- Lead management in the digital age.
- What is lead management software?
- What should you expect from your lead management software?
- The functions & features of a lead management software.
- Why use lead management software?
- How to choose the right lead management software for your business?
- How to implement an effective sales prospecting process?
- Measuring the ROI of lead management software.
- noCRM.io's philosophy.
Lead management in the digital age
Why should businesses bother investing in lead management software? Wasn't a good old Excel spreadsheet good enough until now? One tab for contacts, another tab for companies, and another tab for opportunities. Things used to be so simple right?
Simple, but not necessarily very effective. To accelerate your business development, your sales team needs to generate more and more new leads and increase the number of interactions with each of them. In today’s digital age, generating a long prospect list from the Internet is easier than managing them efficiently.
With a low volume of cold prospects and customers, the Excel file did the trick. But if businesses want to grow quickly, managing thousands of contacts and opportunities can be difficult with a spreadsheet. And as your team grows, so does the need to centralize ongoing actions.
That's where lead management software comes in. Its objective is to simplify as much as possible the management of prospecting and commercial relationships, to facilitate the digitalization of your commercial processes and ultimately - because it's the main goal of course - to increase your turnover.
But be aware, although you need a tool, it can't just be any tool, it needs to be the right tool. Especially if you are an SMB with a relatively small sales team, you need to avoid complexity and adopt a tool that truly simplifies your business processes. Otherwise, you're more likely to add additional hurdles in the way of your sales team rather than freeing up their time for high value-added tasks. Highly complex and expensive software such as Salesforce, SAP, or Microsoft Dynamics may be fine for large companies, but they're not the best option for small sales teams. CEOs or manager in many organizations that have gone that way often complain about CRM never being up to date. It's also quite usual that salespeople only update their CRM just before their sales meeting making it a reporting tool rather than a day-to-day work tool. But let's start at the beginning.
What is lead management software?
Definition of lead management software
A lead management software is a tool that facilitates the work of a sales representative by simplifying the management of repetitive daily tasks: tracking the progress of opportunities and deals, creating new opportunities, reminding the salesperson of the next actions to be taken (send an email, make a phone call, follow up with a cold prospect, go to a customer meeting) or access to a lead's contact history.
A lead management software is above all there to allow the sales representative to be more efficient and therefore better organized. And on the other hand, it should also enable the sales manager to better follow the current sales pipeline and supervise their team.
CRM vs Lead Management Software: what's the difference?
Be careful not to confuse lead management software with CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software. A lead management software is exclusively aimed at sales teams, while a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software has a much broader scope and integrates support, marketing, and customer management. Lead management software could be considered as a Prospect Management Software or "pre-CRM" for sales teams. Leads are managed in the software and when won automatically sent to the CRM. Read about the difference here.
What should you expect from your lead management software?
Lead management: efficiency = simplicity
What does the job of a sales representative involve? It is essentially about turning prospects into leads and leads into customers. Therefore knowing when to follow-up with them, remembering at what point the discussion stopped at the previous stage and how to move them towards closing.
Your lead management software is not intended to add an additional layer of complexity to your processes. If you waste hours entering unnecessary information, it is because the tool does not meet your needs. The number one objective of a sales support application is precisely to free up your time for the tasks with the highest added value, the ones that allow you to win the deal.
As a salesperson, the more time you spend with your prospects and customers, the more successful you will be achieving your goals month after month. Let's not forget that as a salesperson your bonuses are based on your results, and not on the amount of client data you enter into the software.
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Segmentation: distinguishes hot leads from cold prospects
The lead management tool should also allow sales representatives to easily segment their contact base so that segmentation would allow easy prioritization of tasks. On the one hand, hot opportunities can be treated as a priority; and on the other hand, cold prospects could serve as a lead pool when the number of active deals decreases, or as a cold calling prospect base for your SDR team which can then assign qualified leads to your account managers.
The main functions & features of lead management software
There are really only four categories of features essential to any commercial prospecting software:
- Management of cold leads
- Planning of sales activities and auto reminders
- Pipeline management
- Statistics to monitor the activity of the sales team
Prospecting lists and cold lead management
The first job of a sales representative is to identify prospects, qualify them into warm leads, and turn them into hot opportunities to finally close the deal.
