I've seen lead management from all sides. I ran the marketing department for a HubSpot agency, where I implemented a lead management process. I've interviewed leaders at several companies about their lead management processes. And now I focus on teaching marketers how to scale their lead management with HubSpot.
Along the way, one of the most important things I've learned is that before you can make any meaningful changes, you need to know where you currently stand. And that's why I recommend starting with a lead management audit.
Audit your lead management process
Creating a lead management strategy can feel complicated, especially when you're managing several leads in different stages of their buyer's journey. But whether you've already implemented lead management or you're completely new to this process, chances are you already have a few fundamental elements that you can build upon.
Rather than starting from scratch, auditing your lead management process can help you identify which elements you already have and which areas may need improvement. Before we dive in, remember: to get the most complete picture of how your leads move, you'll need support from both marketing and sales.
There are 5 major stages of lead management:
Lead qualification and segmentation
Lead scoring and routing
Measurement of success
Each of these five stages will be too much to build out at once, especially if you're new to managing leads. A better approach is to tackle each of these stages, one at a time. By auditing your current lead management process, you can identify and prioritize which stage to tackle first, and incorporate these insights into your strategy.
1. Review your lead generation process
The first question to ask yourself in the lead generation stage is, "Do you have a way of generating leads through your website?" If your answer is a quick "no," then you'll want to flag this first step. Because if you're not generating leads, you won't have any leads to qualify, nurture, route to sales, or even measure.
Do you have a way of generating leads through your website?
If you are converting leads on your website, ask yourself these additional questions to better understand whether this step should be improved.
What's the average view-to-contact conversion rate on your website? How does it compare to benchmarks?
How are you generating the most leads? From what sources? From what campaigns? From what content?
Where should you be generating more leads? From what sources? From what campaigns? From what content?
Answering these questions will help you identify any gaps in your process and pinpoint which aspects of your lead generation process may need improvement. It'll also help you identify whether lead generation should be your first main focus.
2. Review your lead qualification and segmentation process
The first question to ask about lead qualification and segmentation is: "Do you have a way to qualify sales-ready leads or segment new contacts that enter your database?" If your answer is "no," then this is definitely a step to prioritize (but only if your lead generation efforts have been audited and are functioning well).
Do you have a way to qualify sales-ready leads or segment new contacts that enter your database?
Keep in mind that lead nurturing, lead routing, and lead scoring aren't as effective without a lead qualification framework or segmentation strategy in place first. So unless your qualification and segmentation processes are super streamlined, you'll want to be sure you've made any necessary improvements here before moving on.
Ask yourself these questions to determine if this process needs improvement.
Is your sales team spending too much time talking to unqualified leads?
Is your marketing team sending blast emails and receiving low engagement or high unsubscribes?
Are you able to identify which contacts are ready to enter your sales process? Which contacts need more email nurturing?
What's the difference between a marketing qualified lead vs. a sales qualified lead?
What are your segments? Why do you segment those contacts?
3. Review your lead nurturing process
First, ask yourself, "Do you have a way to engage and nurture your non-sales qualified leads?" Generally, a majority of your new contacts and leads won't be ready to make a purchase. If you're struggling to nurture those contacts to become sales-ready leads, then you won't have many sales qualified leads to worry about for lead scoring or lead routing. That's why, in most cases, your lead nurturing stage should take third priority.
Do you have a way to engage and nurture your non-sales qualified leads?
If you already have activities that help engage and nurture non-sales qualified leads, ask yourself the following questions to better understand if your lead nurturing stage needs improvement:
What are your average email open rates and click-through rates? Are these meeting industry benchmarks?
Do you have a high unsubscribe rate? Which emails have the highest unsubscribe rates?
Do you have automated emails set up based on a contact's activity or information? Which emails can you automate to save your marketing team more time?
Are your lead nurturing efforts helping turn contacts into sales qualified leads? Which emails or content are doing this the best?
Are your lead nurturing efforts influencing purchases? Which emails or content are influencing the most purchases?
Once you review these questions, you'll be able to identify areas for improvement, lead nurturing activities you can automate, and perhaps even some new opportunities. For example, you might spend more time learning to write effective sales emails, or you might look at some lead nurture examples to inspire more creativity.
4. Review your lead scoring and lead routing processes
Here, you'll ask questions like "Is your sales team struggling to prioritize which leads to speak to?" and "Are leads often being missed or not getting passed to the right salesperson?"
Is your sales team struggling to prioritize which leads to speak to? Are leads often being missed or not getting passed to the right salesperson?
If you answered yes to either of these, it's likely your lead scoring and lead routing stage needs attention—especially if your business is quickly scaling, but hiring more sales team members isn't an option. Developing a lead scoring model and lead routing process can help you manage your influx of leads and continue the growth of your company.
If you feel you're already managing your sales qualified leads well, there are a few additional questions to ask yourself:
Have there been any sales-ready leads that haven't been taken care of recently? Why is that, and how can you close that gap?
How is your sales team notified of a sales-ready lead? Can that process be automated?
Does each of your salespeople manage certain leads based on industry or product interest? If so, which sales member should handle those leads?
What qualities or activities do your sales teams consider when prioritizing which leads to speak to?
By answering each of these questions, you'll be able to identify which aspects need improvement and ensure each sales qualified lead is taken care of.
5. Review how your team is measuring your lead management success
Start by asking yourself, "Are you able to measure the ROI of activities that help you manage leads?" Or, put differently, "Can you attribute which activities helped turn leads to customers?" Your CRM software and reporting tools are likely already tracking how your leads move through your lead management process. Now it's a matter of identifying your key performance indicators, or KPIs, and where to pull that information from.
Are you able to measure the ROI of activities that help you manage leads? Can you attribute which activities helped turn leads to customers?
Although you'll get a fuller picture of your results if you measure a completed lead management process, this doesn't mean you shouldn't measure the success of each of the previous stages individually. In fact, you should establish and measure individual KPIs each time you launch a new stage of your lead management process. This way you can identify which aspects of your process are performing well. And remember—success can look different for each company. That's why it's important to identify your team's KPIs and understand how to measure them.
If you're already tracking or measuring the results of your lead management activities, ask yourself the following questions:
What are your KPIs for lead management? How do you track and measure those? Are you meeting those KPIs?
Is your lead management process helping move leads through their buyer's journey?
Is your lead management process influencing more customers and purchases? How are you measuring that?
Are your lead management activities making it easier for your marketing team to manage leads? Is it making it easier for your sales team to manage leads?
By asking these questions, you'll be able to identify areas of improvement and ensure you're able to prove the ROI of your lead management efforts.
Streamline your lead management audit
Generally, building your lead management stages in order from "lead generation" to "measurement of success" is a standard best practice. But if you feel tackling these stages in a different order would result in better, high-impact results for your company, then follow what's more suitable for you. To streamline the process, check out HubSpot's Lead Management Audit worksheet. It'll help you complete your own audit when you're ready.
And if you're still unsure where to begin, here are a few other resources: