We’ve come to the final post in our series on building a strong lead management process. Stage 7 involves establishing a foundation for customer management analytics from acquisition to advocacy.
This stage brings all of the previous stages together.
Let’s broaden the definition of lead management to include the complete customer Journey. Now, lead management is defined as a process methodology whereby a company attracts, acquires, and nurtures prospects and customers until qualified to be passed to sales.
In this process, Sales is held accountable for processing those prospects and customers through to close.
Marketing interacts with customers during their many stages of product adoption and value recognition, encouraging their loyalty and advocacy until they ultimately nurture them back into a new buying cycle, re-qualifying them for sales engagement. The components of the process remain the same, but additional stages beyond the first deal close are included.
Characteristics of Lead Management (Customer Acquisition)
Let’s put lead management in perspective. Lead management is the process of acquiring new business. It is also the practice of synergizing your customers, people, process and technology to produce a sales ready lead that converts at the highest possible rate into an opportunity and a closed deal.
From a people perspective, effective lead management is characterized by a tight working relationship between Marketing and Sales. From envisioning what will resonate with prospects to effective lead processing, both Sales and Marketing play pivotal roles.
The left side of the model speaks to the process by which we acquire new individuals and manage their journey through our engagement process. If we do this correctly, with the right messages, we will create a fluid experience for the prospect and optimizing outcomes for the company.
Characteristics of Customer Management (Customer Expansion)
Now let’s look at customer management. The right side of the model represents Customer management, which is also a process but specific to upselling and cross-selling current customers. It’s about expanding the current business relationship. Customer management is still the practice of synergizing people, process and technology, but in this case to optimize the customer experience with your company so that they will be inclined to give you more business.
In addition to Sales and Marketing, other key stakeholders include customer service, operations, IT – really any functional area that is interacting with the customer as they onboard, adopt and realize value. Careful planning, orchestration and functional alignment is necessary to create a singular view of the customer and improve the quality of the customer experience.
From the customer’s perspective, customer management is about creating the feeling for the customer that your business is easy to work with, easy to buy from, and interested in helping them solve their business problems. Your goal then, as the partner to your customers is to help them optimize outcomes regardless of what part of your company they are interacting with.
Engaging With Our Customers/Prospects
So, how do we engage with our customers at every stage of their journey?
A prospect becomes qualified through a series of buying stages. The graphic above illustrates these buying stages and demonstrates how the buying journey does not end with a closed/won. Instead, it loops back around into a new buying journey.
You can use this to map out your own customer journey stages and definitions in your lead management process.
In short, we make a shift to viewing the funnel from the buyer’s perspective with a few key considerations.
- The TPG ONE – Customer Journey Map is a more accurate reflection of the entire relationship lifecycle between a customer or prospect and their vendor/supplier/provider.
- The model enables digital marketing to engage your customers in a more meaningful, relevant dialogue based on an understanding of where they are in their journey at all times.
- The model aligns all functions of the organization around optimizing the customer experience.
- This model more closely aligns Marketing with Sales and Support and their relationships with customers.
- The model also incorporates customer status fields to reflect when a prospect has become a customer. This puts more structure around program planning and campaign planning for specific solutions and cross-sell/upsell opportunities.
We hope you’ve found our lead management blog post series interesting and enlightening!
But wait … how am I supposed to do what you’re talking about?
It is a lot! From aligning with sales to building key internal processes, creating more accurate lead filtering mechanisms to determining how to hold sales accountable (and getting their buy-in) … we’ve seen this utterly beat down way-too-many marketers.
And, sadly, it usually falls on marketing to push this forward.
If you’re nodding your head, we’re here for you. Our lead management consulting puts the burden of building this entire process – and getting buy-in across the organization while building your credibility – on us!
Have a question about anything in this series? Please don’t hesitate to send us a question!