To do this, a lead management software must enable a salesperson to:
- Easily create lists of prospects either by importing simple Excel files or by connecting to services that generate leads (ad campaigns, online forms, marketing database etc);
- Clearly separate cold leads from ongoing business to allow the sales representative to effectively manage their priorities;
- Transform a cold lead into a hot opportunity with one click.
Management of sales activities and alerts
It is likely that, the more leads and opportunities you deal with, the easier it is to lose track of your ongoing deals.
And that's why, a lead management software should allow you to easily create reminders to never forget a follow-up, and even automatically create reminders for :
- A follow-up: by email or by phone
- An appointment with a prospect or customer;
- Any other action to be carried out on one of your accounts, depending on your sales organization.
Tracking leads in the sales pipeline
Another major feature of lead management software is the tracking of your pipeline. This will enable sales teams to work more efficiently towards winning deals and also keep in mind the conversion rate within the pipeline.
The first step is to customize the software to your business. The pipeline should match and take into account the different steps of the business's sales process. We call it a sales pipeline because your opportunities will visually move from left to right, from qualifying the opportunity to closing the deal.
This allows you to see at a glance the status of all your current opportunities and to focus either on the deals most likely to close quickly or on those that are just at the beginning of the process but represent your future revenues.
Monitor the sales team's activity
Finally, a lead management software can't be complete without a statistics or dashboard feature that gives you a visual overview of your current business performance, the performance of your sales representatives, and a forecast of your future results.
It is also important to have an easy way of tracking sales representatives' activities: number of calls, visits, emails, etc. This is because, it is often difficult to give reps pure sales objectives; instead, it works well to give them objectives for completing an action(e.g. make X calls a week). If a salesperson does their sales activities well, the results will follow automatically. The statistics in the software will help you understand your team's strengths as well as areas they are not so strong; you can then use this information to work on addressing their weaknesses and improving their overall performance.
Why use lead management software?
The shortest possible answer is to save time and focus on the tasks that are really worth your time and energy. For a salesperson it would be; scheduling customer appointments, negotiations, prospecting, etc.
But the big question is how does this translate into everyday life? Read on for the main benefits of using lead management software:
No more managing your prospecting with paper notes, post-its, Excel spreadsheets, etc. This not only saves you time but also frees your mind because all your leads are saved in one place. You can then devote that extra mental space to your higher value-added tasks.
First thing at work, when you open the application, you know exactly which prospects you need to contact depending on the conversation history with them. You become more efficient.
Centralize data and be able to work remotely
All information about your contacts (prospects as well as customers) is stored in one place and is easily accessible by everyone in the sales team. You have access to the entire history of the relationship with each contact. You no longer risk missing important information to win a deal and you also do not risk losing customer information when a sales representative leaves the company.
In addition, in times where a pandemic can force remote work to become the norm, using SaaS software allows you to continue your business as efficiently as before.
Prospect on the go
One of the other advantages of centralizing data and using SaaS software is the ability to work from your mobile - but make sure the solution you choose has a mobile application available. Not all sales reps are always active and it is very important to be able to quickly debrief an appointment on the way out without having to wait until the end of the day and return to the office. For example, noCRM.io offers voice debriefing and business card scanning capabilities in its mobile application.
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Sharing of information allows everyone to avoid stepping on each other's toes. Sales representatives know exactly who has been in contact with which prospects, what has been said, and when the conversations took place. Therefore, it enables you to collaborate with other sales representatives effectively on an account. Finally, the day a new sales representative arrives, it facilitates their onboarding to have access to all the contact history with a lead and ensures they are operational more quickly.
A lead management software is not intended to identify new leads. It is not a contact scraping machine. However, it allows you to import lists or build lists of prospects, met at trade shows or generated on the Internet, to sort and classify them according to their quality. Once correctly qualified a cold prospect can be turned in a great hot lead.
Too often a deal fails because the lead was not properly qualified in the beginning. Qualifying cold leads is an essential part of prospecting that will prevent you from wasting your time on deals that had no chance of closing in the first place. A lead management software allows you to easily collect information on a prospect, prioritize follow-ups, and to follow its evolution over time.
