General SEO

Lead Flow

by Tom Buckland Updated On October 9, 2018

Each lead that doesn’t convert to a sale ends up showing on the bottom line. Lead flow is an important part of the sales process.

This guide will show why lead flow is integral for bringing in new customers and show you how to improve it.

What Is Lead Flow?

Sales funnel

We’ve all heard of the sales funnel, as shown on the right. Visitors will have gone through the process to become a lead.  Eventually (and hopefully!) they become a customer at the end.

Lead flow describes how well your leads progress through the sales funnel. When there is a clear lead flow structure, leads become far easier to convert into sales.

If an organisation does not have an organised lead flow, leads can slip through and end up costing the business that all important revenue.

Poor Lead Flow Means Problems

If you do not have good lead flow, your sales team can easily become confused as to which leads they should be following up first.

Your marketing team may be doing a great job bringing in the leads, but if they send them to your sales team too quickly, they won’t be able to cope with the demand.

The speed in which you able to contact leads is key to winning them as customers.  They fill in your contact forms in the first place because they think you may be able to help them.  A study by InsideSales.com shows

35-50% of all sales go to the vendor that responds first.

If your business is able to implement an efficient lead flow process, your sales team will be able to make contact with leads quicker for ultimately more revenue.

A Strong Lead Flow Process Improves Results

By taking control of your lead flow processes, you are one step ahead of your competition.

According to Drift:

Only 7% of the surveyed companies are currently achieving an average lead response time of five minutes or less.

If that wasn’t shocking enough, research suggests:

The average response time to a lead is currently 61 hours for those that bother to respond, while 47% did not respond at all

Become one of the 7% and watch your sales figure grow exponentially.

How To Improve Lead Flow

Know what the sales team are looking for

A great lead flow process cannot be created unless both marketing and sales are on the same page.  The marketing team’s definition of a qualified lead must be the same as the sales team’s.

If you are only using inbound lead generation methods, you should be considering outbound sales strategies as well.

Separate your good leads from your great leads

Separate leads

The marketing team must establish whether or not they will add value to the client portfolio.

Quality over quantity. It’s cliche but in this situation, it could not be more true.  Better quality leads help businesses make more sales.

When categorising leads, are they:

  • Close to the next stage in the sales funnel?
  • In the mould of your ideal customer?

The more positive the answers to these questions, the better the quality of lead they are.  If the lead does not categorise well from these questions, they can be put further down the list, or even rejected altogether.

The sooner you start separating out leads from each other, your sales team will have a much more manageable workload to respond faster to leads’ enquiries and focus on the best leads first.

Define tasks specific to each stage of the sales funnel

Once the leads have been categorised, you will know where each of them are in the sales process.  From here, every member in your team must know exactly what role they play in the sales funnel.

CRM is crucial here.  When there is a change in a lead’s status, it should be quick and easy for the right team members to come into play.

Create some markers that once passed, leads become automatically assigned to your sales team.  Use your CRM to set up lead queues or assign a lead to the next available sales team member.

By now, the marketing team should know the signs that a lead is ready for sales.  If they are not, refer back to the meeting held in the first step.

Update your lead categorisation methods as you go

Change aheadThis is going to be a work in progress.  Some tweaks are going to be needed here and there to get the process spot on.

Over time, both your marketing and sales team will become more experienced when judging lead quality.

Each team will learn new things along the way.  Set up regular meetings to share what they have learned with each other.  Marketing and sales should always be on the same wavelength.

Part of the conversation should involve:

  • the quality and quantity of leads the sales team are receiving
  • the current marketing strategies being used

Your business and overall goals will evolve.  Not only that, sales and marketing techniques are changing. This makes it so important that everyone involved in winning work is winning the right work.

A Strong Lead Flow Process Matters

A tight relationship between the sales and marketing team is a powerful tool.  By streamlining the lead flow process, you will be successful.

These steps will ensure that you aren’t letting the best leads slip through your fingers.  Put these processes in place to make consistent, positive results.

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About Tom

Hi, I'm Tom, Founder & Director of HQ SEO. I live and breathe SEO. I hope you enjoy my findings. Interested in SEO?
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