In this 101 we will go through the typical stages of a lead management system for accountants, the activities that take place at those stages, and provide details of how you can use automation to guide leads through each stage.
The stages we will go through are:
- Meeting Booked
- Prospect Qualified
- Proposal Drafted
- Proposal Sent
- Proposal Accepted
Is this 101 for you?
- You have poor visibility of which stage leads are across your firm
- You’re struggling to keep up with your volume of tasks
- You’re struggling to convey your value to prospects in the time you have available
- You have limited data on how leads are progressing (successful or unsuccessful), and you want to understand more so that you can improve your lead journey
- You spend a lot of time talking to leads but most of that time is spent gathering information about them and their business as opposed to you convincing them of your value, and selling your services
- Lead generation is good, but you’re struggling to provide a consistently great experience
- You want to put a system in place that your team can easily understand and follow.
- Low barriers to contact (i.e. short form, easily available)
- Collect the right contact information
- Understand prospect needs and expectations
- Enter them into the correct customer journey
- Make it easy for them to progress to the next stage
- Use a structured approach that your team can follow
This is the entry point for prospects. You only need a simple form to collect initial contact data and a basic understanding of the services they require.
The benefits of getting an initial, structured, indication of services alongside contact information include:
- Being able to move the lead into the correct pipeline (if service-specific)
- Being able to continue to market to them (with permission), if they don’t make it to the next stage.
Using form software with conditional questions will keep the form short, so as not to put them off from completing it. Here’s an example form.
However, if you don’t want to show all questions to every prospect, then you can use the Pipedrive forms, or forms built into meeting booking software.
Once the form is completed then the next step is for them to book a meeting with you. You can do this byr:
- Immediately contacting them after form submission
- Using email confirmation system
- Using an automatic email from your pre-set in your CRM
- Using an automatic campaign from a separate system like Mailchimp
Immediacy is the key here, but sometimes the most immediate option (end of the form) is not possible, for instance where you want to place the lead in the correct pipeline based on a postcode or the services they’re interested in.
Assuming routing to a specific pipeline is not an issue, then the option you chose would be largely based on the look and feel of the response.
If the lead has not booked in a meeting within a set number of days, then you need to ensure you schedule a follow-up email or call. You can either do that automatically, or set an automatic reminder to do it yourself.
How do you source leads , and how will you integrate your form?
Website & Social
When sourcing leads via your website or via your social media sites, you can easily integrate your form by either embedding it or by using a link.
Email & Phone
For maximum impact you want to keep your messaging and tone as consistent as possible, equally you also want a consistent approach around how inbound leads reach you.
Inbound emails are likely to come from referral leads or those that have found you through a search engine. To improve lead flow, it is good to feature a contact form on your website rather than a direct email. A contact form ensures that leads are automatically entered into your lead management system without relying on a member of the team.
Our suggested approach for inbound calls would be to train your call handlers to gather information through the form and inform the prospect they will receive a booking link to book in a meeting at their convenience.
Directory (i.e. QB Find an Accountant / Xero)
When receiving referrals from directories, the information is usually held in the body of an email. To save time and make the process more efficient, you can ensure that a link to your form features on your listing, or use software such as Zapier to help you move these leads into your CRM system.
When a meeting is booked the prospect enters the next stage of the prospect journey, which allows you to trigger communications and start a more detailed fact-find.
Ideally you will want to have the prospect qualified and a draft proposal produced ahead of the meeting, albeit a generic draft, so you have to consider the time this might take and build this into the scheduling availability within the booking software. You may also want to consider creating triggers that remind team members to pull the draft together.
There’s a trade off here with how quickly you offer a meeting. If you offer a near-immediate meeting then the likelihood is you’ll give the prospect less time to complete the detailed fact-find ahead of the meeting, and you’ll have less time to draft a proposal ahead of the meeting. This could mean more time spent fact-finding on the call rather than selling.
- The prospect can see your availability so they can book a time that best suits them.
- It’s easy for prospects to self-manage bookings
- You don’t have to go back and forth on availability, improving customer experience
- The prospect automatically receives confirmation and reminders ahead of the meeting
The software you choose needs to meet your scheduling requirements.
You should look for cloud-based software that directly integrates with your lead management system (or CRM system), or via a connector such as Zapier.
- Acuity Scheduling
Once the meeting has been booked the next stage is to send out a more detailed fact-find or ‘prospect qualification’ form. This can happen immediately on booking the appointment, with a follow up if it hasn’t been completed ahead of the meeting.
- To get the prospect to provide you with enough information for you to be able to produce a draft proposal ahead of the meeting
- To ensure that your time is used effectively to sell to the client, rather than fact-finding
- A cloud based form with good conditional questioning capability
- Cognito forms / JotForm
Ideally you’ve already drafted a proposal ahead of your meeting with the prospect, based on the qualification information from the previous stage. That way you’re ready to discuss their business problems, show them your value, and upsell services to support them further, as opposed to carrying out basic fact-finding.
- To make sure that proposals that are drafted are sent out
- To update the value of the proposal in the sales CRM
Immediacy is key here. If you aren’t in a position to run through the proposal with the prospect during the meeting then make sure that it is sent out immediately after the meeting.
- To make it easy for the prospect to sign
- To update the value of the proposal in the sales CRM
Once the proposal is accepted this can be used as a catalyst for onboarding activities.
- To trigger onboarding workflows
- To update the communications CRM (i.e. Mailchimp)
- To update the pipeline CRM deal to ‘Won’
- To trigger invoice generation and payment collection
If the proposal is lost then there are still actions to take. Look at it as a learning experience, and consider the proposal is only lost temporarily, there’s always a chance that they may come back to you later.
- Get feedback from the prospect as to why they didn’t choose to go with you
- Record the reason in a way you can get aggregated useful information so that you can assess the need to make amendments.
Monthly Software Subscriptions
These are estimates, actual costs will be determined by the scoping exercise. Typically for a business with one pipeline software costs will be around £100 per month.
- Booking software – $8 – $25
- Form software – $0 – $25
- Pipedrive – £29 per user
- Mailchimp – £0 – £40
- Zapier – $24.99 – $61.25
We will provide you with a quote for implementation following
- Book in a FREE 15 minute consultation with us
- We’ll fully scope out your lead management system*
- We’ll provide you with an implementation quote
- We’ll agree an implementation plan and timetable
- We’ll implement your system and train you how to manage it
- We’ll maintain your system and implement any changes required
*This is a chargeable service and may take between an hour and half a day, depending on the complexity of the system. Systems which stick closer to our standard system will be scoped quicker.