SPECIAL REPORT

no. 19

Lead Management Best Practices
LeadsOnTrack.com Cheat Sheet Series

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no. 19

Silver Bullets... We all want them, we're always searching for them, marketers often promise them. At the risk of being branded a charlatan, I'm going to claim to have a Silver Bullet. My silver bullet is lead management and it's the key to increasing your sales--this month and every month here after.

Lead Management
Here's why lead management works so consistently well. There is only one thing that really drives sales--good conversation. Now, in this world of the Internet, email, smart phones, and social media that good conversation can happen in a variety of ways. And often does. Without people hearing you (and liking what they hear), they'll never buy. Therefore, as a sales person, your primary mission in life has to be increasing the number of conversations you get to have with people.

Increase Conversations to Increase Sales
Lead management is the secret to increasing the number of conversations you have. As a bonus it also increases the frequency and velocity of these sales conversations. Let's take a look at how these lead management best practices can immediately increase your sales production.

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no. 19 1. Lead Management Best Practices ........................................................ 1 A. Lead Management .............................................................................. 2 B. Increase Conversations to Increase Sales .............................................. 2 2. What is Lead Management? ................................................................ 4 A. Sales Automation ............................................................................... 4 B. Consistent Sales Processes .................................................................. 4 3. Lead Capture....................................................................................... 5 A. Getting the Lead ................................................................................ 5 B. Validate the Data ............................................................................... 6 C. Score and Prioritize............................................................................. 6 D. Do It Fast!......................................................................................... 7 4. Lead Priority ....................................................................................... 8 A. Qualifying Leads Helps Sales ................................................................ 8 B. How to Score and Prioritize Leads ......................................................... 9 C. Increase the Velocity of Your Sales ....................................................... 9 5. Lead Distribution .............................................................................. 10 A. Sales/Organizational Tempo................................................................ 10 B. Time to Initial Contact........................................................................ 11 C. Pipeline Management ......................................................................... 12 D. Sales Process .................................................................................... 12 6. Lead Nurturing.................................................................................. 14 A. Flip the Sales Funnel .......................................................................... 14 B. Increasing Contact on the Sales Pipeline ...............................................14 C. Improve Marketing ROI with Collaborative Processes ..............................15 7. Lead Tracking ................................................................................... 16 A. No Magic Metrics ............................................................................... 16 B. Starts with Goals ............................................................................... 16 C. K.I.S.S............................................................................................. 17 D. Good Data Makes it All Work ............................................................... 17 8. Lead Analysis .................................................................................... 18 A. Identifying Marketing Campaigns that Work ..........................................18 B. Finding the Right Marketing Mix........................................................... 18 C. Scaling High Performing Marketing Channels .........................................19 9. Conclusion ........................................................................................ 20

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What is Lead Management?
The key to effective sales lead management is centralizing and systematizing your sales process. It starts with getting control of your sales activity, measuring it, and then making improvements based on real facts.

Sales Automation
The other cool thing lead management can do for you (assuming you are using software) is to automate necessary, but mundane tasks. Things like prioritizing your sales pipeline, sending out follow-up emails, and reminding you to call back appointments. Ultimately lead management should propel you through your sales pipeline without thinking about organizing, sorting, and following up. These things are just getting done and getting done with consistency.

Consistent Sales Processes
The path to success becomes easier with lead management. You get... • • • • Lead Organization, Repeatable Systems, Consistent Execution, and Simple Measurement

These are the cornerstones of getting sales leads contacted and turning them into quality conversations. That's the high-level concept. Now let's look at how we can make lead management an auto-magic silver bullet for mass producing sales.

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Lead Capture
Everything starts and often fails with capturing new sales lead. Getting a new sales lead is exhilarating! That's a double edged sword. The adrenaline pumps, we get excited, then our emotions turn. We get anxious, we're nervous, then we tuck it away for later. What? Yes. It's true. The excitement is often in getting someone to respond to our marketing, the flattery of a referral, the amazement of sales lead generation. However, the sales process is scary and often we tuck away the lead for later. That is bad enough, but often that safe place is outside of our sales database--our lead management software. Lead capture is a perilous time in a lead's life cycle. The ability to capture from Web forms, import from spreadsheets, or simply enter data can be the difference between a deal and a non-descript piece of paper (with a name and number on it) ending up in the trash can. Ah, the exuberance! A referral, an email, a phone call, or a Web form submission producing a hot lead is a sales opportunity, not a sale. Beware! This is the most dangerous moment in a lead's life. Does you sales process effectively capture leads? 60% of sales leads are never called back. They fade away without even an initial call. Think about that...60% more sales opportunity! Let's get this lead capture thing right. It's critical.

