able to establish successful business relationships and to maintain contact with new and existing customers on a sustained basis.
Still not had enough of lead management?
More and more B2B companies want to make the most of social networks’ potential in lead generation. In the last part of the lead management series, we concentrate on lead generation with social media – with the focus mainly on platforms such as Facebook, Xing, and others.