Published January 18th, 2012 by Brian Whalley

Why is prospect management important? Consider these two stories about how the world works with and without prospect management.

At XYZ Corporation, new leads can come in off of the website by downloading an ebook or whitepaper from the website. Every lead that comes in is immediately assigned to a sales rep who follows up with as many leads as they can right away. Because XYZ Corporation has no central lead management system, just forms that connect to their CRM system, they have very little knowledge about what other questions they should be asking for the form. Theyre just trying to collect phone numbers, email addresses, and names. Instead of qualifying their leads on the form, the salesperson who calls them back has to ask them what their title is and their other qualifying questions on the phone. 

In those conversations, the salesperson always uncovers information that they wished theyd known in advance - The leads job title, buying authority, and budget are all discovered in that phone question. The person that filled out that form could have been a summer intern or a SVP of Marketing, and the rep has few resources available before the call, and all the additional manual research will take a lot of time. After a conversion like this on some top-of-funnel content like an ebook, they often find that their leads are early in their buying research and are six months from a decision. This means that rep will need to watch over that lead and stay in touch with them for months before they have a chance to close a deal. That salesperson knows that there must be a better way to manage their lead pipeline, but theyre not sure how.

Across the street, ABC Company is using a modern lead management platform to help score and monitor their leads as they grow. That same early lead, but the company was using some good lead and prospect management software and so the sales rep didnt even receive the lead right away. They knew the lead wasnt ready to buy because all it had filled out was an early top-of-funnel offer, and the lead put their job title of Marketing Manager.  ABCs lead management software looks at each lead as it comes in, and looks at a their job title, how many pages they viewed on the website, and how many forms theyve filled out on the website. People with more activity or high-ranking job titles are accelerated to a salesperson more quickly, while leads with low activity or low-ranking titles are fed into email lead nurturing campaigns.

Either way, the leads visit to the website is detected by an analytics app, which recognizes the existing lead and fires off an email immediately to the salesperson assigned to that lead. In the meantime, the software has been sending lead nurturing emails every two weeks for the last few months with new content offers and information about what they should be considering as they investigate their options. With no additional work by either the marketer or the salesperson at ABC Company, the lead is receiving a steady diet of useful information to help them with their purchase decision, while reinforcing ABCs position as a market leader and expert on the topic.

Who is going to close their customer, and close them at the lowest cost to the organization? Almost certainly ABC Company, who lets their sales reps focus on working qualified leads and closing deals instead of qualifying endless early-cycle leads. That's why prospect management and lead management are so valuable.
 
     

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