Getting the Lead
Start with a base line, how do you capture leads today? If your process is like most it's a messy stack of business cards, sticky notes, legal pads, and spreadsheets. If you are lucky they're still in some usable form. Unfortunately, they probably have long since been shuffled into some arbitrary drawer or worse the waste basket. Can you see why lead capture is so important? It is not that hard and it pays big dividends. There are only a few basic communication channels that produce a lead--word of mouth, telephone, email, Web. This makes organizing your lead capture method a snap. Here are some simple lead capture methods: • Word of mouth: Have a dedicated index card in your wallet or purse

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no. 19 • Telephone: Have a stack of index cards or a dedicated notepad next to your phone • Email: Set-up filters, tags, or star incoming email identified as a lead • Web: Have these inquiries feed directly into your lead management software The ultimate goal is to get all of these captures into your centralized lead management software. However, it's important to have effective and consistent immediate capture methods to make sure you immediately secure each new lead. Directly connected to each immediate capture process should be an iron-clad process to transform and input every lead into your lead management system. As a part of that transformation and inputting process, you should have some level of data validation.

Validate the Data
Maintaining accurate data is always a challenge. Clients' telephone numbers, addresses, and emails are always changing. Making this task more efficient takes away a lot of frustration making and trying to stay in contact. Using a services like Jigsaw, CardScan, Plaxo, or LinkedIN can help with the initial validation of new lead and automate much of the processes of keeping your contact information current.

Score and Prioritize
As you assemble a sizable lead management database, rules for managing and contacting leads becomes more important. The best approach is a simple system. One effective system is to prioritize like you would your tasks list: A, B, C, D for urgency and 1, 2, 3 ,4 for priority. Ideally, your lead management software will automate this process. Here is how LeadsOnTrack uses a version of this simple system. • Urgency is driven by lead status. You can adjust the urgency to assign to followups and actions based on the stage they are in within your sales process. For example, an assigned lead that has not been contacted should get more aggressive call follow-up, whereas a customer that has purchased should move into a less frequent email drip and call campaign. • Priority is driven by marketing channel. All leads are high priority. However, some marketing channels has different expectations on responsiveness. Web channels generally need to be responded to within minutes, whereas purchased lists or databases are not expecting a call and can be a lower priority. Analysis of your leads and their outcomes will help you continue to tune your scores and priorities. Initially you might prioritize leads by relationship, source, or perceived urgency to close. With more data and lead reporting you may find even more refined indicators.

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Do It Fast!
Capturing and converting new sales leads boils down to one simple concept for consistent results: a sense of urgency. Make sure you get that new lead into your lead management software as soon as possible. And don't delay contact. Make sure you make that first follow-up in the same day. Nothing impresses a prospect more than a sense of urgency to their requests. It immediately sends the message that they're important and will be rewarded for being your client.

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Lead Priority
Centralizing your leads and your sales activity will reveal amazing data. Information that can signal trends and leading indicators to improve your marketing and sales processes. These trends can be leveraged in your lead management software to prioritize and score marketing channels and individual leads. Wouldn't it be cool to determine what leads are most likely to close? What an incredible competitive advantage in any lead management system.

Qualifying Leads Helps Sales
Nothing frustrates a sales person like leads that don't close. Staring at the same stale spreadsheets day after day can drain anyone's positive energy. A good lead management system can automate the process of qualifying and prospecting your leads--keeping the most likely to close on top. Unfortunately, we often discount the importance of this qualification process. Instead our sales people are forced to wade through hundreds of sales leads--old and new--without any guidance. Even the simple process of automating call-back reminders and drip email campaigns to place your name in the top of the customer's mind is often neglected. These are the key processes that help to qualify each and every lead in your pipeline, without you having to lift a finger. Leads that are responsive or have characteristics known to convert well should get automatically pushed to the top for immediate calls. Leads that are less responsive (even non-responsive) or have characteristics that have proven harder to clsoe should be pushed to the bottom and entered into a lead nurturing process--all handled automatically by your lead management software. Lead qualification automation and dynamic pipeline optimization gets your sales team out of the lead sorting and organizing business and directly interacting with responsive customers-where sales happen. What a competitive advantage! Increases sales effectiveness and reduces sales cycles by showing which leads should be called on first. • No more guessing which lead to call next • Efficient follow-up on the right lead and every lead when it is ready • Lead quality is dynamically defined by the lead management software

