The idea of lead management is a particular aspect of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) that companies should consider in order to upgrade their marketing and sales toolkits if they want to grow their businesses in the digital age.
CRM lead management has to do with aggregating and nurturing individual leads for customer conversion and revenue goals. The idea is that a CRM lead management process takes your database of leads, evaluates them, segmenting on customer identifiers to nurture and turn out a set of more qualified leads that the sales team can act upon.
CRM lead management tools will take in data from many sources. They may mine direct mailing lists or email marketing lists. They may go into various customer databases, or get raw or processed data from a data warehouse. They may look at social media platforms and other digital venues, or evaluate hand-entered data representing written contact lists from trade shows or other events.
The tools will then evaluate various attributes (e.g. demographic, firmographic, behavioral) and evaluate the contacts. The idea is to try to pinpoint what makes a good lead, who will be a good potential customer, and how to sort these into targeted groups to send the right messaging to.
Benefits of CRM Lead Management Tools
CRM lead management has a variety of immediate benefits for businesses.
One of them has to do with effective use of business intelligence. Without CRM lead management, a lot of this data acquired through mailing lists, web forms or public networking is just sitting there doing nothing for the company. With the lead management tools applied, that data is becoming a very valuable asset, contributing to conversion and profit margins.
In general, CRM lead management also helps the business to know its audiences, the same way that other elements of a CRM software suite build relationships with individual customers.
The CRM lead management resources are taking some of those first steps in identifying which contacts merit further involvement. For example, a CRM lead management tool can take a list of people and figure out which ones have a need for the products and services being offered, so that other pieces of the CRM can focus on those of when documenting customer history or crafting special coupons, or whatever the marketing infrastructure is set up to do.
In a way, the benefits are related to not only optimized data use, but to the customer relationships in question. CRM lead management helps to really chart a course for marketing and sales activities, and, in the words of Gartner, “close the loop” between marketing and sales channels.
Leading CRM Lead Management Solutions
Here are some popular CRM lead management platforms getting a lot of attention from companies that are getting started in this promising type of enterprise assistance.
Marketo has been touted as the single most evolved CRM lead management source. Reviewers like the comprehensive functionality of this platform, as well as its ecosystem context and compatibility with other tools. Marketo is also acting aggressively in the CRM market, and many believe this will add to the evolution of its lead management functionality in the future.
Oracle Eloqua also gets high marks for CRM lead management, with many different types of analytics features that will help with B2B and B2C lead handling. Proponents also point to the company’s global branding and large technology community, as well as Oracle’s extensive portfolio of enterprise products housed in the Oracle Marketing Cloud.
The Salesforce Pardot tool also offers one of the leading options for CRM lead management. Again, much of the benefit of this product is in the context of the company’s portfolio, with other solutions like Salesforce Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud that can be attached as part of a larger corporate architecture. Various scoring models and an effective user interface are also elements that customers have praised about this system.
In addition to the above offerings, there are other top challengers in the CRM lead management market, as well as a growing number of CRM lead management tools that could be described as ‘niche’ tools with their own special features and functionality for certain types of businesses. As with other technology tools, CRM lead management tools can be customized by the size of a business or by industry.