December 18

Lead Generation Check list – Part 7: Effective lead management

Lead Management


My checklist for optimizing the lead generation process so far has included six steps: the mindset of not pushing; repairing the rift between sales and marketing; creating the ideal customer profile (and the un-ideal customer profile as well); agreeing upon a universal lead definition that fits your company’s goals and culture; importance of a well maintained database; and, in step 6, I outlined a multi-modal approach and discussed its importance in the lead gen process. Today I’d like to discuss the aspects of an effective lead management process.

I’m not sure why many organizations think it’s acceptable to only get a return on about 20% of their leads when an optimized lead management process can tremendously help to convert more of those hard earned leads in the sales pipeline.

The role of effective lead management is to watch and direct the conversion of sales leads into customers and to track milestones and touch points. Some will describe lead management as the process of going from “the first contact to close.”

Lead management is the bridge between sales and marketing that connects the beginning and middle of the customer acquisition process. (Download the marketing sales funnel graphic as a PDF)

  • Implement and enforce standard universal lead scoring definitions (ULD). Don’t just create your ideal definition of a lead and then bury it. Make it a part of your company’s culture.
  • Deal with inquiries centrally and pre-qualified before going to the sales team. Only send over sales-ready leads to the sales team using your ULD as the standard against which they are qualified. Don’t overlook the phone’s role in this step: it’s still the best way to ensure a lead is sales ready and a good fit for your organization. It’s timely, interactive, and personal—the perfect combination of assets for building a relationship.
  • Define a clear process for the handling and distributing of inquiries and leads. Provide qualification information for each lead while making it clear who owns the lead. Require a time-limit on a turnaround once leads are distributed, and track the lead throughout the process.

Lead Mgmt image

  • Identify the best opportunities based on the application of a consistent methodology.
  • Fullfill the promise of information in a timely manner.
  • Assign and define responsibility for lead tracking. Effectively tracking leads is often a challenging aspect of lead management, particularly in companies where sales activities seem to be perpetually in a black box.
  • Track, measure, and report on all leads until closure to evaluate the lead generation program.
  • Measure sales performance based on objective criteria.
  • Measure sales lead acceptance and follow-up by sales team
  • Define mechanisms and incentives for sales team feedback and updating.
  • Measure marketing revenue contribution and drive a faster return on marketing investment

Breakdowns in the lead management process often occur when lead generation is viewed as a series of campaigns without substantive integration. Instead, lead management should be an ongoing conversation. Other detriments to sound lead management also include the lack of:

  • Multi-modal tactics
  • An effective lead nurturing program
  • An effectively utilized or well-maintained database
  • Conformance with the lead gen program in general

Companies that adopt effective lead management processes generate more revenue from their lead generation investment. They’ll also have an overall higher close rate on marketing-generated leads than those that do not.

Related Posts and Resources

How to do lead management that improves conversion

How to ensure every single lead is followed up on

Building a Marketing Funnel and More Lead Management Tips

Intro to Lead Generation: How to determine if a lead is qualified

How to Improve Lead Routing to Skyrocket Sales Results

How Customer-Hero Stories Help You Connect Better

Who Should Own Lead Generation for a Complex Sale?

About the author 

Brian Carroll

Brian Carroll is the CEO and founder of markempa, helping companies to convert more customers with empathy-based marketing.

He is the author of the bestseller, Lead Generation for the Complex Sale and founded B2B Lead Roundtable LinkedIn Group with 20,301+ members.

  1. The sales pipeline is an important framework of the business. To run our business successfully sales pipeline is best to work on. Cause, the success depends on its sales & sales pipeline tracks deals all the way from the first contact to close.
    it provides focus and strategy by helping salespeople and managers systematically prioritize and tackle each opportunity according to their recipe for success.
    Well, I must say that It was really a good read on this topic! It’s good to see someone put forth recommendations on Sales Pipeline Management. As you point out, there is plenty of important reasons. Great selection! it was very useful. Thanks for putting top-notch content in the article. It will encourage entrepreneurs to work more effectively and gain potential results from it. I would like to be here again to find another masterpiece article.

  2. Thanks Brian. I am still in the “taking it all in” phase 😉 Forrester’s Laura Ramos wrote a significant report on this space, perhaps that would help?

    Do you see technologies that consolidate these four components, or are some niche providers?


  3. Great question and comment. Yes, marketing automation fits in lead management. Also, I believe following technologies also fit into the lead management process:

    1. Web analytics (visitor tracking)
    2. Database services
    3. Marketing automation
    4. “Pure play” lead management

    I’m sure I’m missing something… do you have any additional input on lead management technologies?

  4. Brian,

    Excellent suggestions throughout. Truly. I think you hit on several important issues, but one in particular jumped out at me. And that’s the notion that a shift of this magnitude requires more than technology. It also necessitates a behavioral transformation throughout the organization (or, at least the marketing and sales departments). You really brought that issue to the surface throughout your post.

    I recently joined Eloqua in a lead communications and social media role, and the one question I have is terminology: When you refer to the “lead management” category, are you also including marketing automation vendors, or do you have a different definition of the segment?

    Joe Chernov

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