Lead generation is essential to keeping your pipeline buzzing with new prospects. The challenge is to manage those leads – approximately half of whom – will not engage with your sales team unless they are sufficiently motivated! This is where lead management comes in.
Lead management involves nurturing leads and moving them along the sales funnel. Once they share their information, you can put your marketing campaigns to work and convert leads into paying customers.
Broadly, lead management can be broken down into the following components:
- Track prospects from various online and offline channels, including your website, Google ads, events and perhaps even acquiring a list of leads from agencies.
- Collect information about leads from form submissions, user behavior through Google Analytics, email marketing analytics and other techniques.
- Score leads based on their readiness to purchase your product/service.
- Manage your relationships with leads – including those who have converted to customers. A customer relationship management (CRM) system is a popular means of managing relationships and interactions with leads and customers in a streamlined manner, with reporting and feedback.
- Lead nurturing on an ongoing basis to hasten sales readiness, establish long-term customer relationships and leverage those relationships to generate more quality leads.
- CRM tools may automatically extract data from multiple lead sources. At the very basic, the software should capture leads automatically from user clicks and offer a more nuanced view of leads by also automatically capturing cookies. Some software offer useful information such as the marketing campaign or channel the user arrived from.
- Lead information, at the very least, will include an address. This should be automatically routed to the sales agent covering the specific geographical area.
- CRM systems may be able to show how leads move along the sales process until they make the purchase. This visualization can be helpful in transitioning leads to prospects and then customers, in a more informed and aware manner.
- Interaction tracking is a common feature of CRMs. It basically refers to tracking communications between your sales teams and leads/customers. Storing customer communications in a single, localized place makes it easy to delegate work among team members – and by ensuring that everyone has the same information – addresses the frustration that prospects/customers experience when they talk to multiple salespeople in your team.
- Lead status updates should occur quickly or in near real-time to avoid wasted effort, tweak engagement strategies, and make more accurate sales projections.
- Built-in collaboration tools are a common aspect of CRMs, helping staff collaborate effectively by enabling sharing of files and discussions via a social newsfeed.
- A good CRM will offer at least basic reporting functionality. Graphs, charts and drag-and-drop tools on a user-friendly dashboard allow you to delve into details as well as get the big picture.
Certain CRM features are a must-have rather than nice-to-have. Chief among them is email integration. Regardless of whether you use Gmail, MS Outlook, Apple Mail or Thunderbird, email integration in CRM allows you to use your email client within the CRM, thereby registering all incoming email automatically and ensuring that information on leads and customers are maintained in one place.
Solastis’ email integration offers full email integration to enable writing and sending emails in the CRM system and automatically retrieves any mail arriving in the system, removing the need for plugins or BCCs. Solastis CRM also offers an email id to small businesses that do not have a website or don’t wish to use their own email for communication.
Contact management is another basic CRM functionality that allows you to track contacts. Organizing your prospects and customers is obviously useful at the time of developing targeted marketing campaigns or framing 1-on-1 conversations with hot leads or your most valuable customers.
There exist contact management tools that offer quick access to contact information, and are often used in conjunction with activity management, calendaring or email integration. However, when discussed in terms of customer relationship management, contact management not only displays contact information but also a history of correspondence with your organization. While contact management tools suffice for a small team, this feature integrated into a CRM is suitable for processes involving multiple teams and departments.
Task management is also among the features most requested by salespeople. CRMs that include task management capabilities remove the hassle of toggling between different systems by streamlining workflow and making it easier to follow-up.
Core functionalities apart, salespeople, marketers and managers are of the consensus that CRMs should be simple and intuitive. They want a CRM that can deliver useful information quickly. The features of a CRM should come together to help stakeholders in the sales, marketing and business development process do their job effectively.
If your main goal for implementing a CRM is to make lead management effective and efficient, focus on features that meet three key lead management requirements:
- Capturing, qualifying and scoring leads
- Nurturing leads by connecting time-efficiently with many leads at a time
- Measuring lead conversion and identifying where leads are coming from
Further insights in the form of activities and histories for every lead, along with syncing of leads with all sent and received mail is useful in gaining a thorough context on every lead.