Telemarketing Software Featured Article

Proper Lead Management Fills the Sales Pipeline

February 08, 2017
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Telemarketing Software Contributor

When it comes to inside sales, one of most important functions – it’s arguable that it’s the only function – is to identify and nurture leads before passing them onto outside sales. It’s tempting, during a time when budgets are trimmed and staffing may be cut back, to use inside sales people for administrative, clerical or marketing work. But if they’re not focusing their attention on helping fill the sales pipeline, the company will likely suffer.

Even if their focus is nurturing leads, the tools and processes they use to do this matter. Lead management is one of the most critical processes inside sales can engage in, and manual methods of lead management are often insufficient, given the importance of the task, according to a recent blog post by Lisa McLeod and Elizabeth McLeod writing for LinkedIn (News - Alert).

“Not all leads are hot, but warm leads go cold when you don’t manage them,” they wrote. “The case for lead nurturing is obvious, yet it’s the first area sales teams neglect in the rush for daily business. The result is a dry pipeline that takes you by surprise. Many sales teams don’t have the luxury of being handed pre-qualified leads. Make it easy for your team by creating a simple qualifying system; do they know what constitutes an A, B or C? Do they know the demographics and psychographics of likely buyers?”

Lead management features, which are often part of telemarketing solutions (such as VanillaSoft’s lead management solution) can ensure that inside salespeople are following all the steps necessary to warm cold leads, ensure the right contacts are made (and the right material shared) at the right time. The automated nature of the solutions mean nothing is forgotten, and distribution of leads can actually be automated according to the sales organization’s preferences. Companies can also use lead management to capture data, qualifiers, demographics, and the entire history of the lead, which helps “warm” the leads even faster.

“Set an expectation that your team spend at least a couple of hours each month (or week) qualifying and nurturing leads,” wrote the McLeods. “It prevents a surprise drought a few months down the road.”

Lead management solutions can help managers check on progress, receive alerts when activities are going off track, and evaluate the performance of inside sales team members on a regular basis. It can also help ensure that sales team members are spending the right amount of time on new leads but also nurturing relationships with existing customers, or prospects who are in a different part of the pipeline.

“Pipeline management isn’t sexy, but it’s critical,” wrote the bloggers. “You can’t build sustainable revenue or create a high-performance culture in a feast or famine business. Putting a disciplined plan in place to manage the entire sales process will ensure a pipeline that will last well beyond the end of Q1.”

Edited by Stefania Viscusi