To make your life easy, noCRM.io has created a free and customizable phone call script that allows you to ask the right questions and collect all the relevant information you need during a prospecting call. Once the call is over, send all the information collected to your prospecting software and you know precisely the qualification level of your lead. No need to waste hours on data entry!
Shorten sales cycles
With a lead management software, your processes are better oiled; you always know what the next step in the sales cycle is, you never forget to follow up on a lead and you always arrive ready for an appointment.
This saves you time and improves the quality of your conversations with your prospects, naturally shortening your sales cycle. In addition, the lead management software allows you to keep your pipeline clean by easily identifying deals that are not moving forward and to make the decision to either continue or not to with them.
Better experience for prospects
As we have seen, you can better qualify your leads with lead management software. You also have access to more information about your prospects. Finally, you follow up your opportunities more easily thanks to reminders and notifications.
As a result, your prospects have a much better experience with your company during the sales phase, which automatically increases your chances of winning each deal. On a personal level, if a salesperson does not follow up on a lead when they have shown themselves to be willing to buy their product or service, the lead is likely to think that their company is badly organized and take it as a warning.
Measure and optimize your business performance
With lead management software, sales managers can easily track the activity of each sales representative (calls made, emails sent, appointments scheduled, etc.). It's easy to set goals for each sales representative and track the number of opportunities and deals won.
With this data, you can better forecast your sales and better anticipate slower periods. You can also identify who in you sales team performs well at what, and try to improve the sales skills of the underperformers.
How to choose the right lead management software?
So far we've explained exactly what a lead management software is, what its key features are and why you as a salesperson need it. But how do you choose the software that best fits your needs?
What is your goal?
This is obviously the most important question, along with the budget. Are you looking to equip your sales team with a software that will simplify lead processing and deal management, saving your team time and increasing efficiency on daily tasks? A SaaS lead management software, easily customizable and with robust and well-designed essential functionalities should suit you. It is with this philosophy that noCRM.io was developed.
Or on the other hand do you absolutely need a more complex and malleable tool because your business, your processes, and your IT ecosystem require it? Do you want a tool that integrates all the business cohorts and internal processes? Then, yes, you might prefer tools like Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics or even an ERP.
However, the more complex or standard tools you use, the more customization you'll need, and the higher the risk of failures. Therefore, for any big CRM or ERP you will need an agency to integrate the tool, and loads of training will be required.
If the initial focus is on the business side, then it makes more sense in starting with a simple SaaS tool first. Companies can change to a more complex system later when they wish to expand and have gained experience in understanding their needs better.
Moreover, never mistake that more features mean a better user experience. What's the point of having a powerful integrated solution if it is too complex for the end-user?
If your needs are standard, then there is no need to implement a software too complex. The costs and risks are not the same.
What is your budget?
The eternal question that is often discussed in boardroom meetings: what is the right budget? The one that will allow you to meet your needs without worrying about the fuel in the tank.
Equipping yourself with an industry-standard solution such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, or Sugar CRM may seem reassuring at first glance. But the plethora of features they offer that you don't need can end up frustrating your sales team. As they are too complicated to use most of the time, salespeople get fed up and simply stop using these CRMs.
You'll have spent a fortune on a toy that no one knows or wants to use. Worse, it could cost you more time than if you had opted for the status quo. Many lightweight and efficient lead management solutions cost less than 30€ / user per month with no commitment and a free trial. Take this opportunity to test the solution directly.
What is the size of your company and sales team?
This question usually goes hand in hand with the previous one. The leaner your sales team structure is, the simpler and more efficient the software you implement would be. A simple lead management solution will easily enable the work of teams up to 20 salespeople. For teams with between 20 and 50 people, there will definitely be a need for integration with other software used in the company. Therefore, remember to check that the solution has an API or is already connected to the tools you use either directly or via Zapier. If you have a sales team of 100 people and above, you should move to one of the big solutions on the market and attribute a real budget for customization and integration.
How digitally savvy is your sales team?
Implementing new software is often a big change in a company. If your salespeople are not comfortable with the technology or if they are afraid of not knowing how to use the software properly then the technological shift could cause the well-oiled sales team to stop running.
