When everyone is a social media expert or an SEO consultant, I’ve noticed there are many marketers and business owners who are interested in learning some basic concepts on creating and closing more leads. The questions range from: what are the tools and strategies to use, to more advanced ones, like how to take a professional approach to lead management and stay on top of the game.
Below are the answers to my questions I received from Gabriel Buck, CEO of ClickPoint Software, a system that offers lead management and lead distribution through one easy to use dashboard. I hope you can benefit from reading his insightful take on lead management and lead generation. Enjoy!
PART I. KEY THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A LEAD MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
ALEX: When companies start thinking about marketing automation? Is there a specific volume or threshold?
GABRIEL: No, it varies quite a bit. For instance, a piano company may only produce a few leads per day from their website but each lead could be worth a $20,000 piano an even more expensive one vs. other companies that provide services that potentially receive thousands of leads daily that are less valuable.
“It’s really all about companies that value leads that are generated from their website or offline marketing activities.”
If your company is creating leads via any type of lead generation method, chances are the process of acquiring those leads, scoring those leads, and ensuring your sales team contacts those leads, can quickly be improved. That’s where we come in and help optimize the current process so you can focus on profit. We want our customers to focus on creating more leads, not figuring out how to distribute and close them.
ALEX: What are some examples of companies that could/should use lead management systems?
GABRIEL: Any company that acquires sales leads can benefit from lead management systems. We work with financial service companies, travel companies, automotive companies, pest control, solar, EDU, and more.
“The one critical thing these companies have in common is the need to diligently work their leads through a process that moves a lead from an interested prospect to a closed deal.“
Our expertise is to help our clients identify the bottlenecks that prevent them from reaching their sales goals. Our software helps these companies focus on profits not process. Leave the heavy lifting up to us and focus on growing your company by acquiring more leads, hiring more salespeople, and identifying the lead sources that give you the most ROI.
ALEX: If I’m new to lead management, how do I know what software or app to invest in?
GABRIEL: The best way is to take a Free Trial and kick the tires. The software you invest in should be easy to use, period. If you can’t figure out how to use it after three days of testing it, you have a problem. We purposely created our software to be so easy to use that anyone can pick it up quickly.
ALEX: Excellent. So, what are the typical costs of an enterprise license?
GABRIEL: This depends on the version of software you really need. You could pay per seat for our lead management solution or per lead for our enterprise lead distribution solution.
PART II.ON SOME IMPORTANT FEATURES AND APPLICATIONS
ALEX: What are the main requirements of small businesses for lead management software? What is the most popular feature?
GABRIEL: Small businesses need to be acquiring leads from their website, third party lead sources, or from offline marketing activities. Once they have figured out how to create leads they next need to work with us to figure out how to best close them. Once we have that process down we start using more advanced lead management features like email nurture, analytics, and power dialing to help optimize and shorten the sales cycle.
“The most popular feature by far is our automated lead delivery options.”
Once you have identified the type of solution your sales team will benefit the most from, it’s really amazing to watch the increased closing percentages roll in.
ALEX: Talking about forms and landing pages. Do you think it’s easy for the end user to create them without some help from designers?
GABRIEL: No, not all, there are sites like Formstack that make form creation easier. However, to build a nice landing page you really need a designer. We always recommend that our clients either use our design service or look on freelance sites for qualified designers. There are plenty of good designers out there looking for freelance work. Just make sure you check out their portfolio and make sure you like their work.
ALEX: With all the buzz about social, how popular are social intelligence – social accounts, contacts, cycles – in the lead generation process?
GABRIEL: Social is necessary, but not as important to lead generation as people think. It’s a great way to get your message out, but you are limited in the B2B world on how much interest you can create for your products that actually turn into tangible leads.
“Social is sometimes the second avenue a potential lead will go down, so make sure you have something that represents your product or service well.”
I just don’t believe companies should invest everything into social and abandon traditional methods like e-mail, direct mail, SEO, PPC, and other methods. It takes a combination of all of these things to create leads. Many studies have shown that a buyer will research your website, your Facebook page, your LinkedIn account and so on, before ever contacting your company. Therefore, you need to have a presence on all social sites. It’s not going to look great to a potential lead if you have 5 followers on Twitter.
ALEX: Speaking of 800 IVR call routing, in your experience, does including a toll free number increase landing page and website conversion rate?
GABRIEL: It definitely does help increase landing page conversion. Think about how many people are wary of giving out their personal information over the web.
“More and more have learned the hard way by filling out an online offer and getting a flood of calls.”
