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Posted: 2006-10-31 / Author: Owen Andrew

What Is Lead Management: And How Do You Do It?

What is lead management: Lead management refers to the process by which a lead is created, qualified, analyzed, and distributed to sales and marketing divisions. Lead management is one if the most critical aspects in the success of sales; as such, best practices have been established for handling and converting leads into satisfied customers.

The first step a business takes in managing a lead is to identify the prime leads and route them automatically to the appropriate entity; this might range from a direct sales representative to a channel partner. This is one of the most important aspects of lead management and time is of the essence: a lead should be thoroughly qualified by the time a sales representative is assigned to them; if a cold or unqualified lead is passed through the pipeline, valuable time and resources are wasted. Thus the quality of the lead and where it's directed upon qualification are important factors. If it gets passed around a bunch or given to the wrong person, a qualified lead can cool; thus, making an effective, efficient, targeted trip down the pipeline is imperative to the success of the entire lead management operation.

The next stage of operations is wooing and nurturing the qualified leads, guiding them through the pipeline and turning them into paying customers. This practice is even easier now with advanced technology like Sales Force Automation and CRM, allowing leads to be passed quickly down the line without getting cold or lost. Ideally, every step of this process, from nurturing and guiding the lead, to readying them for purchase and tracking their preferences, should be logged in the company's CRM system. This allows any available representative to track a customer's history and status, and continue fostering them accordingly.

This technology can also aid in the third step: tracking the leads to closing and analyzing the ROI, or return on investment, of a company's online and offline marketing campaigns. Tracking leads can help a company pinpoint its strengths and weaknesses, as well as the overall preferences of the customers. This allows for increased growth and improvement within the company itself and its CRM system. Such improvements might include bettering a lagging product, targeting weaknesses in a pipeline, creating stronger marketing divisions, training better representatives, and much more.

After the leads have been tracked to closing, a business or corporation should focus on integrating outside channels, including strategic partners like value added resellers. They should also provide for offline customer management and services, such as call centers. These two steps together serve to cement the quality of customer service and increase the amount of incoming qualified leads.

Remember: with lead management, measuring and evaluating existing systems and programs is integral; reporting, post-campaign analysis, detailed strategies, informed representatives and teams of agents, lead qualification, tracking customer interests, readying them for service‚ÄĒall these aspects of lead management play a crucial role in determining a company's conversion ratio, the number of incoming new customers, the volume of new sales, and the satisfaction of happy customers.

About the Author: http://Salesforce.com is the world's first on-demand application service and a giant in the field of CRM. With over 24,000 customers, over 500,000 subscribers, and a 97% customer satisfaction rate, http://Salesforce.com continues to lead their field. To find out more about them, please visit http://www.salesforce.com.


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