No matter what size your business may be, quality lead generation is a key component of your success. Many companies group “leads” and “quality leads” in the same category, when, in fact, they are polar opposites. It is crucial to make sure that your sales team is being fed quality leads to ensure they are working as efficiently as possible when nurturing them through the sales process.

If your lead generation is less than amazing, your sales team may not be functioning as efficiently as it could be. In this post we will share some time-tested strategies for improving lead generation and running an efficient sales team.

Clearly define what a “good” lead looks like for your company

The first step to creating an effective process for managing your company’s lead generation is to create a clear-cut definition detailing what the ideal customer looks like for your business. Companies often create “Buyer Personas” that detail their ideal customers. To do so, you will need to identify key factors about your target audience, including:

  • Geographical location
  • Annual revenue
  • Preferred industry or industries
  • Sales cycle
  • Company size

Once you have your definition set in stone,  ensure that all sales team members are completely clear on the leads to pursue. This is critical, as an estimated 90% of leads that are passed along to sales teams are never pursued. One of the main reasons for this disconnect is a lack of a clearly defined target customer. Once your team knows exactly what leads to pursue, this gap should close, as the team will know where to focus their efforts.

Strike while the iron is hot

The chances of closing a sale are best when pursued within 24-48 hours of the lead, so it is important that your team act quickly when a good lead comes your way. It is key to follow up quickly, but also in a personal matter. A generic email generated from your website will not do. Make sure that a sales team member follows up with a call within this time frame to ensure the highest likelihood of closing the deal.

Nurture the less-than-ready leads

A quality lead, once they are passed from the marketing team to the sales team, are generally ready to go. This is the definition of a quality lead. However, every lead is different, and sometimes people simply have a change of thought.

This being said, your leads may not always be ready to hop on board after the initial contact with your sales team. In these situations it is important to nurture your leads. What exactly does this mean? We’re glad you asked!

The lead nurturing process is all about communication and showing your potential customer your value. Make sure that your lead knows how to stay in touch with you by providing them with plenty of information including your email address, phone number, web address and social media pages. It is also important to make sure you stay in touch with your leads. Ask them permission to follow up with them, and regularly check in with them via telephone, email and social media.

In addition to making the lines of communication clear, it is crucial to show your lead how you can benefit their company. A great way to do this is by offering them promotional items like free e-books or informational guides. You can also create a special package deal for them, so that they know you are looking out for them and utilizing your knowledge to grow their business with a one-of-a-kind business plan.

Use technology to your advantage

Depending on the size and budget of your company there are many tech-based solutions for helping you better manage your leads. Three easy ways to incorporate technology into your sales process are detailed below.

1. Always analyze and track your sources

When you are actively pursuing leads, it is important to track the sources of your leads so that you know which methods are working for your company and which effort need less focus. No matter where your leads source from, be it PPC ads, contacts from organic searches or referrals from a colleague, take note. From this process you can learn what is working and what is not working and adjust accordingly.

2. Consider a customer relationship management (CRM) system

Tracking and measuring your leads should be at the core of any effective marketing campaign. You should be able to identify where your lead is within your sales cycle at any given time in order to keep your sales process moving efficiently.

The more complex your sales campaigns become, the more you may want to consider utilizing a CRM software. CRM software tracks your customer information, interactions, sales, customer support, vendor relationships and more. These programs were reserved for large business models in the past; however, many programs are being developed with small business in mind.

If you are looking for a basic and affordable CRM system, you should consider Pipedrive, while Hubspot CRM is a great option for those that need a slightly more sophisticated tracking system. If you are willing to spend a little bit more for all of the bells and whistles, you may want to look into Salesforce, which has additional tools to help you stay on top of the sales process.

3. As always, use social media to your advantage

You already know how important social media is in improving your company’s SEO and bringing customers to your business. Fortunately, social media can also be an easy way to generate leads and manage customer experiences.

Social media tools like Sprout Social, Hubspot and Hootsuite come equipped with analytical tools that will help you learn more about content performance, audience demographics and other important information. They can also help you track communication with clients and assist in managing customer service.

If your sales team is not working as efficiently as they could be you should probably consider implementing some of these practices into your lead generation process. By clearly defining your target customers, moving quickly, nurturing leads and utilizing technological advances in marketing your team will be much more effective in managing, nurturing and ultimately converting leads.