Lead Management: What It Is and How to Do It


All of your best lead-sourcing efforts will be useless if you don’t have a solid lead management plan in place. You can’t expect your sales team to pursue the right leads when they’re not even sure what the “right” leads are or how to find them. With a proper lead management system, you’ll have a framework that everyone can follow to save time, money, and effort. 

Lead management streamlines the lead generation process and guarantees that your team is focused on the high-quality leads that are most likely to convert. If you’re going to do it correctly, you’ve got to have a plan. Part of that plan might include partnering with a team like Smith.ai to get total support for your outreach campaigns and more. 

Before you can get there, though, you’ve got to know where you’re going. Let’s dive in. 

What is a lead management process?

Lead management refers to how you track, monitor, and execute lead generation campaigns. It involves a series of steps that help you segment leads by their likelihood of conversion, and it helps you keep tabs on the sales pipeline in case you need to make changes along the way. 

Having a system to organize your leads is the first step in improving your marketing and outreach tactics. Nothing is worse than coming back from a trade show with 60 new business cards that have to be evaluated and entered manually into your system—with a lead management system, you’ll be able to organize and sort through them quickly so that you can file them accordingly. 

The lead management process usually involves the following steps:

  • Lead capture
  • Lead tracking
  • Lead qualification
  • Lead distribution
  • Lead nurturing

You need to have a strategy in place that helps you with every aspect of lead generation so that you can deliver a better experience while also streamlining your sales process. 

To execute this, it’s also going to be helpful to know the best practices for lead management. 

Lead management best practices 

Your business is unique. The exact process that you choose for lead management will vary depending on your needs. However, there are some best practices that everyone can use to help along the way. 

Measure and maintain 

This is a simple part of the lead generation process, but it does not often get as much attention as it should. Even the best processes need regular monitoring. One of the first parts of your strategy that you need to create is a process for measuring your results. Active monitoring can ensure that you make smarter decisions and allocate your resources effectively. 

Choose metrics that matter. Pay attention to your CRM dashboard and other reports that are keeping your lead management on task. If things aren’t working, take advantage of the real-time information to course-correct and save big losses. 

Automate inbound lead qualification 

Take advantage of your CRM and other tools that you have to create a framework for lead qualification and automate as much of it as you can. Thanks to the tools available today, you can segment leads and create high-quality lists to hand to your sales reps that will get more conversions. Just remember not to automate the “people” parts of the process or that could cost you valuable leads (and reputation points). 

Don’t make them wait 

When leads reach out, they should get a response as soon as possible. These days, even the old 24-hour rule is a bit too long. Make sure that you respond promptly, within minutes if you can, and make sure that you are giving people the attention and time that they need. When you segment your leads, you’ll be better able to see where to allocate your time and resources. 

Make sure you have clean data 

All lead generation efforts will fail if you aren’t using good data. Make sure that you gather valuable customer data and insights, and if you are buying lead lists, get them from reputable places. First-party data is ideal because it is usually more compliant with privacy laws, but you can find reputable alternatives out there if you know where to look. 

Whichever route you take, make sure data integrity is at the top of your list. 

Integrate sales and marketing 

For many years, sales and marketing teams have operated in silos, working beside each other toward a collective goal instead of working together to achieve results. You need to foster collaboration between your marketing and sales teams to maximize your lead management process. After all, if sales doesn’t know what marketing needs, and vice versa, it could be difficult to manage lead generation effectively. 

How to find the best tools and resources for lead management 

Lead management software is a great resource. There are several tools that you can use to help with lead generation and marketing automation, but you’ll have to take the time to evaluate them and see which ones best suit your needs. Look for tools and resources that focus on:

  • Building a solid lead generation framework
  • Segmenting and qualifying leads
  • Distributing and nurturing leads at scale 
  • Creating a process that can be repeated for future success

Evaluate the different tools and resources that are out there by making sure that they help you achieve your lead management goals. See what kind of solutions the different platforms offer and how they integrate with the tools you’re already using. And if you’re looking for the ultimate lead management resource, consider outsourcing with us. 

The value of outsourced support 

Lead generation is a time-consuming process. It’s also one that requires a lot of focus. Your sales reps should have their focus on the users that are most likely to convert, but that doesn’t mean you can abandon the rest. The solution? Partner with the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai to get support for your outreach campaigns and other lead generation needs, including lead intake and appointment scheduling

Plus, we can even act as your 24/7 answering service so you never miss a lead. To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to hello@smith.ai.

Business Education
Sales Tips
Written by Samir Sampat

Samir Sampat is a Marketing Manager with Smith.ai. He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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