“Lead Management” is managing your leads, silly! Unlike the definition of Demand Generation, I find Lead Management a bit broader and harder to define. Let me propose one definition to you. What happens when you acquire a lead? This person hasn’t purchased so you want to get him or her to purchase. Well, pretty much everything you do from the moment you have a way of contacting the person to the moment he or she makes a purchase is Lead Management. Here’s another try: Lead Management is sending targeted marketing messages that entice a lead to move to the next stage of your buying cycle. Sounds simple, however, there are a lot of assumptions underneath each component of that definition.
A targeted message is an email or phone call or direct mail that relate something about your products/services to a characteristic of the recipient. Here’s an ad I heard on the radio recently: “Are you a male over the age of 30 experiencing a lack of energy throughout the day? diminished sex drive? extra weight especially around the mid-section?” Since this is a radio ad, they can’t send a targeted message – they just have one where they attempt to appeal to people with a variety of symptoms.
What if all of these people completed a form on your website and told you which of the 3 symptoms above were they’re biggest concern? You’d then send a one-on-one communication that spoke specifically to that symptom and how your product solves that problem. Well, that’s sending a targeted message. The challenge is: how do you GET that data?
Buying Cycle Stages
Do you know what steps your customers go through before they purchase from you? Check out a recent post on defining lead stages to see how you define the stages in your sales pipeline and how those align with buying cycle stages. Buying cycle stages typically start with interest, then learning and evaluation, followed by justification and finally purchase. If you knew everything you wanted about your leads, how would you use marketing messages to push them towards the next step.
The art here is knowing where someone is at in the buying cycle. Lacking good data is sometimes helpful in that you can only attempt basic, generic messages. Of course, that’s not where you want to be long-term. Most companies find out where someone is at in the buying cycle by seeing what content they are interested in. If someone downloads a product sheet on a technical product you sell or if they submit a request for a quote, they are probably evaluating you and trying to justify a purchase.
You may additionally struggle with not knowing who is interested in your products/services. If that’s you check out an earlier post on how to acquire actionable data so gain some insight into acquisition strategies and data structure.
Lead Management is just as important as the term Demand Generation. Start with the big picture but mind the details. The goal is to deliver the right message at the right time in hopes of turning that lead into a customer. Most of those leads you have will purchase sometime in the couple years and a good Lead Management strategy is your key to making the sale!