Lead Management in Outlook
Wouldn’t it be great to manage leads right in Outlook, so your sales team can start working on them immediately in a familiar software tool? The one thing every lead management system does is send an email to the sales person to work the lead. The problem is sales works the lead from the email and never closes the loop on if the lead was effective or not. Prophet CRM is a great way to help you close the loop on the leads you generate while giving your sales team an easy to use system they will actually use. If your sales team uses Microsoft Outlook, then Prophet CRM lets you track your leads right in Outlook. It’s a great lead tracking software for your business. Interested in learning more about lead management? Find out what to look for in a solution, how to think about lead management, and what you’ll need to do in preparation for installation.
What is Lead Management?
Lead management, the process of targeting, capturing, processing, and qualifying leads for sales, is an essential role that organizations must master to continue growing their business. For companies that depend upon lead generation, the benefits of lead management software include the capability to categorize, analyze, and qualify leads before passing into a sales funnel. For sales people, it should track the relationship and interactions as a lead passes through the sales pipeline. And, once a lead becomes a customer, it also helps account management to nurture existing customer relationships over the entire customer lifecycle.
7 Things A Lead Management Solution Should Enable
1. Organizes Your Sales Team Around Lead Management
Lead tracking software should help you improve sales team effectiveness by organizing lead and customer information in a way that makes sense. It should help you track
progress without having to interrupt a sales rep, measure effectiveness, target what leads are working or not, and in the process store critical lead and customer data in a safe storage location, such as a CRM database.
2. Streamlines and Improves Your Lead and Sales Process
As you consider software to track all customer information, you will be forced to define and assess the most important parts of your current sales process. Before you decide which lead tracking software is right for you, ensure it has the features you need. Develop a repeatable, standardized sales process that can be followed by every sales team member. Ensure that your lead management software has the ability to follow custom workflows, and enables customization to match a sales process that works for you. As you progressively layer lead and customer information into the system, you should have the flexibility to change your existing sales process to meet your needs. While there are many lead tracking software options that allow you to perform different functions, you may need a higher level of customization for your company.
3. Ensures 100% User Adoption
A good lead management tool should work the way your sales team works. Consider what tools your sales team uses all day and develop a matrix of key things that would be nice for them to track without having to break the familiarity of their current toolset. One of the most common tools which salespeople use on a daily basis is Microsoft Outlook. If your sales team uses it, get them training on how to be more efficient and be wary of tools that force them to repeat tasks on a website or in another tool altogether. Test that the navigation is flexible and familiar for your sales team. Get their buy-in. See how many clicks they’re going to have to go through to create new information, fill in requests for information, or update a current record in the system. Also, take time to make sure that it has a user interface that is easy to see and use, so you don’t have to go through a variety of screens to get information when you need it.
4. Integrates Well with Microsoft Outlook and Other Systems
Make sure that the lead tracking software you are looking for will integrate easily into the systems that you already have. If you’re using Outlook, it’s a great idea to look for lead tracking software that works along with Outlook. Also look for the capability to tie other departmental components together, when needed, down the line.
5. Tracks How Well you are Managing Leads into Customers
A key consideration in choosing a lead management tool is the ability to manage contacts and companies after they are converted into prospects and customers. A good tool should provide a running history of interactions with a customer, including the source of a lead, the emails, meetings, and quotes sent to them, and intangible contact or company details that provide relevance and reference to relationship factors. Some of the information you might want to include in this section includes spousal names, kids names, birthdays and other representatives who work with the customer at that company.
6. Measures the Effectiveness of Leads both in terms of Quantity and Quality
Many companies have been led astray by thinking the most important factor in lead generation is quantity, but quality is often more important. Lead management must enable sales and marketing to segment the type of lead and determine those that can be consistently and effectively converted. Make sure your lead management solution can measure the effectiveness of each lead. You’ll be surprised at what the data tells you are the most effective leads. Can your lead system give you this insight?
7. Provides Actionable Insights into What Leads are Performing
Good lead tracking software should have some form of reporting and analytics. It’s important that you can easily generate reports to see how each sales rep is performing with their leads. Are they stuck in a particular phase of the sales cycle? Do they have the right ratio of leads open to closed? What is their projected commit and does this meet your revenue goals? Answering these questions, and others, will help you discern how your business is really doing.
3 Things to Avoid When Choosing a Lead Management Solution
1. Don’t Try to Everything at Once
When looking for a lead management or CRM solution, identify what it is you need to accomplish and choose a solution that cost effectively does just that. In our experience at Avidian, we have found that most customers don’t know what they want at the outset, beyond making more money, managing their team more effectively, tracking information in one place, and reporting on the results in a meaningful way. When considering a tool, keep it simple and don’t be lulled into false requirements that increase the cost, complexity, and implementation requirements. Focus on your sales team’s needs first, then look at secondary requirements from other organizations. it will help prevent the common issue of CRM failure.
2. Don’t Unintentionally Make it Too Hard to For Salespeople
Sales people are often categorized as hunters or gatherers, but regardless of the designation, they are NOT data-entry specialists. Avoid duplicate tools or web-based solutions that require them to re-enter their lead and other information after they have done their sales job during the day. This is the easiest path to CRM failure, and it’s more common than you think. In other words, keep lead management software integrated into tools they use all day. We cannot stress this enough: if you use Outlook, look for a solution that sits in Outlook and captures their activities right there.
3. Avoid Complex, Lengthy Integration Projects
The phrase “third party implementation” is often the death knell of any CRM or lead management project. Look for solutions where implementation, training, and installation is owned by the software vendor themselves. The quality, timeliness, and motivation for success should rest squarely on that company, not a reseller or VAR that defines success by the services revenue they can generate from you. Steer clear of consulting firms or 3rd party integrators that claim to know someone else’s tool, or you’ll end up wading through myriad forms, end user licensing agreements, phone calls, and emails just to determine who owns what part of your implementation. Make sure you have a single throat to choke for all aspects of the installation, implementation, maintenance, and support.