Lead Data Management Best Practices: How to Optimize Lead Flow at Every Stage of Your Sales Funnel

marketers diagram lead flow on a whiteboard

Lead Data Management Best Practices: How to Optimize Lead Flow at Every Stage of Your Sales Funnel

Effective lead data management is key to a successful business. A good lead data management process will convert customers, optimize processes, and streamline the customer sales experience. Data lifecycle management (DLM) is one of many tools that can help optimize your lead data management, easing the process at every level of your lead data sales funnel.
Whether or not you opt to automate processes through DLM, there are a lot of fundamental principles and best practices to keep in mind when managing lead data. Here’s a list of lead data management best practices to help you chart a smooth course from lead generation all the way through to conversion.

Lead Data Management Best Practices

The data lifecycle has five stages: data collection, data storage, data maintenance, data usage, and data cleaning. We’ve organized this list of lead data best practices by their place in the data lifecycle.

Data Collection

Data collection is the first stage of the data management process. Data has to be collected, categorized, and sorted by its value. Useful data is then stored, and useless data discarded. 

Form Fields

Optimizing your lead generation form fields can ease the sorting process significantly. A form field is an individual data entry point or question on a lead generation form. An optimized form field will only request information relevant to your product so that exactly the right information is gathered about each potential lead. Review your lead generation forms and ask yourself: “Does having this information help us evaluate the lead’s conversion potential?” If not, you can safely omit that field.

Lead Generation Tracking

Tracking lead generation will also help you direct your attention where it will have the greatest impact. Use cookies and other tools to help you know where a lead came from. If a particular campaign or channel isn’t generating any useful leads, stop using it. Conversely, if a certain campaign or channel generates both leads and conversions at a notably high rate, invest in it more heavily and try to narrow in on what exactly about it works so well so you can sustain or duplicate that success in the future. It’s normal to cast a wide net at first, but lead generation tracking will help your efforts become more focused and effective over time.

Lead Generation Compliance

Compliance is another important part of lead generation. Federal law regulates all communications between businesses and consumers to protect consumers from predatory business practices. To ensure that your leads are compliant (and that you can prove it), always:

  • Use Clear Disclosures: Consumers must know about all information you’re gathering from them and how that information will be used. Cookie policies, email opt-in forms, and surveys should all be clearly written to keep consumers in the loop about how you will use and share their data and whether or not you will contact them.
  • Get Consent: Consumers must affirm their willingness to disclose data to, or receive communications from, any business. Make sure all leads have agreed to share data with and receive communications from you (or your business partners) before collecting their data or contacting them.
  • Advertise Honestly: Misleading advertisements are illegal. It may be tempting to stretch the truth in your advertising, but it’s just not worth the consequences. Crafting an honest message that’s still persuasive is essential to the art of marketing. Always communicate truthfully with potential customers to avoid facing legal consequences.
  • Scrub Do Not Call (DNC) Lists: If you plan to call a lead, you must first confirm that they are not registered with the FCC on the federal DNC list. Cold-calling consumers who are on the DNC list could land you in hot water with the FCC. Besides, consumers who are on the DNC won’t respond well to calls and are more likely to convert if you reach out to them via other means, like email.

Data Storage

Once lead data is collected, it must be stored. When storing data, make sure that your most relevant and up-to-date information is easy to retrieve. 

Customer Relationship Management Software

Customer relationship management software (CRM) can help. With CRM, all of your leads can be easily organized and stored in one place, minimizing the risk of a valuable lead falling through the cracks.

Secure Lead Generation Backup

Securely backing up your data is also an important part of storage. As the old saying goes: “One copy is none copy.” Digital storage is reasonably reliable, but a single loss of data could sink your operations. It’s always better to have an encrypted backup of all of your important files than to risk losing all of your leads.

Data Maintenance and Data Usage

Data maintenance and usage go hand in hand. Any time a piece of data is used, it’s likely to be updated, if even just to note that a lead’s been contacted. Since these two parts of the process are so closely intertwined, we’ll tackle these two stages of the data lifecycle together.

Data Enrichment

Data enrichment is the technical term used to describe adding new information to an existing lead. You want to know anything and everything that might be relevant to your dealings with the public, and beefing up your initial leads with more information over time is the key to gathering and distributing relevant information.

Lead Management Automation

Once you’ve stored your leads, it’s important to keep them updated with any new information. Especially if you have a large team, instilling a culture of diligent note-taking and updating will lead to more efficient operations and, ultimately, more conversions. 
Some functions of lead data maintenance can be automated, usually through a CRM. Notes like how and when a lead has been contacted are easy enough for software to keep track of, freeing up valuable time so your team can focus on tasks that reach beyond documentation.

Lead Formatting

Keeping leads formatted appropriately can also help significantly. Your team should know exactly where to look to find the information they need about a lead, and your standard operating procedures (SOPs) should dictate when, where, and how to note the details and status of a particular lead. That way, you won’t waste time looking for information in the wrong place.

Lead Syncing

You may rely on multiple pieces of software to generate, manage, and contact leads. That’s great! Pick the best tools for your business. However, keeping all of those pieces of software in lockstep with one another can take quite a bit of time. Look into ways to automatically sync lead data across multiple platforms so that a change in one place affects the appropriate change across all of your systems. Nothing’s worse than trying to square inconsistent data about a lead.

Lead Segmentation

Curating personalized offerings for your potential customers can significantly increase conversions. You can even organize your leads based on which personalized offers they’re most likely to jump at. Lead segmentation is the process of dividing up your leads into categories so you can tailor offers to them specifically. Segmenting leads effectively (and updating a lead’s segment as you gain more information about them) is an important part of lead data management.

Lead Scoring

As another axis along which to organize your leads, consider lead scoring. Lead scoring takes into account everything you know about your leads and ranks them according to their conversion likelihood. With effective lead scoring, you’ll never wonder where you ought to direct your marketing efforts; simply put the most energy into the highest-scoring leads, and you’ll see results. You can even automate lead scoring to help keep leads organized as your relationships evolve.

Data Cleaning

Data cleaning is how you keep your database from becoming cluttered with outdated or irrelevant information. There are two main cleaning processes: archiving data and deleting data.

Archiving Data

You should archive information you need to keep for your records, but that you don’t need to access regularly. Reasons to archive include avoiding duplicate leads and maintaining records for reporting and compliance.

Deleting Data

If you know for certain you will never need a piece of data again, you can safely delete it. Deleting very old or redundant data, rather than archiving it, can help save on data storage costs. Keeping your team clear on the difference between data they ought to archive and data they ought to delete will help avoid a lot of headaches in the long run.

Next Steps

If you’re curious about other best practices for lead data management and automated tools that can help optimize your business operations, reach out to Aktify today.
Aktify uses robust data science and machine learning to foster strong relationships with customers. Aktify’s solutions are invisible, fluidly integrating with a wide variety of CRMs and marketing automation platforms. Aktify delivers phone calls and closes deals. Many of Aktify’s clients enjoy a tenfold return on investment by leveraging the power of thoughtful customer communications.
No matter your industry, Aktify can help streamline your customer relations, improving both efficiency and personability at every step of your sales funnel.

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