A leads management system today can't operate in a vacuum. It has to be integrated with the company's other systems so the data can flow back and forth. Apart from integration, the company will also need to allow for new marketing and communications channels like social media.
But these are broad themes, explored in detail further below. Let's start with the basic features an efficient leads management system needs to have. The first thing required is that it should be a centralized platform that can accept leads generated from all the major channels. This includes paid lists, online and email marketing, and other offline sources where every lead has to be entered manually.
So the interface has to be simple enough for anyone to use. The next step after the lead capture is distribution, which is where the software really pays off. Strong lead scoring capabilities are essential for a good lead managing software.
This means a lead needs to be pre-qualified and only the good ones are sent forward to the sales force. The factors that need to be looked at include the source's conversion ratio, and the lead's demographics, online behavior, and so on. If the lead looks like a likely prospect based on these factors, then it gets pushed out to the sales force ahead of the rest.
This can also be done with hot transfers, which is more like pre-screening to determine interest before the call is passed to the sales force. Either way, the point is to make sure the sales force only gets strong leads. This improves the lead to sale conversion rates, and improves the ROI for the company for specific marketing campaigns and sales teams.
This also means the leads management system will have to keep track of the distribution to specific users and groups, in order to make sure no one exceeds set limits. In this regard, managers can keep an eye on the numbers and should be able to override it manually, if necessary. The software should also help managers and the sales force with lead nurturing and tracking.
A big part of sales is about call-backs and sending scheduled notifications to a lead. It will really make a big difference if these notifications can be automated by the software, and the sales force is alerted if it's time for a call-back. Managers can oversee this process, but it will make their lives a lot easier if the software keeps track of it.
Lastly, the software needs to be able to support marketing analysis with detailed and accurate metrics. So every lead in the database should be tagged with its source, and the software should then be able to generate conversion reports separately for each channel. A comparison of these reports will easily show what's working and which channel is providing better ROI.
Then there is the integration capability discussed previously. One good example is where it has to pass on a converted lead as a customer to CRM, which is essential on many levels. It's hard to address these issues after purchasing a leads management system, so make sure it has all these features beforehand.