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How to Score and Prioritize Leads
By formalized (and automating) a lead scoring and prioritization process inside your lead management software you immediately alleviate confusion over what's qualified and what you should be working on, right now. Lead scoring means different things to different people, but it comes down to quality and priority. Getting accurate lead data into the system and assigning it a priority is half the battle to closing a new deal. Stop letting leads sit in a pile on your desk or in a spreadsheet. LeadsOnTrack, by Kaleidico, makes all this a snap with built in lead prioritization and sales pipeline optimization technology.. Simply watch sales leads move from lead capture to close, you gain valuable insight into all of your marketing campaigns and sales people. You can quickly determine where your best leads come from and what sale people are moving leads through the sales funnel. Adjustments can be made on facts--allowing you change marketing plans, improving lead buying, tweak websites, and improve sales processes.

Increase the Velocity of Your Sales
That's right--improve sales processes too. Lead scoring and prioritization gives you a system for analyzing sales performance and lead distribution. With lead scoring you can measure each sales person against various lead sources and make better matches. More efficient lead distribution increases your conversion and the velocity of the sales cycle. • Improve leads to sales matching • Improve lead quality with actionable performance data • Optimize lead flow with lead scoring Another important benefit of implementing a lead scoring system is formalizing the way sales and marketing communicate about lead quality. This common language improves our ability to discuss and describe our ideal sales lead to marketing, helping them to flow more of the right kind of leads to our sales teams.

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Lead Distribution
It's a no brainer... Getting leads to the right person as quick as possible will shorten the sales cycle. Yet, still we have sales leads scribed on pads of paper or sitting in spreadsheets. You have to use a lead management system if you want to be responsive. Internet consumers--all of us--expect immediate reactions to our requests. Would you wait around for days for someone to call you back? Of course not! Why then do we do that to our sales leads? This all comes down to lead distribution. Many of us are stuck in the dark ages using email or spreadsheets to distribute leads. This just gets you behind your competitors fighting for the same business. Using lead management software can speed up and automate your lead distribution. Getting the right lead to the right sales person, right now! Here are just a few of the popular lead distribution methods supported by the LeadsOnTrack lead management software. • Round Robin (LIFO/FIFO) • Performance-based Distribution • Push Versus Pull Lead Distribution The default mode of the LeadsOnTrack lead management system is a “pull” system. Here are a few of the reasons why we think this is one of the most powerful ways to do lead distribution.

Sales/Organizational Tempo
We often debate the status quo push-based CRM systems. There is no faster way to get a lead to the right person. If a sales organization is managing their lead-to-sales capacity the timeliness in getting to a lead should always be faster in a pull-based system. We've run very large, high performance mortgage sales teams. Back in the hey-day of large mortgage banking call centers and high-volume Internet lead buying. In fact, at one time one of our executives was the largest buyer of LendingTree, and also had the highest conversion percentage. The secret? Throttling lead distribution based on productive performance (taking action on leads) and ensuring that leads never got pushed into unproductive sales queues. So, when we tell you that selecting a pull-based lead management system is a commitment a better sales process and a faster sales tempo, it's from experience.

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no. 19 A push methodology will condition sales people to expect leads to be given to them, which leads to a lower respect for the lead and naturally less aggressively responds to customers' request for contact. Now, contrast this to the superior pull methodology, which creates an expectation that every lead is earned by meeting the last customer’s needs or at least responding quickly to their request. Don't you want a more responsive sales team? A sales team rewarded for performance, not conditioned for entitlement.

