A lead is every positive inquiry which may result into sales. In other words, a lead is a prospective customer, who needs our product or service and may buy it. For successful selling, a company must have a comprehensive process for managing these leads. It must properly track the leads coming to it. Leads may come through various sources based on the company’s sales process and marketing activities. E.g.:
A customer calling our company
A customer visiting our premises
Through mail, fax, email, SMS etc.
Our web site and an inquiry form there
Found by our sales team
Our events or exhibitions
Following are the guidelines to manage the leads:
a) Establish a Standard Format of Leads Record Keeping: The sales department should decide which details it needs from any prospect who inquires about our product or service, or to whom we contact for selling the same. It should cover the name, phone numbers and other necessary contact details of the prospect, the date of first contact Information about the interest in our product or service
b) Determine the Flow of a Lead within the Company: Where will the lead be received? (It could be multiple locations and sources.) Where they will be recorded and stored? Who will qualify them and follow up with them? (It could be someone from our sales team or the channel partner.) Who in the company will ensure that all leads are properly attended and response recorded for future retrieval? How will we find out whether it is a new lead or a repeat one?
c) Ensure That the Leads Are Processed As Per the Standard Sales Process: Leads may come from many sources and all leads are not same. Every lead must be processed in a systematic manner to maximize their conversion into sales. The company must formulate its own lead processing method based on the standard sales process.
d) Storing the Leads: Store the qualified and shortlisted leads somewhere in some easily recoverable way. It can be stored: In a database on a computer, In a separate visiting card folder, In a notebook / diary / file in hand-written form, Scanned and kept as an image on a computer, Whatever may be the method of storing it, it must be easily searchable and retrievable. Also, write comments about the lead, depending upon the last interaction with them. e.g.(“Spoke to Mr. XYZ. To contact in June-2015.”). Explain the method of storage, commenting and retrieval to everybody in the sales and back office teams involved in the leads management.
e) Assigning the Leads to the Sales Team and Ensuring Proper Follow-up: The active leads must be sorted as per the region, territory or sales organization within the company. They should be assigned to the right sales person or channel partner, depending upon our sales process. The sales team must process the lead as per the pre-determined method and track it till its logical conclusion is arrived. If a lead tells us that they don’t need our product now, but may need it after some time, the sales person should note it down in some date diary or some mobile/ tab/ laptop/ online calendar to be reminded on that future date.
Many web based CRM or Sales Force Automation solutions provide an excellent method to manage and track leads for the field staff. Make use of these solutions. There are many solutions with a variety of features, scalability and cost structures. If the leads are received at some call center and then they are forwarded to the sales team on the field, it must be done with a very tight coordination. Sometimes, the call center is not aware of the situation on the ground and it makes promises on behalf of the field staff, which the person on the field is not able to fulfill. E.g. without getting a confirmation from the field person, the call center promises the caller that the field person will reach them by 3 pm. It may result into an unpleasant customer experience, if the field person is stuck somewhere and can’t reach the caller on time.
Learn more about sales leads management only at LSBF, the best business school in London.