October 13

Playing the Numbers Game – How to Manage your Online Leads Pipeline

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Playing the Numbers Game – How to Manage your Online Leads Pipeline


What is lead management?


Leads can be generated in several ways. But when it comes to managing them, a lot of businesses are walking in the dark.

Lead management fills the gap between marketing and sales. Lead management is a customer acquisition process that identifies leads (potential buyers), educates them, engages with them, and when the leads are considered qualified, get passed from marketing to sales.

There are several processes beneficial for your business. One of them is your marketing and sales pipeline. This is perhaps one of the most important processes for your business. This is where your leads turn into customers, where your main revenue comes from.

Your marketing and sales pipeline refers to the stages that your sales rep goes through to convert a lead into a customer. But it’s different from the sales funnel in a way that the pipeline sums up all the customer sales funnels.

Below, I summarize seven basic sales pipeline stages:

1.Lead generation

2.Lead nurturing

3.Marketing qualified lead

4.Sales accepted lead

5.Sales qualified lead

6.Closed deal

7.Post-sale


What does a healthy sales pipeline look like?


Your sales pipeline represents the health of your sales life cycles. A careful examination of your sales pipeline can reveal areas in your sales and marketing that need to improve. Therefore, it is important to regularly draft pipeline reports that show deal quantity and value per stage. This is data that’s crucial if you want to better pipeline management.

 

There are 4 key metrics that determine a healthy pipeline:

·     Number of deals in the pipelines.

·     Average size of deals.

·     Average percentage of closed deals.

·     Average time for closing deals.


How to manage your online leads pipeline:


To better manage your online lead pipeline, consider also the following:


  1. Leads are not the same as deals. 

Leads are leads. We qualify them for fitting a potential opportunity, but not all will turn into deals. 

In fact, not all will even be reachable. 

In the lead generation world, we generally work with the rule of thirds:

  • 1/3 of the leads will never answer
  • 1/3 of the leads will answer but go nowhere. Either they changed their mind, not that interested, or whatever other reason. 
  • 1/3 of the leads will turn into bonafide deals where you move things deeper into the sales process, and of this 1/3rd, you will probably close about 1/3 of those deals into sales/customers - so roughly 10% of the total leads. 

That means 90% of the leads don’t close. But it’s the 1/10 that makes your ROI. 

Sometimes brokers who are unfamiliar with advertising find this shocking. You should know this is how it works. For instance, for retail eCommerce sites selling physical products, their conversion rates could be as low as 1%!!!

That means 99% of visitors leave without buying anything - and this could be considered an excellent benchmark in some industries, where it helps drive millions or even billions of dollars in revenue and profit. 


  1. Purchase Timeframe

We also know this as the purchase cycle. A simple way to look at the purchase cycle is to break it into three stages:

1.Awareness - when a customer first becomes aware of your product. Or could also refer to the point where a customer first becomes aware of a need that they want to fulfill.

2.Consideration - when a customer tests solutions to their need

3. Purchase

Every industry has different timelines to purchase. Whereas a home equity loan might close in a month, it could take a year or more to close a real estate sale. 

Be conscious of what your average timeline looks like and then measure results along with that timeline.

If you’re in an industry with a purchase cycle that takes 90 days, then you can’t measure the ROI from any batch of leads until at least 90 days have passed. 

It also means you need to keep your pipeline consistent because 1 rough month of lead gen today could mean a terrible month for sales 3 months down the road. 

You will also need to consider your sales and ongoing marketing processes. If sales take months to close, you can’t just have a strategy of calls leads for a week and then letting them go dry. You need to create a sales and marketing process that lasts at least as long as the typical timeline to purchase, to keep leads engaged, and to make sure you’re in their frame of mind when they are ready to move forward. 


  1. Leads are not the same as referrals

A “referral” is the opportunity to do business with someone in the market to buy your product or service and who’s been told about you by a mutual friend or associate. In other words, they know who you are and what you do when you contact them.

A referral is stronger than just a “lead” because the prospect has talked to your mutual acquaintance and is generally expecting the call. Hence, they are “referred.”

 

So, leads are basically cold calls and this is where you come to build more rapport with your them.  

Some brokers are turned off by this, think the leads are weak, etc. but the fact is, unless you’re in the 1% who can build a super network, then your business will be stuck in the same place forever without a stable source of leads through some type of intentional marketing strategy. 

Facebook & Google are the advertising giants of our generation. So, if you’re struggling to leverage them to attract business, you really need to ask yourself what you need to change, because if you’re having trouble, it’s certainly not a problem with Facebook & Google who are the titans of the advertising industry, responsible for trillions of dollars in sales every year. 


What’s Next?


Here at FinanceVine, we are experts in generating ROI-positive results in the financial services space through online lead generation.

Schedule a call with us and discover how we can help your business.


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About the Author

I started out as the Internet marketing director for an Automotive Group. I learned about Facebook & Google advertising running campaigns for auto loans. I transitioned to full-time entrepreneurship in 2014, and have been at it ever since.

James Vannelli

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