In today’s economy, it’s critical that all leads are followed-up appropriately, nurtured along until they are ready to buy, and then efficiently handed over to your sales team to close. According to the Sales Lead Management Association (SLMA), 69% of small businesses fail to qualify leads before giving them to their salespeople which certainly seems to explain the common sales persons complaint about poor leads that are not ready to buy!
There are a number of new vendors with really exciting tools for lead management (or as some call it – marketing automation, lead nurturing, drip marketing, stay-in-touch marketing, etc.). All of them can run independently or as an add-on app that conveniently integrates with salesforce.com (SFDC).
Most marketing automation tools now include the following features;
- Integration with popular CRM solutions (SFDC, Outlook, etc)
- Email marketing and templates
- Landing page builder
- Web sign-up forms
- Website visitor tracking
- Lead scoring (email opens, web visits, downloads, etc)
- Assignment rules and work-flows
Eloqua – Probably the biggest player in the field but seems to target Enterprise class companies. Includes both lead generation and lead management tools.
Marketo – Full-featured solution for Enterprise and SMBs. Website also includes a lot of useful resources.
Pardot – New solution targeting SMBs. Also integrates with Google (analytics and adwords), Jigsaw, and LinkedIn.
LeadMaster – Easy-to-use and cost-effective tool targeting smaller businesses. Includes all the features that most small businesses need.
If your business has been around awhile then your probably have plenty of leads (i.e. current customers, past customers, lost business, trade-show attendees, purchased lists, etc) and could benefit from a well thought-out lead management strategy.
Many believe it takes 7 or 8 ‘touches’ with a prospect before they ever buy from you but in the current economy some are saying it can now take 20!
It certainly seems like all businesses can benefit from staying in touch with potential prospects. Providing them with useful and relevant information, in a timely manner, is the goal so when they are ready to buy, they buy from you!
– Steve (www.SPMsolutions.NET)