Having an 800 number is definitely a great way to offer an alternative to those people who don’t want to give out personal information. It is also useful to use tools like WebsiteAlive. By using such a tool, a potential lead can chat with someone instantly and if the lead likes what they hear, they may become an immediate conversion.
ALEX: What are the main benefits of integrating lead management software with Google Analytics?
GABRIEL: Knowing where a lead was on your website helps the closing process, period. If you have multiple product pages you could see that a particular lead was looking at a particular product and for how long. This information definitely helps our clients understand their customers and therefore create value propositions that are tailored to their interests before they even talk to them.
PART III. LEAD MANAGEMENT BEST PRACTICES
ALEX: Is it possible to determine which leads are most costly to generate?
GABRIEL: Most definitely you can determine which leads are most costly to generate. Lead cost and value is one of the features our software provides. When you generate leads via PPC or SEO and then track the Cost per Closed Deal, you can instantly see the value of each lead source.
ALEX: So where to invest to sell more effectively?
GABRIEL: Essentially, you look to see how many leads from a particular source closed and for what amount. If I create 100 leads that cost $10 per lead to create, and 10 of them close at a rate of $100 per lead in sales revenue, I have created $1,000 worth of business via this lead source. However, since I spent $1,000 it’s a wash. This metric is used commonly to determine ROI on each lead source. My cost per closed deal is $100, so I have to either close more leads or charge more for my product or service in this case. Having a software solution that can show you this type of analysis in real-time is critical to your success.
ALEX: What are the best practices for keeping track of sales leads?
GABRIEL: There are many, but our system allows you to create what we call workflows. Contained within each workflow is a set of leads that moves closer and closer ultimately to a closed deal.
“The whole point is to keep the leads moving forward; not letting them become stale or cold.”
Our job is to keep your leads moving from cold, to warm, to hot. Knowing where your lead is at in the sales cycle is paramount to success with your sales team and lead programs. We help you capture the lead, move the lead along, and give them a gentle nudge if they become cold. If a lead becomes cold what do you do currently? We help you keep your message in front of that lead so that if and when they are ready to buy your message, is still in front of them. If you are tracking your leads with Excel or Outlook, you are missing out on a ton of functionality that lead management systems offer.
ALEX: What are the best practices for delivering leads to sales teams?
GABRIEL: This process is a little more challenging. Some companies use geographic territories with a combination of Round Robin delivery to deliver leads to their sales teams, whereas others find value in using performance metrics where geographic territory has little impact. It really depends on each company and the way they do business. We can take any type of business and use many different combinations of automated delivery to accomplish our goal of getting leads to the right sales team in seconds. Once we get the leads to the right sales team, it’s a matter of getting the lead to the salesperson best suited to handle that lead.
“In some companies seniority doesn’t matter on their sales team. They want the most aggressive salesperson to take that lead first.”
We have a pull-based system that allows this type of cycle to take place. In some companies competition would create problems and they prefer a more diplomatic approach. In this case we can send leads to the salesperson that is best suited to handle the lead. It’s all about our clients’ needs and what type of sales organization they are.
PART IV. ON PROJECT MANAGEMENT
ALEX: What are some important project management lessons you’ve learned recently?
GABRIEL: Use an online system like SharePoint to allow customers to see in real-time updates to their projects and that there is positive momentum occurring in regards to their request.
“Communication is vital in project management.”
If you aren’t letting your client know where the project stands with regular updates, you will miss the mark. Being realistic with timelines and setting expectations from the beginning is also paramount to the success of any project. This may sound like a no-brainer, but we come across clients all the time where a particular CRM vendor has gone way past their projected completion date. Blowing a deadline happens, but you better be able to back up why, or else you risk losing the trust of your client.
ALEX: Which books do you recommend to read to learn more about Lead Management and Lead Distribution?
GABRIEL: I just finished a great book that anyone working in a sales organization should read, it’s called “Predictable Revenue.” It shows you how to create a Sales Development Position and how to go after B2B sales successfully. I also would recommend our blog that covers topics regarding lead creation and generation.
ALEX: What conferences you are planning to attend later this year?
GABRIEL: LeadsCon West is on our target list for this next year. We have not typically been present at many of the conferences and that is really a big goal for us this year. We hope to cross paths with many lead gen companies and share success stories. We also will attend AdTech.
ALEX: On a final note, I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview. The last question: where people can find you?
GABRIEL: Anyone can find us here: www.ClickPointSoftware.com
“If a Lead Becomes Cold What Do You Do Currently?”
ClickPoint Software is located in Scottsdale, AZ. They create software that helps marketers and sales teams manage their leads, marketing campaigns, and sales process.
Gabriel Buck launched ClickPoint Software in 2005.