As a small startup ourselves, we at AllProWebTools understand the importance of leads.  There’s nothing like the energy in a small business when new customers are knocking on the door – it’s a tangible excitement that makes everyone sit up a little straighter and work a little harder.

Bizible invited us to share some strategies that our most successful users rely on, as well as ones we use ourselves to grow AllProWebTools.  We provide an integrated CRM, digital marketing, CMS, and eCommerce platform for small businesses, designed to help business owners get a strong sales and lead management process in place.

In this article, we cover how to generate leads that convert into revenue, and how to manage a sales pipeline.

It starts with understanding the three pillars of pipeline marketing. Those are:

  1. The Sales Pipeline  

  2. Lead Management

  3. Customer Relationship Management 

Let’s get started.

Create a Sales Pipeline 

Creating a sales pipeline is a vital step in staying organized, prioritizing leads, and tracking progress.  Keeping the top of the pipeline full, but not too full is a balancing act, and it’s very important to set up a scalable system that will continue to work as your company grows.

Many businesses get distracted by incoming leads.  When it’s most important to keep a cool head and stay organized, they start chasing every new lead with full energy. This might get you a few sales, but it’s not scalable.

Creating a sales pipeline based on your sales cycle will help you efficiently deliver the right offer to the right audience at the right time.

Creating a sales pipeline is about grouping new contacts into buckets based on sales qualification information. This way you’ll understand how to move prospects through the funnel using the right messaging and offers. 

Here are some sales qualifiers. 

  • Likelihood of closing sale

  • Predicted timeline to conversion

  • Estimated dollar value

And here are even more detailed qualifiers.

Clearly understanding the different categories your leads fall into makes crafting a follow-up strategy much easier.  You can infer what kind of information they’re looking for based on where they are in the sales cycle.

In the fast-paced world we live in, it’s crucial to follow up with your leads quickly.  But personal touches require a lot of time and effort.  It requires slow relationship building by consistently adding value, being likable, and being easily identifiable by brand.  

Luckily, you can automate and organize this process with lead management.

Choose The Right Lead Management System

Lead management is an area that allows businesses to pull ahead of less organized competitors. 

When generating leads, it’s crucial to store all your leads’ contact information in one digital location.  This allows the entire sales team to share information, protects lead data from being lost, and allows you to make optimization decisions after you’ve gathered enough data.

Nurturing tactics like email marketing are more efficient when your leads’ contact information is organized and well managed. This holds true for engaging current customers with offers and incentives. This moves them through the sales pipeline, and closer to a sales conversion. 

For example, automated emails are a good way to drive traffic to your website.  Once they land on your page and fill out a form, they should receive an immediate welcome email at minimum, and a phone call to qualify the lead.

Of course, organizing your leads’ contact details, preferences, and needs requires that you can effectively gather that information.  

Don’t let your online leads remain faceless, nameless visitors to your site – get proactive about understanding who they are, where they came from, and what they’re looking for.  

This will allow you to create messaging and site changes that compel your site visitors to convert. Page optimization campaigns, like testing CTA’s, copywriting, and images, are all based on understanding your audience. 

Prioritize High Performing Channels 

It’s important to prioritize based on channels that bring in actual customers.  This allows you to maximize resources by investing only in top-performing channels.

In order to prioritize channels, you need a solid method of finding out which leads came from which sources. Here are some common channels for us and our users, and why it’s so important to attribute the sources of those leads correctly.

  • Sales people and cold calling (track commission, evaluate methods)

  • Word of mouth referrals (thank and support your evangelists)

  • Print and online content (nail down an audience and approach that converts)

  • Emails (hone your timing, content, and call to action)

  • Paid/PPC ad campaigns (find the right keywords, content, and call to action)

  • Organic search (target your keywords for conversion)

  • Social media (determine ROI for time put in)

Begin new marketing channels, new campaigns, or even changes to a campaign, as small experiments, following the scientific method.  Try to keep variables controlled, so that you can attribute which campaigns and changes caused an increase in traffic and leads.  

AllProWebTools uses tracking URLs to understand the impact of all the channels used by a small business. Allowing our users to use one dashboard to compare clicks, lead boxes filled, conversions, and even sales in dollars per campaign helps them quickly figure out which ones are pulling their weight.  

You can also use Bizible’s marketing attribution solution to track anonymous site visitors. These visitors are not leads yet because they haven’t filled out a contact submission form. Tracking this information will allow you to understand which channels are driving brand discovery and brand awareness. 

Develop A Strategy For Customer Relationship Management 

You’ve heard the old saying, “It’s cheaper to keep an old client than convert a new one.”  This is as true as ever, but many of us have lost the art of maintaining healthy long-term customer relationships. 

When marketers create a “revenue generating engine” it all rests in the ability to generate and retain customers. 

This is one area where we help our users create a system – part automated, part personal.  

There are many tactics to choose from when it comes to customer relationship management. After a purchase you need to set up a good follow up plan that includes:

  • Scheduled emails – newsletters, coupons, other value-adding content

  • Callback reminders to ensure personal relationship continues

  • Client notes from everyone who’s interacted with that client stored in one database

  • Requests for testimonials and referrals

  • Clear understanding of lifetime value of customers

Go From Lead Generation To Customer Relationship Management 

I’ll close by briefly telling the story of one of our first users, Hawaiian Organic Noni.  

They had been in business for 15 years before starting with AllProWebTools, and had reached a plateau in average monthly sales.  By putting in place scalable systems, they were able to increase their monthly revenue by 700% in less than five years.

Here’s what we helped them put in place:

  • SEO-optimized website with lead boxes

  • Content marketing strategy

  • Automated mail marketing campaigns with coupons

  • PPC campaigns and tracking

  • Social media campaigns

Since then, they’ve had an amazing ability to keep customers coming back for more.  They’ve created a loyal following around their brand with creative campaigns that are high on engagement -- all with good customer relationship management. 

For example, they frequently send out games that reveal a coupon code, and hold an annual contest to name the albatross chicks that hatch on their plantation each year.

Here’s a screenshot of the lead generation form.

Irresistible, right?

They get incredible responses to these campaigns, but invest very little time and effort in maintaining the systems.  Meanwhile, they continue to grow.

AllProWebTools is designed to help small businesses and startups that want to grow to find the energy of success. 

By providing systems and processes that make business management smoother, we help them become more productive, more profitable, and less stressed.  

The software covers many different systems in a small business, and we get some of our best results by helping entrepreneurs create scalable processes for lead and relationship management.

We’ve found that when business owners do their homework and set up scalable processes, they’re able to get out of their own way and spend more time doing what they love.  Especially with lead management, small business owners can’t afford to be haphazard.  Each lead and customer is an asset that must be maintained.

Andrea Lotz is the in-house writer for AllProWebTools, a small business management software company in northern Colorado. She loves to write about just about anything, especially small businesses, sustainability, and whatever is new and upcoming on the horizon.  Follow her on LinkedIn to find more articles on small business management.