Proper lead management often requires more planning and detail work than most people realize. Doing it the right way is much more than a “set it and forget it” type of mentality. However, when done properly, a few simple best practices can really boost your company and help you keep a pipeline full of qualified, and worthwhile leads.
So below, we have a short list of some of these best practices. Some are specific to using Pardot, and some are just generally good ideas when it comes to lead management in general.
1. Make sure Sales and Marketing are aligned.
For any lead management plan to work, marketing and sales need to be on the same page. When a lead enters the system, many times they are not yet “sales-ready”.
The job of marketing is to nurture these prospects through education, value, and promotion, so they get to the point where there are legitimately interested and knowledgeable enough to be ready to talk to an account executive, but also to find out more about them to determine if they are a good fit. If all goes well, you can weed out the prospects who aren’t a good fit, and begin sending sales a steady stream of qualified prospects.
This means mapping out a clear sales process in addition to the marketing process, and defining where and how leads are handed off to Sales.
2. Track anonymous visitors and use their history once they opt-in
This is one of the staple items of using Pardot. When you setup Pardot, you add a little bit of tracking code to all of your essential web pages, forms, and links. When a prospect converts by filling out a form or gives you their email, all of that data will be automatically added to their profile.
This gives you a detailed history of how they went about looking at your company, the path they took to get to conversion, data on how successful your campaigns are and hopefully specific info on the prospect themselves. All of this happens passively, but in the end allows you to improve your campaigns, and understand how best to connect with your target audience.
3. Score leads properly
Essential to know when to turn over your leads to Sales, is scoring your leads. Each and every action a prospect takes, from visitng your web pages to clicking on your links carries with it some level of interest. But don’t confuse casual interest with intent to buy. Take some time and consider exactly what actions are good indicators (such as looking at a pricing page), and score them appropriately.
In the end, it is the action-oriented items, like signing up for a demonstration, that usually indicates the really interested parties, and should be marked as your hotter leads. Understand the difference is essential so that you don’t assign un-interested prospects to Sales.
Pardot makes this extremely easy, through the lead scoring customization page. Users can alter each and every standard scoring item, as well as create all sorts of custom score objects to fit each company’s unique cycle.
4. Keep the whole sales cycle in mind
Properly nurturing a lead means working with them throughout the sales cycle. The job of marketing is to nurture these prospects through education, value, and promotion, so they get to the point where there are legitimately interested and knowledgeable enough to be ready to talk to an account executive, but also to find out more about them to determine if they are a good fit. If all goes well, you can weed out the prospects who aren’t a good fit, and begin sending sales a steady stream of qualified prospects.
You can and should use every channel at your disposal, from email to social media to partner media channels. Content offers should include thought leadership pieces, guides, tips, industry research, and other pieces of content that help them solve their daily pains and addresses the particular problem you’re targeting with your product. Just remember, that this nurturing should continue throughout the entire duration of the sales cycle, and (to a lesser degree) beyond the sale as well.
Again, Pardot makes all of this easy. With connectors to most social media channels, as well as integrated email and link tracking, you can easily stay in touch with all of your prospects and deliver content anytime, anywhere
5. Create a target buyer profile
It’s pretty straightforward, how can you find and manage leads properly, if you don’t have a target in mind? Are you selling to B2B or B2C? Small companies or enterprise? Are you looking at a particular location or vertical? Are you selling to a CEO, marketing director, or another decision maker?
Setting up one or multiple profiles that both marketing and sales can use is just another trick to make sure your lead management efforts are giving you the best results.
Pardot offers a sophisticated profile creation tool. Users can create multiple profiles using characteristic traits such as location, industry, job title, company size and more. Then, each of these characteristics can be given a grade value, resulting in each prospect being assigned an overall grade for how closely they fit your ideal buyer.
So there you have it. Some simple but powerful tactics to better manage your leads.
-Ryan and the CloudMyBiz Team
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