That's why it's important to take their digital skills into account before choosing the tool. The easier the software is to use, the more it will be used. It's like a calculator; if you're tired of doing your calculations on a sheet of paper, you buy a calculator. But if all you need to do is add and subtract, then why buy a scientific calculator with advanced functions? Which is more expensive, less easy to use and causes more problems than solutions. The same applies to lead management software.
On the other hand, don't be afraid to deploy software because your team is not used to using digital solutions. If the software is simple and if it helps the salespeople do their job on a daily basis, they will soon adopt it.
How to implement an effective sales prospecting process?
Don't expect any tool to magically make your prospecting effective. In order to be effective, your sales prospecting requires good preparation. Here are four steps to restructure your sales processes and get you off to a good start.
Step 1: Define your target audience
This might seem like the ABC of sales work, but targets are often poorly defined. The more specific you are about the people and companies you are looking for, the higher your conversion rate will be. Here are two complementary methods to identify the right contact person in the right company:
Ideal Customer Profile (ICP): the typical profile of the ideal company. Here are a few characteristics you need to think about: activity, industry, geographical location, turnover, workforce size.
Persona: the typical profile of the ideal customer. Here are some criteria to think about: age, position, needs, expectations, personality traits, psychological levers of persuasion to use, length of the decision making process.
By working closely on your target personas and KPIs, it will be easy for you will know exactly who to contact in which company.
Step 2: Set your goals & targets
What is your overall revenue target? How many new customers does this represent? How is this overall goal distributed among the different sales representatives? Are these objectives credible and achievable in relation to your past sales performance? How many cold calls do you need to get an opportunity, and how many appointments do you need to turn an opportunity into a customer? On this basis, you will be able to give your sales representatives not only sales objectives in terms of revenues but also in terms of number of activities to achieve.
You need to be able to answer all these questions, with the entire sales team, so that everyone is on the same wavelength and accepts the objectives assigned to them.
Step 3: Define the channels to be activated
Depending on your industry and customer profiles, define the channel you would like to follow. For example, to understand what works best amongst; LinkedIn, phone calls and outbound email campaigns, you would need to do some tests.
We generally recommend an omnichannel strategy where each of these three levers plays a role in the sales process. But obviously, there are exceptions based on the industry your business operates in or the location of your business. It is something that is extremely dependent on your business and you have to be wary of general rules.
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Step 4: Sales pitch message
It's time to put your best foot forward. You now know who to contact, in which company and via which communication channel. If you have taken the time to do this preparatory work properly, you should already have a good idea of the sales pitch message to convey to your prospects.
Be careful, in order to hit the bull's eye, ensure your outreach message is personalized to a lead's specific challenges.
Hence the importance of having a simple and efficient lead management software. All your customer knowledge is stored there and must be well organized and segmented to allow you to do your job properly.
From the Personas and ICP, create segmented lists to know which prospect to send what message. You can also organize different pipelines according to the type of customer. The sale process is not the same with a prospect or a partner.
Measuring the ROI of lead management software
The success rate of a lead management software is not measured by the number of features it offers, but more simply by its ROI. If it costs you more than it earns you, you have made the wrong choice. Lead management software needs to fit right with your business goals for maximum ROI. Generally speaking, a simple lead management software costs very little compared to what it is supposed to bring you in terms of revenue if it is used.
With noCRM.io, we have seen that customers who implemented our software increased their closing rate by 25%. This even increases to 80% for companies that had to manage a large number of leads and were only previously equipped with a notebook and spreadsheet. For a good approximation of the maximum amount you should pay for a lead management software, calculate 15% of your new business per month.
Our point of view - noCRM.io's philosophy
When it comes to sales you want a tool that your sales team will adopt. You don't want your sales team to change its sales process, you want a tool that will adapt itself to your sales process and make it more efficient. Selling is not about sorting data, selling is about following-up on the right prospect at the right moment with the correct information. We think that the most important thing is to never miss a follow-up, to be sure that a qualified lead does not fell into the crack.
It's based on this philosophy that we have built noCRM.io : an easy-to-start app to maximize usage, a follow-up on each lead to raise the closing rate and great tools and statistics for the manager to help its team become even better. If you share that philosophy with us then maybe you should start your free trial by clicking the button below.Lead Management Software Sales Team SaaS
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