Lead management challenges for manufacturers and their channel partners

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Consistent and smoothly functioning lead management poses major challenges for manufacturers and their sales partners. Media disruptions, too slow processing and disregarding the wishes of potential customers can lead to problems. Be it in distribution, misunderstandings in communication or missed opportunities to generate successful conversions. If the leads are not of high quality Marketing Qualified Leads and contain incomplete and unclear information, there is a risk that external sales partners will not follow up on them.
Of enormous importance is the Filtering out high quality leads. If leads turn out to be a shot in the dark, partner companies will avoid the effort of following up the generated leads in the future. The objective of manufacturers must be to continuously provide sales partners with well-structured, complete and high-quality leads.

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Common lead management problems

Manufacturers and distributors - regardless of whether they focus on cost-saving Inbound Marketing or resource-intensive outbound marketing to generate leads - have to contend with numerous problems. Classics include disagreements between marketing and sales departments. Lead management difficulties often revolve around the following issues:

  • The leads generated are low quality and have no intent to buy.
  • The sales processes are poorly supported by the marketing side. There is a lack of successful qualification including a coherent evaluation scheme.
  • The competition is faster and has more efficient lead management.
  • High-quality leads get lost in the mass of leads generated. Follow-up does not work.
  • Other distributors are (supposedly) preferred and receive higher quality as well as better qualified leads.
  • Leads processed inadequately and incorrectly by sales partners damage the manufacturer's image.
Consider all sub-aspects for successful lead management.
Consider all sub-aspects for successful lead management. (Image: marketinginstitute.biz)

Successful lead management through standardized processes

Leads are generated on various analog and digital channels. At the point of sale in stores, the website, social media platforms, referral programs in app form, as well as customer service and many more are sources for collecting contact data and Wishes potential customers.

Depending on the channel, the size of the form, and the length of time spent talking with employees, leads vary in the amount and accuracy of information provided.

If leads are collected as part of a sweepstakes, it may be difficult to make serious Purchase intentions to filter out. Leads collected during B2B and B2C trade fairs and based on personal contacts between potential customers and employees contain accurate information, which will get you started on a successful sales pitch.

The distance to a successful conversion depends, among other things, on the complexity of the products and services offered, the speed of processing, and the sales skills of the sales partners. Standardized collection processes in lead management ensure a uniform database. It is the manufacturer's task to define standards and communicate them within their own company and in the sales network.

Exploiting the potential of digitization

While leads used to be laboriously prepared by hand, digitization makes the collection process easier. Through digital marketing measures - such as SEO- and SEA-activities and Social media - a prospective customer is able to inquire anonymously and without time pressure about the product range, current offers and customization options.

The challenge for marketing and customer service staff is to provide potential customers with a sufficient amount of analog and digital Touchpoints on all relevant channels, in order to make the Customer Journey automated control. If the first personal contact with the manufacturing company is established and a lead is generated, in the majority of cases there is a concrete purchase intention behind it. On average, around 60 percent of the buying process has already been successfully completed.

In order for sales partners to be able to react quickly, it is important to immediately convert all promising sales leads into digital form and ensure rapid processing. If delays occur - for example, due to media disruptions - there is a risk that a secure customer will react with disappointment. Consequently, they may migrate to the competition in protest or frustration over poor lead management.

How to successfully digitize lead management
Digitization offers more opportunities and makes lead management easier.(Image: it-production.com)

Solution approach - Creating a common database

The creation of a common Data basis for consistent lead management solves many of the problems faced by manufacturers and channel partners. The scope of shared data must encompass the entire customer journey, including each touchpoint and an accurate assessment by the manufacturer.

Building modern lead management requires an investment in appropriate digital processes and tools.

In order to create functioning cross-company processes, marketing and sales or manufacturers and sales partners must define central points together. The generation of Marketing Qualified Leads remains on the manufacturer side. Customized Scoring- and rating algorithms enable precise assessment of leads on both sides. The reward for joint engagement is the ability to scale lead generation and conversions, generating measurably stronger growth.

Another advantage of a common database is the Feedback on the part of the sales partners what has happened to the leads. If a Marketing Qualified Lead or Sales Lead has decided to buy from the competition, action is required. Collaboration reveals weaknesses in marketing and sales processes. In addition, the lead can be used for the sale of further products as well as a renewed follow-up after the end of the useful life or contract period. If the sales partner - with the support of the manufacturer - offers more attractive conditions and a better service, there is a chance that the customer will buy the product again. new sales dialog the chance of a successful conversion.

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Conclusion - Making performance visible

Only if the exchange of data between manufacturers and sales partners functions smoothly is it possible to measure the contributions of manufacturer marketing to sales success and uncover optimization potential. If the influence of marketing on the achievement of economic objectives in sales is measurable, the acceptance of the marketing department and its activities increases. The positive development of cooperation is the basis for growth and the establishment of successful inbound marketing with a solid base of existing customers.


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