Time to Initial Contact
In a sales organizations where the sales velocity is high, the time to contact gap between push versus pull methods may be smaller. Let's be honest though, most sales organizations are not aggressive callers. Unless you're a dedicated call-center your natural sales tempo is likely to be relatively low--meaning your not making 70-100 calls per day. Consequently, you need a system that accelerates your call velocity at just the right times-when new leads arrive and aging ones need follow-ups. The best way to do this is to create competition for new leads and force follow-up on leads in queue, as they age. In addition, you have to prevent the dreaded dead queue, where a sales person is gone or refuses to make the necessary calls. A pull-based lead management software, like LeadsOnTrack, requires sales agents to compete to quickly pull the newest leads in the queue as they arrive. They receive alerts within the system or via text message or email if logged-out--then the race is one. The most aggressive sales people win. You might worry about hoarding--not possible--lead caps and quality caps force sales people to convert leads to get leads. If you're not converting, you're starving in a pull system--as it should be. That gets to the second advantage: aging leads get necessary follow-ups. That really prevents even the worse agents on your team from totally starving. If leads are followed up on, they will eventually convert. Research has proved this. Nearly 75% of leads will convert in the 12 months after they first inquire. Finally, you can avoid the dead queue nightmare. Inherently, push lead distribution systems push a lead into a sales agent's queue regardless of whether they are qualified or ready to call. This method is just asking for leads to age and die in your sales pipelines. And it's not necessarily the sales person's fault. Maybe they're just taking that well deserved vacation. In a push system you had better be very active in user management or you may allocate valuable leads into theses dead queues. Do this even once or twice and you're looking at a very expensive mistake. In a pull system, if a lead is allocated you're guaranteeing it gets an immediate call. If you don't have enough sales people or you can't keep up with your lead volume your will know it immediately.

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But, you will never have a sales lead dieing for a call again!

Pipeline Management
Pipeline management is another critical component of the conversion equation. And once again lead management software is really the only way to make sure you manage the process efficiently. In most CRM systems leads are simply imported or pushed into a list. Then it is entirely up to the sales person to develop an effective system to follow-up and manage each of these contact into a sale. Actually, this is nearly an impossible feat. After one or two iterations of attempting to contact a lead it will swiftly become unmanageable--lost or obscured in the much larger pipeline. Newer leads will overwhelm any sales person's attention. Leads that could be promising never get the statistically proven 5 to 7 contacts it takes to convert. Hundreds unknown opportunities will age and die in the pipeline. There is hope. In a well designed lead management system sales leads are continually presented to the sales person, in the sales contact queue, forcing each lead to be worked until a final disposition is reached; compelling the 5-7 contacts. This simple, but powerful premise will guarantee a conversion lift in any sales process.

Sales Process
One final critical factor, and this should be obvious, is consistent and frequent sales activity. If you want to increase your sales velocity, moving more deals through your pipeline faster, you have to apply pressure. This simply means touching that leads as much as possible, in as many different ways as possible to drive it to a natural close. Achieving this is easiest by enforcing an aggressive sales tempo. One that probably isn't natural or comfortable to most people. Statistics say the more the better. Meanwhile, most folks would hold back assuming that we are pestering and offending our prospects. The truth is that our prospects are busier and more distracted than ever--they appreciate your diligence. And you should reposition your thinking to understand that your activity reflects a passion to help, not hurt your clients. The other truth is that you simply can't achieve the consistency and frequency you need to be successful, especially with a large and growing pipeline. You again need help from automated systems. Your sales process must be an integrated process of call backs and drip emails, a sequence of value and urgency. A process that whose frequency is consistent with the urgency you are driving. That means multiple attempts the first day and regular attempts daily until your live contacts begin to build a relationship and guide the remainder of the sales process.

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no. 19 If you have not made contact you have not fulfilled your promise to be responsive to that prospects need--they need to hear your value proposition. If they then conclude that it is not necessary then you have done your job. However, up until that point your must has a relentless process to make sure they get to hear your good news.

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Lead Nurturing
Not all customers buy on the first day or even week they enter into your sales pipeline. And, unfortunately, a lot of sales are lost assuming that means they will never buy. Most likely the objection is timing related, not intent to buy. If you have a opt-in, direct inquiry, or referral lead the customer had some level of interest. Their failure to buy may be short-term challenges (i.e., budget, buy-in, influence, priority), not motivation. A lead management system is a simple way to design a lead nurturing program. This longer outlook sales and marketing program can turn cold or non-responsive leads into a future sales pipeline. Lead nurturing's objective is to stay top of mind and create an existing database that will periodically generate new leads.

