Simply put “Lead Management” is a process of organizing & managing prospective customers right from being just prospects to paying customers. Some key areas that fall under lead management are :-
- Lead Generation : Capturing interested prospects information by means of marketing tactics using newsletters, blogs, E-books, Webinars, Events etc.
- Lead Segmentation : Quantifying prospects based on the content they consumed and segmenting them into buckets/tags
- Lead Nurturing : Running drip marketing campaigns via email or social networks campaigns to push prospects closer to buying stage.
- Lead Distribution : Distributing sales ready leads to sales reps to follow up via phone, email, social media and finally close them into customers.
I think it’s been quite long when the term “Lead management” has been associated with a CRM. Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against CRM’s; I believe they are great tools and cover major areas of lead management. If you are a marketer or a sales professional you would know the importance of CRM. They help us capture all prospective customer activity across multiple channels (Website, Phone, Email, Social media) and help us drive key business decisions based on this data. Not all leads are ready to buy and CRM’s do an excellent job of Lead segmentation & even distribution. But what about the stage after Lead distribution? The stage where sales reps follow up on leads, have conversation with these qualified leads via phone,email, social media and all a CRM does is to log all that activity.
The point I am trying to make is Lead management has evolved now. Lead routing, sales prospecting, email integration, Dialer integration(VOIP), social prospecting and many more sales activities now fall under its gambit( For B2B businesses at least)
Look at the Marketing & Sales Funnel below, if you are a marketer you would know the role that marketing automation tools play for Lead->MQL segment and if you are a sales rep than you would know that right from the Right party connect down to closing a customer there are a lot of sales activities that ideally should fall under lead management. However CRM’s don’t offer that and with that I mean the paraphernalia to perform these activities.
Lead management is lot more complex now. Managing a few 100 leads is easy but 10,000 or 1 lakh leads is a different story altogether.With growing competition and the power shifting to buyers its all about reaching out fast and delighting your customer. Thus to drive their marketing & sales processes companies also need to invest in marketing automation tools( e.g Hubspot, Pardot) & Sales Acceleration tools(e.g- Inside sales, Inside Sales Box).
Ok, for those of you who don’t know Sales Acceleration tools?
“A Sales acceleration tool helps sales teams prioritize leads from their sales pipeline & help them convert into qualified opportunities in a faster & predictable manner by creating a defined sales workflow with multiple touchpoints of phone(dialer), email & social communication”
However, there are some CRM’s that have evolved with time, noteworthy would be Salesforce & Hubspot CRM which have done this beautifully and are just great tools that have come very close to being a complete lead management system.
These were my thoughts on lead management and I believe most CRM’s don’t adequately address it in its entirety. So describing lead management with only CRM’s won’t give us a true picture.
I would be delighted to know your thoughts on this.