Use this guide to help you choose the best lead management software for your business.
So, you’ve reached the point where you have a lot of leads, but you’re having trouble keeping up with them. (Surprise: you need the best lead management software to help you handle them!)
The only thing worse than not having leads is having leads that you don’t follow up with effectively. When you’re not following up effectively, you miss out on valuable sales opportunities.
To prevent this, many turn to lead management software as a solution. Below, we’ll discuss the must-have features of the best lead management software.
First, what is a lead management software?
At its core, lead management is about managing the sales pipeline.
The traditional sales pipeline is shaped like a funnel. The biggest end of the funnel is labeled, “leads.” These are individuals who have expressed interest in your product or services.
The top of the sales funnel is where a lead management software’s capabilities really shine.
The best lead management software have automatic follow-up reminders to prevent you from ever forgetting to contact a lead again.
Armed with the best lead management software, your sales team will be able to confidently guide any interested leads through the sales funnel.
Advantages of lead management software over a CRM
Far beyond being a simple Rolodex of contacts like a CRM often can be, a lead management system works to keep you one step ahead of your leads.
A lead management software has indisputable advantages over a CRM when it comes to lead management because:
- It saves the basic information about potential leads
- It stores contact names and numbers
- It allows you to input the ongoing work of contacting a particular lead
- It keeps all of the pertinent details at your fingertips
- It provides a calendar to make sure you never miss an appointment
- It makes sure that you follow up when you said you would
- It keeps you targeted and focused – day after day
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Consider your business
Before you become overwhelmed looking at all the different kinds of lead management systems, you should really think about what your business needs. Even the best lead management software can be a waste of money if you won’t need half the features.
These three questions will help you narrow down your choices:
First, what’s the size of your organization?
Second, how complex do you need your solution to be?
Third, how much time do you want to devote to training?
What’s the size of your organization?
Are you a large-sized organization? Or, are you a lone sales agent?
If you’re on your own, you might not need as many features as a large-sized operation needs.
How complex do you want your solution to be?
Once you’ve thought about the size of your company, you should consider the complexity of your sales process.
Do you use multiple different channels to attract leads?
How many steps are there in your sales process?
Your answers to these questions will help you decide how complex your lead management solution needs to be.
How much time do you want to devote to training?
Training is an unavoidable necessity whether you purchase an out-of-the-box product or one that’s more involved.
Obviously, the more complex your lead management solution is, the more time you’ll have to spend learning about the system.
The best lead management software should give you the opportunity to learn about the software with a training session, online resources, and a team that’s ready to assist you if you have additional questions.
Key features that the best lead management software have in common:
The best lead management software are considered the best because they share some key product features. Below, we’ve compiled a list of these must-have features.
Use this checklist when you’re comparing different lead management solutions:
Online Forms to Collect Data
Integrations with Email Providers
Integrations with Lead Providers
Built-in Calendar and Scheduling
Online Forms to Collect Data
You should be able to capture leads from your website or email. That’s why the best lead management software have built-in web forms.
Once they’ve entered their information, leads will move directly into your lead management system.
There are numerous benefits to using online forms to collect customer data.
First, you’ll have the opportunity to immediately follow up with interested leads.
Let’s face it, you’re probably not the only site that the lead has visited. If you can contact the person right after he or she has expressed an interest in your products, you’ll be more likely to make a sale.
Next, you’ll save money by purchasing a lead management software that provides online forms because you don’t have to use another program.
Finally, you’ll be able to track the total number of leads coming in from your website. That means you can accurately determine the return on investment of your website leads.
There are many times when daily activities, meetings and other commitments take you away from prospecting or managing your customers.
Some lead management solutions provide email notifications about many different activities within the system. So, even if your attention is elsewhere, the system will keep you in the loop.
For example, if you’re a sales manager, you may elect to get email notifications only when a lead is marked “sold.”
