Building a lead management process can either be a very complex process or a simple process.  If you’re a small business, I would venture to guess that you likely have not even considered building a lead process at this point.  I’ve heard from a number of people how they have “a lot of leads” and they’re not even sure where they are supposed to start.  I recently spoke about this during a workshop and this diagram that I am sharing is the document I reviewed.

I like this document because it’s dead simple.  It’s high level but it also helps us build a foundation around how a lead process should work.  Let’s take a look at the sample lead management process that I’ve put together.

Sample Lead Process

Sample Lead Process

This diagram is meant to be silly and straight forward.  I don’t think diagrams should be over complicated when it comes to describing how a small should define their systems.  This is a perfect example of that.  Each area has a certain focus and I’m going to describe each a bit more in detail.

Lead Sources

How do your leads hear about you?  If you’ve ever done a business planning exercise you’ve likely had to go through the process of stating how to attract customers.  This is exactly what we are looking for here.  What are the channels that prospects will go through to get to you?

The most common these days is website and phone calls.  You can get creative with this though as there are a number of other ways including events such as trade shows and seminars.  Cold calling is not a pleasant activity but it is a proven way of generating leads.  In this step you need to identify what your lead sources are that will enable your prospects to connect with you.

Capture Lead

Once you have done all of the heavy legwork to get prospects to connect with you, you must capture them.  Depending on the size of your business it could be anything from a web form, email marketing tool such as MailChimp or implementing a CRM if you’re business is ready for it.  Either way, get that lead into your database so that you can track them.

Qualify Lead & Qualification Checklist

Qualification ChecklistAs I mentioned in the outset, sometimes there is a problem of too many leads.  You’ve done a good job of getting referrals or maybe that Google Ads campaign is kicking butt.  How do you prioritize all of these leads coming in that fit what you’re ideal customer?  You need a qualification checklist.

What can you find on a checklist?  Your ideal customer.  Are you B2B and only work with 2 to 10 employees?  That’s a qualifying question for your prospect.  If you were a Ferrari dealership would you try to sell a Ferrari to a household income of less than $20k per year?  You might try but odds are you’d do better to focus on those earning a lot more.  Create a checklist and use it.  If you have a CRM then you can build this in but if you’re not quite ready then create a few columns in Excel to track your leads that way.

Educate

In the B2B world it can take anywhere from 10 to 15 different touches for a prospect to engage with you in proper dialogue that could lead to a sale.  I always recommend you to continue to educate customers so that you’re always top of mind to them when the purchase decision is about to occur.

For more impulsive purchases you can still educate after a purchase is made.  You can build an education plan into your post sales process so that the customer knows that they can buy from you again.

Pursue

No matter what reminder system you utilize, you must track it all.  If you are more comfortable in a spreadsheet, then use it.  If you’ve invested in a shiny new CRM tool, then you use it.  The goal here is to work towards having a large pipeline of leads that you are working so that you increase the odds that sales will close.

A typical pursue process could look like this:

  1. Initiate call with prospect
  2. Make note in spreadsheet indicating date, time and reason for call.
  3. If no answer, make a note for a follow up in the future.
  4. If answer, make notes about discussion and next steps.
  5. Etc.
  6. Etc.

I want to encourage you to build a system for following up.  There’s no real magic trick to increasing sales from your leads but rather the trick is to build a system.  If you follow a system, then I guarantee you will see results.

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