What Is Lead Management Software?
Every sales lead is an open door to an opportunity to generate revenue. Yet few companies have the processes and tools in place to ensure that each and every lead generated is contacted in a timely fashion, and handled in a way that is most likely to result in a signed order. In fact, a recent post on a popular B2B lead generation blog cites studies that prove that nearly 70 percent of marketing-generated leads are never pursued by sales reps.
Leads go cold very quickly, and those that are not followed-up on in an efficient and effective manner can waste billions of dollars in marketing funds, and cost companies even more in terms of income, growth, and market share.
What is Lead Management Software?
Lead management is an important business discipline that combines processes and techniques with systems and technologies to enable the effective generation, management, and tracking of new sales opportunities. Lead management software packages are powerful solutions that automate and enhance the many inconsistent, inefficient, and error-prone manual processes involved in the acquisition and handling of leads throughout their lifecycle.
Key Benefits for Your Company
Lead management software delivers significant advantages to companies of all types and sizes. Whether a business generates 500 leads a year – or 5000 – lead management software can help increase the chances for success. Some of the key benefits include:
- Accelerated acquisition and routing, so all leads are followed up in the timeliest manner possible
- Improved visibility into all lead histories, so all outreach and interactions are more informed and more intelligent
- Elimination of the mishandled opportunities that result in lost revenues and market share
- Greater insight into where leads come from, how they are best managed, and how well they perform, so programs and processes can be restructured to maximize effectiveness
- Increased efficiency of sales and marketing staff through a dramatic reduction in manual tasks and activities
- The ability to implement best practices across all sales channels
Does My Company Need Lead Management Software?
Competition is at an all time high across all industry sectors. Finding and attracting new customers is harder – and takes longer – than ever before. Marketing campaigns and promotions are just the first step. In order to fully leverage each and every sales opportunity that arises, companies must effectively nurture all leads until prospects are ready to buy. Otherwise, vital business opportunities – and the revenue that they bring – will be lost.
Lead management software ensures that all potential clients are followed up on and cultivated in a timely, consistent fashion. This will result in higher close rates, improved return on marketing investment, and increased revenue and market share. For example, statistics show that follow-up phone calls to respondents can generate threefold improvements in direct mail conversions.
Key Features of Lead Management Software
A lead management software package empowers sales and marketing professionals with a wide variety of tools to enhance the way leads are acquired, shared, handled, and tracked. Key capabilities include:
- Dynamic lead capture, so vital contact information can be collected from the Web, email, or any other integrated marketing channel
- Seamless import of existing prospect lists from a variety of formats, with de-duping features to avoid repeat contact entries
- Automated lead routing and assignment, based on specific pre-defined criteria (i.e. geography, industry, product of interest, etc.)
- End-to-end monitoring of all lead activities, including campaigns sent/responded to, phone calls, and sales visits
- Ongoing nurturing of leads that are qualified, but not quite ready to close, through automatic email distribution and frequent reminders/prompts for scheduled outreach
- Comprehensive acquisition and conversion statistics, so the quality and viability of leads, and the sources they were obtained from, can be assessed throughout their lifecycle
- Performance measurement that allows for tracking of campaign ROI, close rates, and other key metrics
- Ad hoc analysis, to help uncover vital trends and patterns in lead handling, and identify the factors that impact successful – and unsuccessful – deals
- Advanced security, to ensure that sales reps see only the leads that fall under their territory/area of responsibility
What to Look for When Choosing Lead Management Software
Some – but not all – lead management software providers have formed partnerships with lead brokers and aggregators. By choosing a vendor who has developed these kinds of strategic alliances, companies can leverage a consistent flow of updated, accurate, fresh leads.
Support for Multiple Sales Channels
Few companies today follow a direct sales-only model. Many act as OEMs, or have reseller agreements in place. Therefore, they require a solution that can route leads to the representatives who oversee their third-party sales channels, and provide real-time tracking as leads move through the various phases of the sales cycle.
Lead management technologies are only as good as the processes they enable. Only the world-class lead management vendors provide the ability to implement and enforce best practices in qualification, routing, correspondence, and other critical lead handling procedures.