How to do Lead Management that Improves Conversion?



Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: May 6, 2021

Leads make lifeblood businesses. For you to stay and thrive in business, you need to find a way of generating high-quality leads and converting leads into loyal customers. It’s quite an uphill task, especially those that don’t use lead management software.

In fact, only 2% of leads convert on the first visit. A whopping 98% disappear from the funnel or buy once a certain level of trust has been reached.  It is a rather murky ground. To avoid losing your leads, you need to rethink your approach to lead management.

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Another research by Salesforce found out that in B2B sales, only 13% of leads lead to opportunity and 6% of opportunities turn out into deals. But, at the end of the day, you will realize that generating high-quality leads is their top challenge. Whatever you want to achieve with your leads determines the kind of lead management software and structures you want to put in place.

How businesses manage lead processing?

It all starts with coming up with an efficient way to manage leads in a structured and systematic way. But it is easier said than done. After generating leads, different companies use different methods for lead processing:

  • There are those that prefer a three-step process – lead nurturing by the marketing team, lead qualification by the inside sales team and closing sales by the salespeople.
  • Others prefer a two-step process – where the marketing team converts leads to sales opportunities and then the salespeople work on the opportunity.

So where do lead management efforts fall short?

Many managers acknowledge that generating high-quality leads is their major challenge. Lead management may fall short in the following ways:

  • Marketing teams often fail to consult sales teams and arbitrarily come up with criteria on what constitutes a marketing qualified lead (MQL).
  • Failure to consider customer profile fit when generating leads.
  • Using only one channel when nurturing leads.
  • Lack of collaboration between sales and marketing the approach and process of generating leads.
  • Failure to take customer experience into account.

Quality lead management = Good customer experience = High conversion rate

Assume you are selling a very popular product, X. You have prepared all your sales and marketing material. And your teams are ready to go. So you blast off the campaigns and wait to make a killing. Thanks to your new CRM software, the results are good. You are generating a lot of leads. It’s all promising.

Unfortunately, you choose to ignore the insignificant number of customers who didn’t enjoy your product. Do you concentrate on pouring more time to your tested and proven-to-work sales theocracy? Then the disgruntled customers decide to take it a notch higher. Leaves very bad reviews, and takes their woes to social media. Before you know it, you are slapped with refund requests from previous deals. And harsh deals that are going ballistic on you.

Then you know you have lost it all. Customer experience is everything.

How can businesses manage leads to optimize conversions?

For you to improve lead conversion rates, you need to optimize your lead management software methods. Customer experience focused experiences always carry the day.  Below are five steps that most business employs in their process of lead management:

Step 1: Create and test Universal Lead Definition (ULD) and Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Your marketing department needs to come up with a method of determining the quality of a lead. Creating an SLA and ULD  helps them have common ground on what qualifies as a quality lead.

  • An SLA  – usually define the criteria they will use for lead routing, the sales time-to-follow-up, marketing support accorded to sales.
  • The ULD – is a criterion used to define when leads graduate to the sales-ready category.

The marketing team needs to test both the ULD and SLA before proceeding to lead qualification.

Step 2: Lead Qualification Using ULD

This is one of the most important steps in lead management for conversion. It involves filtering the leads as per the agreed-upon ULD criteria. The leads are either scored by sales development representatives or by use of marketing automation lead management software like CRM system. Once scored, they are moved down to the next step in the sales funnel.

Step 3: Lead Nurturing

For a lead to reach the sales-ready stage, it has to be nurtured from its early stage. You must have regular conversations with potential customers. You should not be worried whether they have decided to buy, or when they are planning on buying. It’s your responsibility to add value to your product by delivering useful information to the potential customer. There are so many channels that you can use to reach your customers.

You can choose to use either public relations, emails, phone call, company websites among others. Use as many as possible so that you make sure that you walk together with your targeted customer throughout this lengthy lead conversion journey.

Step 4: Lead Routing

The process of handing over leads from the marketing team to the sales team must be executed flawlessly. For example, you can use your preferred lead management software – for example, the CRM system you are using to document all the processes to use in the SLA. Particularly you need to care of the following:

  • Leads must be sales-ready before routing.
  • The routing process must be clearly defined. For example, who takes ownership of the lead. There should never be a situation when it isn’t clear who has the responsibility of follow-up.
  • Follow-up and turnaround should be monitored based on the agreed upon SLA.

Step 5: Track, Evaluate and Refine

For an organization to achieve its goals, there must be proper internal arrangements. First, there should be proper communication between marketing and sales teams. The teams should hold regular meetings meant to track the organization’s progress. In addition, the teams should use proper lead management software to evaluate the effectiveness of their lead management approach and if possible refine it to improve future campaigns.


Successful lead management efforts always take a customer-centric approach. This approach tackles individual customer pain points and also guides them helps their journey to making a buying decision. Using the above 5-step method of lead management, the business can increase lead conversions.

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