Flip the Sales Funnel
For so long we have pictured marketing and sales as a wide funnel tapering down to a small output of eventual sales. This picture defeats us. Lead nurturing can flip that funnel and help to turn a few leads into a growing swell of qualified prospects. • Grow qualified sales lead flow • Re-capture sales lead fall-out • Maintain that first-in-mind position Lead nurturing is the art of campaigning for that first-in-mind position with prospects and customers. Unfortunately, this is a challenge unless you learn to leverage technology and maximize your existing sales and marketing resources.

Increasing Contact on the Sales Pipeline
Being the first to the lead is not always enough. Any sales pipeline is dynamic and diverse. Prospects go hot and cold. Nurturing leads can increase your sales by expanding the initial lead generation campaign. Lead nurturing can also activate and deepen existing customer relationships. Lead nurturing is a compelling opportunity to increase the results of your lead generation efforts, but is often overlooked. Nurturing leads through a well designed communication plan can turn more customer inquiries into qualified sales leads. LeadsOnTrack.com can provide consultation on lead generation strategy, workflow, frequency, and overall lead nurturing best practices, as well as comprehensive content development and program management. As a result, you get a turnkey lead nurturing program that will help you dramatically improve the ROI from lead generation programs. Converting more raw inquiries into qualified sales leads.

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no. 19 No more missed opportunities from a lack of regular and timely sales follow-up.

Improve Marketing ROI with Collaborative Processes
Lead generation often lacks focus and priority. And, as economic times get tougher and buyers are more hesitate, each lead becomes more precious. Unfortunately, the level of efficiency required to nurture leads long-term is not present in most organizations. In fact, some studies show that up-to 80% of lead generation expenditures goes to waste for a lack of accountability and commitment by the sales systems. Notice we say systems. That's because it is impossible to manage the necessary complexity of a large and long-term lead nurturing campaign. Therefore, if you are without a lead management system--you will fail. Lead nurturing should be a collaborative foundation between sales and marketing--creating a common definition and process to qualify and remarket to leads indefinitely. Applying these common definitions and processes, you can keep more opportunities active and dramatically increase the number of qualified leads provided to sales every day. This is the magic formula: • Increase the efficiency of lead generation in your in-house database • Increase accountability on every sales lead, regardless of age • Maintain consistent, top-of-mind dialog with prospects and current customers The goal of any lead management software should be to help your business maintain a relevant and consistent dialog with viable prospects regardless of their buying timeline-nurturing them into deals, whenever that day may come.

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Lead Tracking
Any sales or marketing effort needs a feedback loop to be successful. Lead tracking and reporting is the dashboard for that feedback. Optimizing lead capture, lead priority, lead distribution, and lead nurturing is imperative for getting your deals to close. Simple flagging or tagging your leads with discrete status, which most lead management software can facilitate, will allow you to follow leads through their complete life cycle. There is no magic metric. But, let's start with a couple of obvious assumptions: • Lead tracking is the only way to reveal trends in opportunity and catastrophe • Better lead tracking reduces the need for data entry by sales people Here's the real secret: The quicker you are to identify and repeat successes while swiftly cutting off bad practices, the more profitable your sales and your business will be.

No Magic Metrics
There is certainly no perfect measurement for lead or sales performance. There is even less hope for the one number that tells the whole sales story. However, there is a right way to track, measure, and analysis leads. It starts with business objectives and ends with producing good data.

Starts with Goals
Business objectives driving sales targets for your sales team is the cornerstone of any businesses success. Counter to this principle, most of our marketing and sales plans jump straight to the small details, like: number of sales leads, cost of marketing, how many leads everyone should get to be fair, and the marketing mix. Meanwhile, you've skipped over analyzing your company's target customer, product mix, revenue requirements, and profit per unit. Getting these fundamental data points in place injects real dollars into our lead tracking system. Putting business objectives and quantifying revenue indicators begins to make your lead tracking system accountable to the business. Are we making, exceeding, or missing plan? Are there marketing and sales channels that need to be scaled up or cut back? What's our next move?

