Sales Lead Management Software Solutions For Your Small Business

So, you’ve built up a solid based of inquiries. But now that you’ve got your leads, what are you supposed to do with them? Believe it or not, this is a question that plagues many small business owners, time and time again. Getting prospects are important to building your new client list, but unless you know what to do with them, you’re doomed to fail. To make it worse, you could have completely avoided it with the right lead management system in place.

Lead Tracking and Management may sound tricky, but there are many solutions available to help your lead management responsibilities move as smoothly as possible. Lead management software is by far the most effective solution available, and it’s easy to implement. And, the lead management software options for your small business are astounding. Knowing what you want out of your lead management software, and knowing how to use the technology you purchase, will have a huge impact on how well the software system helps your business perform.

Hosted Lead Management Solutions

Software solutions are now available as hosted solutions and hence no need to invest in server hardware and special software. These solutions are also known as subscription based services or on-demand solutions. You can subscribe to lead administration solutions, accessible via internet for as low as $50 a month. You can start using the software in a day or two, if not in a few hours. The learning curve is not as steep as it used to be. Your administrator and sales personnel can manage the leads centrally and access it any time, anywhere. The pricing varies with the number of users / sales persons accessing the system and volume of your inquiries and drip / sequential emails sent for nurturing and follow-up.

Key Features

When choosing a software system for managing leads and prospects, there are a few key features to look for: database management, charting, and client management options. Database management will allow you and your employees to keep track of new client leads, manage current leads, and keep status reports for each track. Charting will enable you to create graphical depictions of your leads, and show you what areas are succeeding and where your company may need improvement. Client management can track individual leads, let you and your employees know if a client has an outstanding question to answered, and track previous orders and future interests.

These three aspects of the software can boost your company’s productivity. You and your employees can easily track and manage many different streams of leads, and break each lead down to a single entity to focus on client relations. This is imperative for one-on-one client interaction, which encourages new clients to purchase from your company and increases repeat client business.

Components of the Software

  • Sales Leads can be captured and aggregated from multiple sources such as web forms, third party solutions via API, and emails using an email parser solution. The leads can also be manually entered manually so that all leads can be managed in one place.
  • Software can automatically distribute or route sales leads to your sales team based on various criteria such as geographical area, lead profile, etc.
  • The lead administrator can qualify the prospects and rank them (ex. hot, warm and cold) based on the conversion possibility. This would help your sales agents to focus on top priority leads first.
  • The prospects can be nurtured using drip email messages (or sequential emails or autoresponders) and future conversion. Latest prospect management solutions incorporates in-built email marketing solutions for this purpose.
  • The leads can be followed up and tracked using the email management solution in order to provide full visibility to all concerned.

Lead management software should also allow you to effortlessly import your existing data and data from external sources, and allow for merging of other important data along with the information your software stores. Reports will be a breeze to create with the right type of lead management software, which will both cut down on time spent analyzing your information and allow you to see in real time where your lead management skills need improvement. This is an invaluable tool for your client management practices.

The Human Touch

When making the decision to venture into lead management software solutions, keep in mind that the software solution is by no means a replacement for your own hard work. The solution is meant to assist your company in lead management, and allow you to handle more leads with the time you can save using it. The software system is only as worthwhile as the people using it, so use it wisely. Remember that your leads want to deal with a real person, not a program, and don’t let possible clients slip through the cracks. Prudent use of subscription based lead tracking and administration systems can help your business increase conversions manifold and improve the bottom line.

5 Tips for Improving Performance in Small Sales Teams

In my years of experience in sales and sales management, I have observed many small and medium sized sales teams. Often, they struggle to perform at capacity and hit their goals and it’s frequently a sales management issue. Sometimes it’s because the CEO or business owner is the de facto sales manager and is wearing many hats. They are often just too busy running their business or spread too thin. Sometimes they’re the technical experts in their field and their expertise and time is being used to improve products, systems or services. It’s sometimes because a top performing sales person was promoted into a sales management role and their strength lies in salesmanship and delivering revenue to the business personally rather than in a broad sense. Below are five things you can do to improve sales management in your company now.

1. Planning

Many business owners have at best a rudimentary sales plan. If they do have one, often times it consists of higher and higher sales goals, without accounting for what will drive that new business. Will a new product line be added, a new market be opened or new additions made to the sales team? Will the company be able to support the added expense while markets are opened and new sales people trained? How much risk will the company bear? A good but simple sales plan takes this into consideration. Takeaway: Make a better sales plan with concrete steps to get to the desired goal.

2. Modernize

There are many new technologies that make it easier to interact with prospects. Among them are CRM systems, collaboration tools, the cloud, dialers, email tracking, prospect and customer information systems. Existing systems are being upgraded all the time with the newest capabilities. All are designed to more efficiently and effectively reach more buyers, disseminate information, warm them up and help make sales. Social media platforms allow a business to extend its reach inexpensively and makes your business more visible to search engines such as Google.com. Takeaway: Evaluate new technologies on a regular basis to make sure you are keeping up and modernize as needed.

3. Training

Training sales people serves three purposes. The first is that it provides them an opportunity to hone and refresh their skills. The second is that it reminds them that performance is important and that expectations for them performing well are high. The third is that it shows a willingness to invest in them and that they are part of the long term plan for the organization. Takeaway: Make sure you offer training to your sales people every year (a sharp axe cuts better than a dull one).

4. Lead Generation

All businesses need sales and most small and medium sized businesses are subject to the feast/famine paradigm. When they’re busy, the first thing that gets pushed aside is prospecting for new business. Until business slows down. Then there’s a flurry of sales activity and soon business is back where it should be. For a while. Most small businesses don’t have bandwidth to prospect effectively in a consistent way.

Lists should be highly targeted and refreshed regularly. Technology should be used and a proven process followed. The technology should reinforce the process rather than detract from it. Top management should enforce the use of the technology and following of the process. Utilize social media and blogging to widen your reach inexpensively. Finally, no one can be an expert on everything so get help from the professionals when needed. Takeaway: Make prospecting part of the company routine and culture and call in the experts when needed!

5. Measurement

You get what you measure is the old adage and it’s mostly true. The challenge is top management often has a hard time pinning down the exact actions, activities and behaviors they are trying to encourage and measure. Here’s a practical example. Maybe top management believes that offering free webinars will increase sales since it worked well in the past. So the goal is to run well attended webinars.

How will these webinars be promoted to prospects and clients? Will a set of emails be sent, starting a few weeks before the first webinar? Then a prospect list with email addresses will need to be purchased and loaded and a compelling email invitation created.

Will prospects be called and told about the webinars? Then phone numbers will be necessary, a script will need to be created and a person designated to make the calls. To track call results, an activity report should be created and run on a regular basis to test the messaging, to make sure the calls are being made and to analyze the prospect responses. Will the report be grouped by prospect type (or industry or state or city or source)? Then that data will need to be captured or imported for each prospect.

Finally, reports should measure the success of each webinar, so that results can be tabulated. How many people registered and attended are important to measure, as well as what happened to the prospect once the webinar was complete to determine the ROI. Takeaway: Create reports that measure actions, activities and behaviors that drive sales success, run them regularly and share the results.