Building a lead management strategy
Marketers use lead management strategies to target prospective customers and convert them into qualified leads poised to purchase.
To be effective, your marketing team must create a lead management strategy that achieves several goals. The strategy needs to communicate your value, provide meaningful customer engagement, and lay the groundwork for long-term loyalty.
Compelling content is the center of effective lead management strategies
Attracting large numbers of qualified leads requires companies to provide compelling, omnichannel content — that is, consistent branding content across social media and other communication channels.
Good content helps your brand in several ways. It adds value to the customer experience, promotes your brand in an organic, authentic way, and increases your brand authority.
Compelling content is also a key driver for the success of your lead management marketing strategies.
Brand awareness inspires lead generation. When someone looks up information about your primary product or service, they are far more likely to click a link if your company appears at the top of the search engine results page.
Why Do You Need a Lead Management Strategy?
Designing an effective lead management strategy is the first step toward long-term brand growth.
While generating marketing qualified leads (MQLs) that later become sales qualified leads (SQLs) is a primary goal, building up a loyal customer base is just as important. Increased loyalty is a byproduct of a lead management process that provides value, engagement, and authenticity from initial contact to the final sale.
As you think through ways to reach prospects and engage with them, you'll develop a better sense of how well your brand will perform in your next campaign. Reflect on the successes and failures of previous campaigns to guide your strategy.
How to create an effective lead management strategy
We know that lead management focuses on capturing prospective customer information (leads) and converting them into sales. But what does a lead management strategy look like in real life?
A quick online search will reveal a nearly endless list of opinions and advice — it's easy to go down a rabbit hole and lose sight of your main objective. An unfocused lead management process is likely to fail right out of the gate.
The good news is that the best lead generation strategies are clearly defined and straightforward to implement. These strategies have the same central goals — to convert leads and to build solid, lasting customer relationships beyond lead generation.
Designing your lead management approach
There are many effective lead management approaches, but incorporating these five elements is a good place to start. Effective lead management strategies:
- Offer value
- Build trust
- Provide helpful information
- Focus on the customer experience
- Use targeted messaging
As you create a lead generation strategy, always keep your ideal customer in mind. Imagine how they might respond to the techniques you're considering.
Today's consumers are marketing savvy and hold high expectations for customer experience and relationship-building. Gimmicky tactics are a non-starter for these consumers and should be avoided.
You need to provide distinct value to attract a qualified lead — something beyond the product or service you're selling. Your marketing should make it clear what problem you're trying to solve or which life improvement you're trying to make. Consider these questions:
- Will this product or service make the customer's life better in some way?
- Is your product or service an improvement over similar offerings?
- Will your offering solve a common problem?
- Are you offering better value in price or other benefits versus your competitors?
Another signal to customers that you're providing something of value is how you deliver your message. This is where omnichannel approaches shine. Different customer segments tend to respond more positively to different marketing methods.
For some potential customers, social media channels like Twitter or Snapchat are effective lead generation platforms. Other prospects are more likely to see and respond to direct mail pieces or email marketing. Basic marketing research will go a long way toward helping you make effective ad-spend decisions.
You'll also be shaping customer perception by sharing your message in customers' preferred format.
When it comes to what your product or service can or can't do, don't overpromise. Your message won't seem genuine, and you’ll end up losing customers after the first sale if they were expecting more.
When you describe your product, use everyday language. Telling the true story of your brand will improve lead generation.
Why did you design this product, and why are you excited to offer this service? How will you stand behind your brand if there's a problem? Touch on these aspects when you're generating and nurturing leads.
Provide helpful information
You and your marketing team are steeped in the language of how your offering works, but brand new customers aren't. Clear communication before, during, and after the sale is crucial. When you keep customers looped in, they understand that you're investing in creating a relationship with them that goes beyond sales.
Your initial message should give potential customers enough information to understand your offer. Lead generation will suffer if customers have to do too much work to find basic information.
Make it easy to contact your company. Build a website with straightforward navigation and clear labeling on the landing page. Make sure that all social media inquiries and emails are addressed promptly.
Consider creating digital self-service features like a comprehensive knowledge center on your website or a chatbot that can handle basic questions 24 hours a day. Prospects will take note of how responsive you are to inquiries they make before becoming paying customers.
Focus on the customer experience
Another way to describe the way you approach the customer buying experience is "lead nurturing." When you strive to create a fantastic experience for your prospects and existing customers, you're nurturing long-term growth and lead generation.
Look for ways to increase customer engagement throughout the sales process. Your goal should be to create a positive experience from start to finish.
You can take an overt approach and build feedback loops into the sales process, checking in with customers as they work through the purchase process. Alternately, you can focus on building a seamless process that keeps customers informed at every turn.
Think about how you want customers to think of your brand as you decide how to engage. Consider content, graphics, and messaging. To develop a more robust sales lead strategy, focus on your goals for brand perception.
Use targeted messages
Personalized lead management strategies are more successful for lead generation. Customers respond better to targeted messaging. Tailored messages encourage customer engagement and improve the overall customer experience.
For example, your messaging should shift when a customer makes a second purchase. If you use the same exact message, the customer is less likely to feel loyalty to the brand. This is a missed opportunity.
Customers want to feel welcomed into your brand family and appreciated when they return. When they are, they are much more likely to become long-term customers with high customer lifetime value (CLV).
Inbound marketing and outbound marketing are both important
Inbound marketing, where you work to attract prospects to your website to convert sales, is part of the equation. Still — don't neglect outbound marketing!
Inbound marketing strategies
The primary way to attract and convert qualified leads is through rich, compelling content. Blog posts, how-to guides, YouTube videos, and e-books are a few methods. No matter how you create content, remember that authenticity matters. You won't rise through the search engine ranks with keyword stuffing or misleading advertisements.
Outbound marketing strategies
Outbound marketing is not quite as straightforward as inbound marketing, but it can be used to create impressive lead generation and conversion. Activities like setting up a booth at a trade show, engaging in event marketing, telemarketing, and door-to-door sales are examples of outbound marketing.
It is just as essential to create and maintain an honest approach to outbound marketing as it is for inbound marketing. Some marketers are more adept than others at gaining the trust of prospects in person — choose your outbound marketers carefully.
Enhance your brand with an organized lead management strategy
Effective lead management systems generate leads and enhance your brand in several key areas, including customer engagement, trust, and loyalty. Remember that lead management is about long-term brand building.