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K.I.S.S.
Keep It Simple Stupid. No better advice for sales management planning and lead tracking. The best CEOs at the largest companies can tell you the health of their business with three to five key performance indicators (KPI). I like to call it sticky note or note card management. If you can't get your KPIs down to that size your business is too complex to succeed. Surprising as it may be, even the most complex businesses can be boiled down to a couple of good metrics. Digging deeper is about forensics--solving problems or unveiling opportunity. So, short of doing forensics on your business keep your lead tracking simple. Look for smooth and timely flow of leads from one status to another. Look for signs of heaping and slowing--indications of bottle necks, customer confusion, or capacity issues.

Good Data Makes it All Work
Lead tracking is fundamentally a monitoring and accounting for sales leads. Simplifying the gathering of sales activity data, as leads move through your system, will make your lead tracking and lead reporting easier to learn from and improve. Here are two keys to gathering excellent lead tracking data: 1. Make the capturing of sales activity as passive as possible for sales people, and 2. Make the statuses and activities tracked as consistent as possible across all sales agents. The combination of simplicity and consistency will have you seeing opportunities in your lead management system in no time. Good lead tracking will increase your sales.

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Lead Analysis
Lead analysis is the culmination of all your lead management system's features and advantages. This analysis phase should quickly highlight best practices and prevent lost opportunities. A good lead management system is the easiest way to streamline, grow, and maximize your sales opportunities.

Identifying Marketing Campaigns that Work
A good lead management software should give your business a complete view of all of your marketing campaigns and sales performance. Determine what campaigns and messages are most effective, which customer segments they attract, and drive sales of specific products and services. To do this, you need: • Complete view of all lead generation and marketing campaigns • Tracking of ongoing campaign adjustments and tweaks • Measuring sales performance and successful and unsuccessful customer segments Your lead analysis should enable your marketing department to calculate the true return on their investments--correlating campaign results with sales metrics, customer segments to product affinity. For example, lead management software, like LeadsOnTrack, can show how effective a banner ad or lead buy was in driving sales of a specific product or capturing a specific customer segment. Lead management software can make calculating the lifetime value of customers and acquisition costs a snap.

Finding the Right Marketing Mix
Identifying the right marketing mix is critical to getting better leads to your sales team and maximizing your marketing budget. Naturally, the secret to getting this balance of lead quality and lead price is in your ability to track and analyze your lead data as it flows through the sales process. Lead management software can be a powerful data mining technology. A capable system gives you a marketing analysis capability that quickly builds and distributes performance reporting, analysis and decision support.

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no. 19 Your lead analysis package should integrate data from in-house lead generation as well as third-party lead sources. This tight integration provides deep analytics and a comprehensive view of marketing campaign results. The more complete the view the more likely it is to drive customer acquisition and assist marketers predictive capabilities to continually improve lead generation methods and results.

Scaling High Performing Marketing Channels
Lead management conversion funnels and analysis charts can give you a simple to understand visualization of sales opportunity. Finding these opportunities early and easily makes scaling your lead generation efforts more efficient. The combination of marketing and sales metrics on the same platform gives you instant actionable information. Optimize your marketing campaigns and sales processes in realtime. Dynamically scale your effective campaigns and trim your poor performers. • Conversion metrics are simple to use and easy to understand • Centralized tracking of marketing metrics and sale performance • Optimize lead generation and lead quality in real-time Lead management gives you the competitive advantage. While others continue to throw money away on bad campaigns and marketing investments, you are landing deals more consistently.

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Conclusion
There's a lot of information in this special report. Some of it may seem complex or confusing. Some of it might even seem impossible to implement in your particular sales organization. However, I want to make sure you don't miss the forest for the trees. Here's the bottom line of lead management best practices: • • • • • • Frequency makes sure you are there when customers are ready to buy Consistency conditions customers to be receptive to your relationship Customers expect you to keep in touch, it's not pestering if your valuable Customer are busy. Expect to have periods of non-responsiveness You need to get to 5-7 contacts to make the average sale. Make them! Leads are never dead, only dormant waiting to be awaken for a sale

Do you have more questions? Give use a call at 855-868-7225 or visit www.LeadsOnTrack.com

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