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Managing Your Sales Leads

Thursday, December 29, 2011   By Mike Reddy

 



The measure of the successful pursuit of a lead is based on whether the lead, in time, turns into a sale. The key to this transition lies in both speed and perseverance. A systematic organisation and management of these leads can also help secure their progress through the stages of prospect to hot lead to profitable sale.

While niche marketing and aggressive targeting of audiences can start you off with strong prospects, these must quickly be converted to "suspects", and then "leads" (cold, warm or hot).

Consider the 5 Phases of Lead Management when constructing a system to provide you with the best chance of achieving the most successful conversion rates.

Firstly, make contact. Lead planning and generation require active marketing and will be where you sustain most of your costs. A strong, interactive and multi-layered marketing scheme paired with a sustainable budget will begin to draw out your prospects. The better you're planning, the less work required. By immediately drawing out already interested prospects you can qualify them as suspects right away.

The next step is to assertively qualify these prospects and leads. Assess the list of prospects for the value or viability as a potential lead. Often a series of questions is the best way of determining the 'sales readiness' of a prospect.

Follow the simple formula of D.A.R.N: Desire, Authority, Resources and Need. Consider each factor when evaluating prospects and qualify them numerically, i.e. assigning numbers 1-5, determining the viability of the possible lead.

The third step of five is to distribute these now qualified leads for pursuit. Consider the scale of each lead and assign appropriately, for example, assign your hottest leads for fastest follow-up. Ensure that you are recording any and all information gathered on the lead.

At this point it may be a worthwhile investment to look into different software systems (Customer Relationship Management Systems or CRMS) designed for managing leads. These programs will organise and systemise your leads, allowing for simple management, clear organisation and timely follow up.

Step four is to nurture your leads. The quality of your relationships will be the determining factor when it comes time for your prospect to make decisions. Perseverance and dedication will outlast your competition and increase your chances of a sale.

Lastly, take the time to evaluate and measure the success of your system. Investigate your overall costs and which strategies worked and which did not.

Measure your return by determining your customer conversion rate (CCR) and your customer acquisition cost (CAC). The CCR is the percentage of new customers divided into the number of leads generated. The CAC formula is to divide the cost of generating leads by the number of new customers.


Mike Reddy is a Chartered Accountant, business coach and advisor helping businesses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast to easily increase their profits and cash flow. He is currently President of the North Sydney Chamber of Commerce, a Regional Councillor for Sydney North East and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Sydney leadership team. As well as advising businesses, Mike presents business development seminars and webinars and is regularly contacted by the media to comment on small business matters. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.