Following the alignment process (Step #1), every sales rep should understand how to use the CRM and other lead intelligence tools to be able to quickly evaluate sales qualified leads and reach out to them quickly. Lead intelligence will help reps formulate a strategy for engaging with their prospects, gain their interest and trust, and develop a relationship that leads to a closed sale. This process is called sales nurturing. Every rep needs to update the CRM following every communication to keep lead status up-to-date and make sure that Marketing doesn't step on the sales process with inappropriate content. Once a sale is consummated, Customer Service should be notified via the CRM and take over managing the account. Sales also needs to set up automated reminders for following up with their customers and setting the table for up-sells and retained services. Marketing and Product Development also need to stay in the loop to send supporting, customer-centric content that educates customers on best practices and upcoming releases.
For example, if your company offers business-grade networking systems, you may know that it takes an average of six months for an IT administrator to research solutions, seek approval, and have a final budget granted for a purchase. You would be wasting time—and probably annoying a potential customer—if you sent a "buy now!" message at the end of their first month on the list. Instead, start them off with what they’re likely to need the most: product information. Then, move into messages about special features, or anything that might convince them that your solution is the best on the market. Finally, when you’re nearing that six month mark, offer them a way to get in touch with you. Timely emails like this are a great way to give potential customers what they need exactly when they need it.
Leads may come from various sources or activities, for example, digitally via the Internet, through personal referrals, through telephone calls either by the company or telemarketers, through advertisements, and events. A 2015 study found that 89% of respondents cited email as the most-used channel for generating leads, followed by content marketing, search engine, and finally events. A study from 2014 found that direct traffic, search engines, and web referrals were the three most popular online channels for lead generation, accounting for 93% of leads.