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Before you even begin to think about generating leads, you should have a clear understanding of how your business gets new customers, what their average order value might be, what their lifetime value would be for you, and – my favorite – their own buying cycle.

You should determine your market and what a great prospect looks like: what qualities should they have that will suggest they could buy from you? Recently, Dean Akers, a successful Tampa Bay businessman, said that knowing your demographic and market were the keys to success.

Lead Management

Generating Leads – measure and be accountable

Step 1: Create and maintain a powerful website. It must be easy to navigate; look professional; give information; and instill confidence, relevancy and trust. Make sure your FAQ page(s) are easy to use and will answer their questions.

Step 2: Drive prospects to contact you with your marketing. Any other marketing you are doing should drive prospects to either your website or directly to your business via telephone. Use social media to generate leads, as well, of course. This should be part of your marketing strategy overall.

Implementing Accountability/Measurement

Step 3: Collect information using a CRM or CEM tool. There are now mobile devices and also programs available that will incorporate social media, as well. The cost is comedown considerably.

Step 4: Develop a solid lead nurturing program. It should utilize the channel your prospects prefer–and demonstrate confidence, trustworthiness, and relevancy.

Converting Leads

Step 5: Make the sale! That inquiry: how is it coming to you? Are prospects phoning, using the contact us form, or even finding you through other media channels? Are you handling these to the best of your ability in terms of availability? Are you easy to communicate with, and do you listen!?

The Sale

Step 6: Reflect on successes. Start looking at average order value, buying cycles, what is converting and even who is converting. This might mean looking at your sales force and sales process. Converting leads from marketing may be new experience for your team.

Step 7: Show gratitude. How do you thank customers for their first business and how do you set up the relationship to start building an advocate business base?

Lead Management After the Sale

Step 8: Maintain a relationship. Touch all of your customers as often as your business model dictates, and as often as they will appreciate and that will support their own responsiveness. This could be via e-mail, direct mail, notes or any combination. You should know how open your customer is likely to buy (dictated by your own product or service) and be in front of them when they are making the buying decision.

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