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Lead management, like marketing in general, is both an art and a science. And for SMBs in particular, it’s important to get a solid lead management system off the ground so that your marketing and sales teams are always on the same page. With no agreed-upon definition of a “qualified lead,” and without a lead nurturing system in place, it’s hard for sales to get the leads they want, or for marketing to get the recognition they deserve.

However, by implementing just a few simple tips within your small business, you’ll be well on your way to creating an amiable relationship between marketing and sales, where leads go from the top to the bottom of the sales funnel without incident. Let’s take a look at a few ways that you can simplify and automate your lead management efforts:

1. Know your ideal buyer profile

When it comes to your customer profile, your sales and marketing teams need to be on the same page. Get your two teams together to discuss your ideal buyer, from company size to industry and beyond. Are you selling to other marketers, a CTO, or another decision maker? What does their annual revenue look like? Having a unified idea of what you’re looking for will make it easier to pass leads between marketing and sales later on.

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2. Understand the difference between interest and intent

When sifting through line after line of lead data, it’s important to understand which actions are important and which ones you can let fly under the radar. To make the distinction, you need to be able to define the difference between interest and intent. Are leads looking at webinars and blog posts, or are they browsing through more action-oriented items like your pricing page? If they’re just meandering through your site, they’re only showing interest. But if they’re signing up for product demonstrations, that indicates intent. Between your two teams, decide which actions matter the most, and use these to prioritize your hotter leads.

3. Give your leads a score and a grade

With a buyer profile in mind, and a good idea of which actions equate to the greatest buying signals, it shouldn’t be difficult to put a scoring and grading system in place to help decide which leads should get followed up with, and which shouldn’t. With a tool like marketing automation, you can set up scoring and grading rules to determine whether or not leads are qualified and when they should be assigned to sales, helping to ensure that leads get passed from marketing to sales exactly when they should be.

4. Stay top of mind with non-sales-ready leads

At some point in the sales process, you’re going to run into leads who aren’t ready to make a purchase, and might not be for a while. Instead of letting those leads slip through the cracks (and eventually get picked up by a competitor), you can use lead nurturing to “drip” valuable marketing content to them over time, helping to keep your company top of mind. This will also help you build relationships with your prospects where relationships might not have existed otherwise.

5. Create engaging, supporting content

If you’re putting in the effort to nurture leads, then you need supporting content to include in your drip emails. Often, companies find themselves unprepared for lead management from a content perspective, mostly because they don’t have an existing store of content to pull from. Take the time to build up content that you can include in your emails, on landing pages, and for thought leadership — and your lead management process will run that much more smoothly.

Once you start actively working on and refining your lead management process, you should be able to start tracking and reporting on your efforts. This will help you identify areas of improvement, as well as areas where you’re excelling and meeting your goals.

Want to learn how to accelerate your sales performance with 7 tips? Visit our website or download the free e-book. 

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