Customer Relationship Management is the bane of most senior executives’ existence. It has been preached as the silver bullet for most of their careers, but is rarely executed. Why do 90% of these implementations fail? Why does sales hate every system? Why does marketing work around it? The answer is simple–we don’t start with a Customer or a Relationship!
CRM Needs a Little Lead Management
Sales people spend the majority of their productive lives generating and cultivating prospects. The good ones spend the balance of their efforts turning them into life long relationship buyers. Unfortunately, the software that is built for them is deficient. And the deficiency is cleverly hidden in the name–Customer Relationship Management.
What helps them manage their efforts in Prospect Management or Customer Acquisition? Prevailing practice would reveal notepads, spreadsheets, and sticky notes. Not a formula for the GTD (Getting Things Done) lifestyle.
There is an alternative–Lead Management. Smart sales organizations are watching their sales pipelines bulge and their pull-through rates launch with the implementation of simple lead management processes and software.
What Does Lead Management Do?
A lead management system should become the nerve center of your sales force. It is the brains and urgency of a high performance sales team. Whether your are a centralized call center or a distributed retail operation, lead management can return a WOW experience to your customers. Yet, removing all of the pipeline headaches and manual reporting from your sales agents.
Lead management is the process from customer inquiry to closed deal. It has the power to capture inquiries, distribute leads, and drive pipeline management until a deal closes.
A system to manage leads also affords the complexity to nurture leads that are non-responsive or premature to a buying decision. This lead nurturing process, which is only recently drawing attention, is demonstrating remarkable marketing ROI lifts over extended campaigns.
Key Lead Management Processes
The life cycle of a lead from inquiry to customer seems simple enough, but this has been the Achilles Heel of CRM. Sales has been so dogmatic to preserve the perceived Art of the Sale that much of the magic, and sweat, that goes into cultivating a purchase order is lost. A capable sales closer typically runs a tight process of contact and follow-up loops over extended periods of time to bring the deal in. Some of the key components of this lead management life cycle include the following phases–
- Lead Generation: The processes and marketing means that produces both leads and referrals
- Lead Capture: The processes of acquiring and securing customer inquiries from a variety of sources
- Lead Distribution: Any of a myriad of concepts for getting the right lead, to the right agent, at the right time
- Lead Nurturing: Cultivating a value-first relationship with a prospective client in hopes of generating a future purchase
- Lead Reporting: Performance metrics and analytics that help you spot opportunities and pitfalls. Maximizing the former and minimizing the latter can obviously take you to the top
What Do I Do With My CRM Software?
Millions of dollars later and hundreds of man-hours sunk into your existing CRM system may make scrapping your current CRM unbearable. So, don’t. Most CRM systems can make very capable client loyalty systems for ongoing relationship building. As a result these systems can become excellent former and current client referral and lead generation platforms.