When I tell people my business is Lead Management, sometimes I get weird looks. What is that? What do you mean lead management? Do you generate leads for clients?

Lead generation and lead management are two different things.

You can’t have one without the other. But if you only generate leads and you don’t manage them you might as well not bother. There are services out there, especially in the real estate realm, that will generate leads for you. But depending on what you do with them, or how the system is gathering information you may be throwing your money away.

In order to put together a lead management system here are some things to think about.

Consistency: You have to have a consistent systematic way to deal with the leads.

Promptness: If you do not reply promptly to leads, why are your generating them? Put yourself in the place of the potential client. If you can’t get a hold of someone to answer your question, do you sit there patiently waiting for days for someone to get back to you? Or do you move down to the next listing on the internet who might be able to answer your question when you have it hot on your mind? What do you think your clients are doing?

Campaign Planning: Identify the different types of clients you have and the kinds of campaigns that will best suite them. A blanket campaign may not work if you have long-term and short-term buyers. Buyers with different product needs, price points, or financial requirements cannot be touched by the same campaign. You need to have all these scenarios thought through and addressed so you can plug each new lead into the proper plan.

Dynamic Information Delivery: You need to have more than just one way to touch people. They may not respond to phone calls, but they may respond to emails. They may not respond to emails but to they may respond to video emails. They may not respond to questions but they may respond to surveys. They may not respond to photographs but they may respond to slide shows. By having an arsenal of methods to contact your leads it will help you identify what works best for different products, people, and situations. A campaign consisting only of canned emails becomes something easy to ignore and delete for the would-be buyer. It’s kind of like fast forwarding through commercials.

Calls to Action: You can’t Tell it to Sell it. You have to have ways to find out what your clients need. You can’t just keep pushing out information, you have to make it an interactive dialogue. Not always easy and this involves the use of some of the dynamic delivery above, and the tools below.

Tools: You can’t just have an inbox and hope to remember every email you receive, every email you send and when the next one is due. Even scheduling it on your calender will become overwhelming. A system that schedules, reminds and integrates with your database is an essential tool for lead management. Don’t try to keep it in a spreadsheet. That’s insanity.

CRM Customer Relationship Management. You’ve got to have a way to systematically touch your clients. The CRM helps you achieve the Consistency above.

  • Does it allow you to set reminders?
  • Does it allow for long term campaign follow-up?
  • Does it have dynamic features that allow you to set up email, direct mail, and calls to your client?
  • Is it automated?
  • Can the lead be transferred between team members?

These are just a few of the questions you may ask about a CRM system to manage your leads.

Email Marketing Program – This may be part of your CRM, but you want to make sure it has several key features.

  • Can it track what people are clicking on in the email?
  • Can it track how many people are opening it?
  • Does it allow people to unsubscribe?
  • Does it allow you to set up email campaigns?
  • If it is not part of your CRM does it integrate with it?

Finally, having a system is something that is developed, tested, and refined. You can’t just say okay one, two, three go. Especially if there is not a full robust system already in place. One of the biggest problem in most businesses is knowing how to manage the leads they generate. As a business gets off the ground, and just a few leads are coming in they think they can handle them in their inbox, but as these leads build and build each month eventually the reality kicks in that business is being lost because it is impossible to keep track of all the people in the system, past customers, and current calls, and emails. This is why a lead management system is essential. A well thought out plan and superior software.

There will be a point where you hit a realization that you need a system because you are losing leads. At this point you can’t wallow in the past leads that are likely dead, but need to focus on a fix so that you can capture and properly maintain the ones coming in now, next week, and next month.

You can’t just said we need a lead management system and Boom. There it is. Even out of the box solutions need to be customized to fit your circumstances, many CRM’s out there have excellent training and support and will help you get started quickly so that you can become a more adept lead manager.