Too often companies focus primarily on trying to quickly close short-term leads, not taking the time or effort for appropriate sales lead management. Adopting a method for prospect development and lead nurturing throughout the sales process will yield greater dividends than trying to churn through short-term leads. Capitalizing on long-term leads is probably the best way to secure the future of your organization, not to mention to reap more return on marketing investment. And, that’s one very strong reason for using a CRM application like
The Concept of Lead Management in Dynamics CRM
Within Dynamics CRM, a lead is an unqualified business opportunity or potential relationship. Leads represent prospective customers that your sales representatives need to qualify or disqualify. Because lead records are not intended to be used for the long term, leads use a flat data structure in which the data about an individual and company resides in a single record. This makes the “Lead” entity of Dynamics the natural place to store them.
In addition, through the use of Leads, it is easy to capture most, if not all of the information that your business will need in the future for communicating with this potential customer. This makes “pushing” the data to other areas of Dynamics CRM far more efficient and seamless. It can also lead to deeper use for the Marketing Module, and Reporting Services which are organic to Dynamics CRM.
What is the value of implementing a Lead Qualification Process?
While the basic concept of lead management is easy to understand, here are some thoughts when implementing a process in Dynamics CRM:
1) Creation of Standards: Creating standards is often the most difficult part of business. How many times in a day do you ask yourself, “have we done this before?”, “can we take on this process?”, “what is the route to the most effective solution for the least amount of effort?”
Now ask yourself, how easy is it to answer these questions when your business is in a consistent position of “reinventing the wheel” each and every time? The obvious answer is…not that easy. Creating a standard operating procedure is the easiest way to eliminate this degree of “friction” from your business operations. Thinking through a standard process, as it relates to managing an encounter with a lead, can pay huge dividends in the future use of Dynamics CRM 2011.
2) Efficient Repetition: When a process is uniform, and the end users of Dynamics CRM adapt the process, they can only get better and better. Think of your favorite athlete for just a moment. They go to practice and perform their drills, the same way over and over. What is the purpose of this? Through all of that repetition, the athlete sharpens their skills to the highest possible level of performance. If we apply this view to the end users of Dynamics CRM, including sales, marketing staff, and customer service staff the result will be the same. Productivity will increase, the value of the data captured will be actionable, and in short, a more improved business culture will arise out of this application.
3) Reporting: Uniformity also ensures that the right data is being captured in the right place. If a process enables a business to capture a consistent set of data, then the results and the reporting, will also be uniform as well. What is the value of this? This will give you better insight into the state of the business and the ability to make more informed decisions.
4) Ease of Marketing: We have all heard the phrase, “garbage in, garbage out”. Establishing uniform practices when using Dynamics CRM 2011 eliminates the opportunity for “garbage” to enter the system in the first place. As with reporting, the uniform management of “Leads” will also provide a more manageable and streamlined process for marketing and communicating with leads in the sales pipeline.
In the end, we are all in business to make money. Taking into account of the observations offered above, using Dynamics CRM with an effective lead management process will result in a more nimble, efficient, and productive company. Are you interested in learning how your organization can benefit from a CRM solution?
By Mike Moran,