Posted by Chris Handy ● October 16, 2015

The 4 Deadly Sins of Handling Inbound Leads

Managing the inbound leads process is no easy task. There’s always a better and simpler way to improve lead management efforts to get the results you and your business needs.

But instead of focusing on the lead process itself, most organizations often put the blame on either sales or marketing for not doing their jobs, the product/service for not being sexy, or the customer pool for not having the budget.

Businesses need to take time out figure out the gaps in the leads process and lead management.

We'll include some stats to support our positions from this years State of Inbound report. You can download the report here before you keep reading.

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The 4 Deadly Sins of Handling Leads

Your leads process might need a slight renovation if your business is conducting these mistakes:

Sin #1: Misqualifying leads

Prospecting is the most difficult step of the sales process. This issue is compounded by the fact that salespeople lack vital information before they reach out to leads. A staggering 83% of respondents from failing teams said they either didn’t know what information they had before contacting a lead, or that the question was not applicable to them, a mere 17% of successful teams gave the same answer.  - State of Inbound 2015

A web visitor is different from someone who just downloaded a white paper. Similarly, someone who left their business card at a tradeshow should be categorized differently than someone who emailed your company directly. It’s critical to know whether or not someone is a hot lead, and how to qualify it accordingly. Clearly define what makes someone a prospect, lead, marketing qualified lead or sales qualified lead; and communicate these categories across sales and marketing teams.

Sin # 2: Having poor (or non-existent) CRM systems

Unsuccessful sales teams are 2x more likely to use Excel, outlook or physical files to store lead and customer data. - State of Inbound 2015

While Microsoft Excel has some great tools and functionality for lead tracking and reporting, a more sophisticated web-based system is the way to go today.

CRM systems like HubSpot CRM and Salesforce are built and designed for sales teams, lead generation data, and sales funnel tracking. Use a CRM to enter, assign, and track leads.

With data collection and reporting efforts available in a CRM system, you can help monitor lead activity and help prevent leads from slipping through the cracks.


Sin #3: Not following up quickly

Today’s buyer is notably different than the buyer of decades past -- or even just a few years ago. Decision makers enter the sales process much more informed about sales offerings than they used to be, and they’re seemingly busier than ever before. - State of Inbound 2015

Reasons for most businesses failing to follow-up are due to having poor CRM systems in place, being too busy to make following up a priority, or assuming the call won’t result in a sale anyway. reports that 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first.

Most sales people also assume the follow-up must be a callback or personal email. Know that it is perfectly fine to send automated messages, especially if the lead isn’t a hot lead just yet. At least you’re reaching out and letting the lead know you’re available when they need more information or are ready to purchase.

Sin #4: Letting warm leads go cold

The main tool in top marketers’ arsenals is a platform for automating their team’s marketing efforts. While our respondents indicated using an array of specific products, the larger trend was telling: The guys at the top use marketing automation software in some form or another. - State of Inbound 2015

It's important to comprehend that not all "qualified" leads are necessarily ready to buy or talk to a salesperson.

In fact, Gleanster Research reports 50% of leads that are qualified are not ready to make that purchasing decision. Keep the lead on an email list and send them invites to webinars, e-newsletters with the newest white papers, blogs, or e-books.

Sending helpful content and including your contact information will help keep your business as the lead’s top contender.

Evaluate Your Process and See Results

Of the respondents, those who had a formal agreement between Sales and Marketing were more likely to see higher ROI on marketing dollars in 2015, receive a budget increase, and expand their sales teams. - State of Inbound 2015

Whether you’re just strategizing on a lead management process or are trying to overhaul your existing one, ensure you manage leads to benefit your sales and marketing teams, your customers, and your business.

Knowing what’s killing your sale and avoiding making similar mistakes in the future are keys to improving lead management and ultimately generating revenue for your business.


Topics: Sales Enablement