B2B Lead Management: A Complete Guide for Business

For establishments that are well-grounded in the B2B industry today, lead management goes beyond the lead flow process of merely managing leads acquired through marketing campaigns on several platforms.

While considering the average lead conversion rate you'd get, it is expedient that you manage leads the right way in your sales adventure to generate a certain amount of revenue. For example, in the B2B sphere, the average conversion rate from lead to sale usually ranges between 2% to 11%, depending on your target market.

You're on the right track if you're concerned about converting at a very high rate. The major problem arises mainly because your rate generally falls well below the industry average. It indicates that your company is either lagging in lead management or not generating enough high-quality leads.

This guide walks you through all you need to understand about B2B lead management and how it applies to your company’s growth. Come along, stay tuned as we take you on an educational tour of what lead management is all about.

What Is Lead Management?

Lead management is a process whereby leads (potential customers) are acquired, organized, and managed to the point where they purchase your product. Think of it as a way of interacting with your target audience—those who no doubt require your service until they are convinced to buy from you. 

Because of the meticulous attention to detail that this process may require, lead management is considered more technical than advertising or other direct marketing channels.

In simple terms, the process of B2B lead management starts with getting potential customers (leads) from various sources and then distributing those leads to different sales teams who will carry out follow-up in their offline and online engagement.

Lead activities are often monitored via clicks on an advertisement, email, and visits to the website down to the real-time meetings.

On the one hand, lead management is critical in building customer relationships at an individual level for companies and establishments. On the other hand, it helps companies understand their customers and speak to their pain points to provide a lasting solution to their needs.

Fun fact: Over 47% of customers have been reported to buy from a seller that is well aware of what they need. This points out lead management as not just the soul of company development but the hallmark of economic growth.

B2B Leads vs. B2B Customers

B2B leads are those people who have expressed an interest in your product/service or brand while B2B customers are people who have purchased your product.

According to Invesp, the sales probability of 5 to 20% is actualized from leads while about 60 to 70% sales probability is realized from customers. This shows the clear difference between leads and customers.

No doubt, turning prospects into customers is much more demanding than retaining them. And it can be five times more expensive to acquire that potential customer than to retain one. By increasing customer retention rates by just 5%, you may be able to boost profits by an estimated 25% to 95%. 

Acquiring and retaining customers statisticsStrategies of acquisition

The strategy of acquiring leads is distinct from that of customers, and the acquisition is based on your brand campaign, advertisement, or content marketing for leads. In the case of customers, the purchase is attained through outbound marketing, inbound marketing, demos, discounts, and trials made available to them. Organizations and agencies utilize this skill.

Nurturing strategies

The B2B lead nurturing strategy is based on building trust with prospects and engaging them enough to make a move with conviction (especially through brand awareness).

The nurturing strategy of the lead process for customers is based on the release of product updates and new features. Testimonials, reviews, and feedback are also good ways of nurturing customers.

Revenue-generating potential

The lead revenue potential is usually achieved through sales whereas the revenue is generated from customers via cross-selling, subscription renewal, and upsell.

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The Lead Management Process: 5 Stages

Embarking on a B2B sales campaign that helps you acquire leads is one thing: Taking those leads through a process that yields the desired result is entirely different. Let's walk through the various stages that come together to form the lead management process.

1. Lead capturing

The committed step to lead management is lead capturing. Here you run marketing campaigns that portray your company's intentions to prospective customers. This step aims to acquire as many leads (with developing interest in your company’s service).

We call this process the “committed step” because nothing else can be done without first capturing leads from various sources into a reliable customer data platform. Not to forget, critical data like the prospects' email and phone numbers are collected along with this information. 

2. Lead tracking

Collecting all data vitals (email, phone number, and so on) is not enough to organize sales leads. This is where lead tracking takes center stage. Assessments are carried out on prospects to determine if they are interested in having a conversation on sales.

Lead tracking is a vital aspect of the lead management process that allows you to monitor all activities of your prospects. This includes activities such as:

  • Page visits. A visit to several of your company websites indicates your lead’s interest. For instance, prospects visiting your website on the Pricing or About Us page imply that they are interested in your product or services. It is therefore important that a response and follow-up team is established to keep up with the influx of people in a bid to pull traffic.
  • Email open and reply rates. An excellent way to assess whether your leads are in for communication is to track email clicks and the number of open and reply rates. This can be done with selective CRM tools and data solutions services to track your leads with accuracy.

