The following is a guest post from Taylor Burke, a contributor for TechnologyAdvice, a software research company. Taylor specializes in project management, human resources, and business technology, and has also served as a content manager and marketing director for several successful B2B and B2C firms.
Getting a flood of new leads for your business is an opportunity for your sales team to sink or swim. You can throw your reps a life raft by providing the tools they need to prioritize outreach to the hottest leads and de-prioritize leads that are likely to waste their time.
One way to do this is to implement CRM software and integrate it with your marketing automation platform. This integrated system will let your sales team see each lead’s score, source, and digital body language, so they can make an informed decision about outreach instead of guessing. Even so, it’s not enough just to have the technology in place. You also need to have a strategy for managing data and applying it to your sales development process.
The following CRM-based tips will help you put a prioritization plan in place that improves close rates and productivity.
Thanks to marketing automation tools, your sales team has an extra set of virtual hands that can help separate high- and low-quality leads before your sales reps even touch them. Gather pre-qualification data that identifies the hottest leads out of the gate by asking for information in return and giving leads something free such as access to a white paper, a subscription to your email newsletter, or a demo. Play around with the data you ask for to find out what creates the most accurate lead qualification and what information leads are most likely to give without abandoning your funnel.
2. Score Leads
It’s the most important step in lead prioritization, because it’s the only way to know which leads are likely to convert. Lead scoring is essential to planning a successfully prioritized outreach strategy. The beauty of lead scoring is that the metrics are up to you. Use data from the pre-qualification period, and continue to build on that data as leads move down your funnel.
You’ll most likely want to consider:
– Demographic information that could qualify or disqualify a customer based on where you sell your products, what size budgets you can work with, and historical data on who is most likely to convert.
– Engagement metrics that show how many times and at what level a lead has engaged with your product. For example, a lead who opens and clicks through an email could be scored higher than a lead who just opens an email.
– Touch points to understand how far down the funnel a lead has already gone. Typically the further they are, the more likely they’ll convert. However, there may be a point at which abandonment is more likely to occur if a sale hasn’t already been made.
3. Tip the Scales
You could spend weeks gathering data about a lead that will add to or alter their score, but in order to grab a lead at that moment of peak intent, you need to establish a tipping point. Use your CRM to evaluate data and figure out at what point in your funnel a lead is most likely to convert, and make that the point where no lead is left unattended. You may also notice in your data that leads who achieve a certain score immediately upon entering your funnel (perhaps due to demographic data) have incredibly high intent. Move those leads to the top of your contact list as well.
4. Automate Assignments
Each sales rep on your team has strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps one rep is great at closing deals with leads from a certain industry, or another excels at talking to high-level executives. Match each of your sales team members with a “beat” and use your CRM to automate assignments, matching each lead to the rep that’s most likely to close that deal.
5. Personalize Follow-up
Even if you follow all of the tips above, you won’t close every hot lead on the first contact. But you can still keep those leads from going lukewarm or even cold by following-up with relevant, timely, and tailored outreach. Do this through automated, but personalized, touch points such as an email series that frees your reps to keep up with un-contacted leads, while maintaining existing relationships.
With the right prioritization plan in place, your sales team can avoid wasting time on low-intent leads and instead focus on closing potential buyers at their hottest moment.
For assistance choosing the right CRM for your business, download this free guide: 7 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Sales Software.