Leads are the lifeblood of any fitness business. The goal is to take the leads and nurture them into full paying members. In fact, according to Hubspot, 74% of companies say converting leads into customers is their top priority. But this isn’t as easy as it sounds, and this is reflected in another key statistic from Hubspot which is 65% of businesses say generating leads is one of their challenges. So it’s clear that having a lead management process that runs like a well-oiled machine should be top of your to-do list.
When analyzing your lead management process, it’s useful to ask yourself if you are taking your leads effectively through the process from prospect to full paying member. For example, if you feel like you are collecting leads until you are blue in the face but lack conversion, you need to work on improving this.
So in this article, we will look at what lead management is and then go through the 6 steps to creating an effective lead management process of your own.
What is Lead Management and What is the Goal?
Lead management is a process that bridges the gap between sales and marketing. For it to work these two functions need to be working in tandem with each other. The marketing side identifies the lead and engages the lead with advertising, information, and content until they are moved along to a stage that they are qualified. At this point, they are passed along to the sales team.
To help you implement an effective lead management strategy, make sure you have a robust gym management software system in place to help you be successful.
The Six Steps to an Effective Lead Management Process
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1. Get to Know Your Leads
Before you can take your lead on a path of discovery about the services you have to offer them, get an understanding about how they tick. To match them with the best content, you need to understand their passions and desires.
Two potential gym members will have completely different reasons why they would join. One member might be an overweight woman in her 40’s told by the doctor that she needed to begin an exercise regime. The other could be a young man in his late 20’s that is tired of the same old grind and wants to take his life to the next level of fitness.
Both of these leads could end up members of your gym if you handle them right. But just like they both have different reasons to join; they also have different fears and hurdles to overcome. It’s your job to find these why’s and why not’s and tailor your marketing campaigns accordingly.
Here are a few things to look for in order to classify your potential member types:
How did they find you? Did this lead enter their information through a specific link? Did it highlight a gym membership special? Was it through social media, at an event, or through your website? Maybe they actually found you because they searched online for a gym in their area. The answer to these questions could give you insight into this person’s why and even their why not. It can also help you figure out what lead generation channels are working for you.
What is their mindset?: Are they stay at home moms or the CEO of a company? Are they beginner, intermediate, or experts in fitness? Or Are they social beings or loners? The answer to these questions will give you a better idea as to how to approach these leads.
What are their goals: This information is critical in the lead management process. Gathering information on what your leads goals and motivating force to join a gym would be can give you a lot more power behind your marketing. The same can be said about what is holding them back from joining.
2. Watch the Habits of Your Leads
Now that you have some information on your leads you can group them into different classes and send them through to the next stage of the sales funnel; interest. Your goal at this stage is to entice your lead into a stronger interest in becoming a member of your gym. How do you do that? With great content, that’s how.
You also want to pay attention to how each lead reacts to your content. If a certain content falls flat, you know to rule out that direction. If they tend to interact more with content about a certain topic, you know that it could be a stronger pull for them. To illustrate, say a lead is always looking into your new fitness classes. You know that they are, first of all, social beings, and second, interested in a membership that includes classes. You can tailor your content to these demographics.
In order to know how your leads are interacting you need to add a tracking token to all of your content to see how each lead reacts to specific content. Another important aspect of understanding the habits of your leads is through marketing analytics. Marketing analytics is a tool that you can use to measure the performance of each marketing strategy you are using, whether it be Google AdWords, email, social media, or your website.
3. Prioritize Your Leads
Each lead will be on a different level of the sales funnel. By learning all you can about your leads in step 1 to watching their habits in step 2, you will get a better idea as to where each lead lands. Although you don’t want to rule out leads by any means, if conversion is what you want, you should focus your attention on the high priority leads.
High priority leads are those that are the closest to conversion. These leads are on the brink of becoming a member of your gym. The best leads are engaged, clicking on every link you send them, reading every email, and signing up for more. You should come up with a lead prioritizing system, or lead scoring, that will help you keep them in order. This way your high priority sales leads don’t get lost in the mix. You want them to take action and become a member. Their actions within your content marketing can leave clues as to how close to conversion they are.
For example, tracking how they interacted with an email can tell you how they score. Did they open the email? Great, they get a point for that. Did they click on a link within the email? Fantastic! They get five points for that. Did they unsubscribe? Well, they would lose five points if that was the case. The right timing is essential to conversion. If you wait too long, you might lose them to the competition, or give them time to lose interest. Deliver your best deal to them when they are ready.
With the leads that are colder, or who don’t seem to be near the signup process, you can continue to develop a deeper relationship, gather more information to understand what they need, and give them a bit more time to become a high priority lead. This happens in the next step.
4. Engage a Lead Nurturing Campaign
For the leads that are still on the fence as to whether they want to become members of your gym, your job is to nurture their interest until it becomes a desire. They turn fire onto that desire so that it prompts action.
Depending on where they are in the sales pipeline, you will treat them accordingly, watering what interest they have. You might want to push a free eBook, free trial, or any other content you are using.
A good way to keep your content organized is by using a content map. There are generally 5 stages on the content map.
Sales is a tricky process. You don’t want your sales reps to come off too pushy, but you also don’t want to miss an opportunity. Knowing when, how, and if to try to convert a lead to a sale is an art form. When and if you try to convert a lead into a sale is largely based on how they rank in your prioritizing, how well they have reacted to your nurturing, and if they have completed any call to action you have placed before them in the email marketing.
One of the biggest differences between a lead that needs more nurturing and one that is ready to convert is that the first is aware that they need a change in lifestyle to solve their problem, the latter is aware that membership to your gym might be a solution to achieving this lifestyle change. As time goes on, you’ll be able to spot qualified leads easier. You’ll start to notice the patterns in your lead management that identify an individual as closer to conversion. A few patterns might start to take shape in your conversion rates based on how they first made initial contact, how they reacted to certain content, what their demographic is, how quickly they made their way up the lead priority scale, and so on.
Remember when we talked about a lead prioritizing system? Within this system, you should have a conversion threshold. If they reach this threshold, they are automatically enlisted in the conversion ready lead group.
6. Test and Tweak
When starting out, it can feel like you are trying to walk through a crowded street blind, but the more you feel around, the easier it is to avoid bumping into people. You will learn the ropes mostly through trial and error. It’s important to remember that this is all a learning experience and not a failure.
Through experimentation, you may find out if a tactic or strategy isn’t working. Now you won’t be wasting any more time and money on a strategy that doesn’t work. Sometimes, marketing is a process of elimination. When you do find something that works well, use it and always be ready to adjust to the field to keep turning your potential customers into loyal members.