3. Lead qualification

Sales can lose leads when proper lead qualification is not carried out. According to Spotio, about 67% of sales are usually lost when this process is not effectively executed.

Leads are qualified based on their interest and capacity to buy from you. This process also seeks to evaluate how your product serves your potential buyers’ needs by asking lead qualification questions to prospects (there's no point trying to sell to people who will not buy).

Information gathered from lead qualification must be recorded for future reference.

4. Lead distribution

Lead distribution is a pretty technical step that requires proper sorting to achieve success. You’ll want to determine which data lead lists (and scoring) should be distributed to a particular client or sales team. It would be best to sort every lead based on their interest in a specific product or location.

The whole point of lead management is ensuring that the right leads are assigned or distributed to suitable sales teams, with information available across the board. Hence, all team members are up to speed with recent developments.

5. Lead nurturing

To crown the process of lead management, B2B lead nurturing takes the role of transforming leads into qualified prospects. The beauty of lead cultivation is its potential in generating benefits for the company through direct revenue from eligible candidates who are now well aware of the company's product and service.

5 Stages of B2B Lead ManagementBenefits of B2B Lead Management

Not having a well-crafted lead management workflow, you put a risk of losing a large part of your sales privileges. Let's look into some of the importance of sales lead management and the main benefits for your business:

1. Management of opportunities

Several B2B sales opportunities come with lead management best practices. When leads are well managed (with timely follow-up), companies will have various options to leverage to convert their leads into customers.

2. Proper lead data management

With proper lead management, B2B prospects' data like behavior and identity are well managed for future reference. These leads can then be mapped with sales in addition to building an interaction.

3. Helps follow up on your sales funnel

Lead management allows you to visualize your B2B sales funnel and marketing results better. When you have the platform to properly follow up on your sales funnel, you can take strategic measures to improve your service quality.

Lead_Management_4Lead Management Best Practices

A recent study by Forbes revealed that many companies struggle with or are yet to update their lead generation and management strategies. Here are some best practices to manage the lead management process: 

1. Use proper tracking.

Proper tracking in B2B lead management helps your company to monitor customers and leads and record every one of their stages in the buyer’s journey. This keeps your company up to speed with how leads are showing interest in your product or service. Metrics can be used as part of the lead-tracking process that comprises a follow-up on the open or reply rates, including the click and unsubscribe rate. 

2. Create internal management processes.

Knowing the lead management process internally between teams will improve CRM management strategies. In this process, team members such as customer support, marketing, and sales are all aware of the process of managing leads.

This will help your company organize a good product pitch to respective leads. To put this in perspective, think about getting phone calls from different sales representatives that pitch from a company at odd times when you're only interested in one topic.

3. Utilize several channels in your marketing campaign.

Rather than depending solely on one lead management technique, it would be best to explore other outbound lead gen strategies and multichannel outreach like pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, webinars, landing pages, email marketing, cold calling, and other social events.

Utilizing more than one channel for lead management helps you keep track of your marketing campaign performance and figure out the method that best works for your company.

4. Take due measure.

Basic data, ranging from leads acquired, customers, and your sales pipeline can be insufficient. All metrics within your company's possession must be well defined by dynamic data that can be measured to realize maximum results.

Until this happens, you will not be able to optimize all of your company's resources and efforts. These best practices for utilizing high-quality data will give you a graphic representation of the lead management process.

5. Capture feedback with surveys.

For a business, leads can come in from multiple directions. Imagine a situation where a customer comes from an opt-in page and shows interest in your business. But you have no idea which product or service the lead is interested in. 

In such cases, you can create meaningful surveys using online survey tools to better understand the needs of your prospective customers. 

Moreover, survey as a practice has always proven to be helpful to organizations in getting vital information and feedback from leads. You can even share surveys to understand the pain points of your prospects and recommend them products accordingly. 

Build Lead Management Strategies for Success

By now, you understand the basics of the B2B lead management process and its various advantages to establishments in converting leads into qualified customers that will end up making a purchase. 

The process starts with lead acquisition and ends with meticulous nurturing of prospects to the point where establishments actualize sales. That's it! You're now a lead management expert.