You can also choose to get an email anytime you’re assigned a lead. Real-time email notifications are a great way to make sure everyone’s on the same page.
Email templates are another must-have feature in the best lead management software.
You know that typing out the same emails over and over again can be a huge productivity drain. (Not to mention, it’s boring.)
If your lead management software comes with email templates, you can send out personalized emails at the click of a button. (You don’t even need to click anything if your lead management software can automatically send emails.)
This is especially helpful when sending out mass emails or workflow emails.
Integrations with Lead Providers
Your lead management solution should offer integrations with many different lead providers.
That way any lead lists you purchase can move over seamlessly into the system.
Real-time scrubbing is a great feature that’s included in the best lead management software. This feature will keep you from dealing with any duplicated leads.
Automated workflows are available in the best lead management software. Once set up, these workflows can automate sending emails such as x-date reminders and re-quotes.
Depending on your set up, your lead management software can send automatic responses whenever a lead moves to a different level in the sales pipeline.
Some workflows will even automatically put contacts on your schedule. As a user, you simply need to log in and check your schedule to see who to contact next.
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Real-time dashboards should be a main feature of your lead management solution. With a glance you’ll be able to identify sales opportunities, sales won, and sales pending.
When you’re managing a sales team, you really need to be able to see how your employees are doing.
A real-time dashboard will allow you to monitor the trends of individual employees. You’ll be able to see their effectiveness and whether they need additional training.
Arguably, the most important feature of any sales follow-up system is its ability to give crucial business information on deals, leads, and your sales force.
At any time, a lead management solution should be able to create a report that can identify the percentage of overall deals closing, the price points of deals that are closing, or the close rate on individual products.
Managers should be able to use a lead management software to identify any issues.
For example, if a product or service is resulting in numerous lost deals, sales managers can determine whether the company should remove a particular product or service from future deals.
Another example is using reports to see whether any of your sales staff is having issues.
Are there individuals on your team who have more neglected leads than others?
With readily-available reports on sales follow up, you can determine the causes behind any issues and make adjustments quickly.
Especially if you’re working with a sales staff of multiple people, your lead management software needs to facilitate task management.
Maybe you decide to have one specific person work on internet leads. Your software should be set up to automatically assign those leads to that one specific person.
Look for the option to customize your lead management software. Customization will allow you to build a product that works with your unique sales approach.
Built-in Calendar and Scheduling
An integrated calendar service should be another feature of your lead management software.
Some of the best lead management software take it a step further by having built-in calendars and scheduling.
With automated workflows, your daily tasks are automatically scheduled for you.
This way you can see the list of appointments, follow-up, and tasks that you need to accomplish during the workday.
Historically, sales managers would gather pipeline information as orders came in.
Or, they would schedule periodic meetings with members of their sales force to glean an idea of how their pipeline was functioning.
In the last decade, the best lead management software has made it easier for the sales manager to monitor leads as they move through the pipeline.
Sales managers can more easily manage the lifecycle of leads from generation, initial contact, offer, and (hopefully) close.
A lead management software with pipeline management will help you:
- Discover where deals are stalling
- Identify areas a sales person may need additional training
- Identify trends so you can capitalize on them company-wide
Are you on the road a lot?
Are you ever in a situation where you need a quick contact number or address?
Did you want to refresh your memory on what was said in your last conversation or meeting with a client?
Then you need your lead management system to be mobile!
A mobile device with an internet connection should be all you need to access your lead management software.
Make sure you’re able to login from your phone, search your leads or contacts, review history, schedule a follow-up, check your schedule and more!
You no longer have to worry if you forgot to put a contact in your phone. His or her number, address, and notes should all be available on your mobile device.
Any new system you use will require some sort of training. Make sure you have the support you need to make the most out of your new software, whenever you need it.
Choose the best lead management software for you
The only thing more overwhelming than your need for a lead management software can be the number of lead managers out there.
Narrow down your search by using our list to help you select the best lead management software for your business.