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Lead management is a means by which a company generates and utilizes potential sales leads as effectively as possible, in an effort to produce more sales. This type of management can include different employees and methodologies, including upper level management and sales staff. Though different systems can be utilized, proper management of leads often involves several steps and processes, including advertising for lead generation, lead capture and integration, lead distribution, and lead nurturing. Lead management has recently come to involve various forms of technology as well, especially in sharing and distributing leads within and between companies.
The term “lead management” refers to sales leads, which are the contact information for potential customers available to a business. This information can be gathered in many ways, and generating possible leads through commercials, advertising, and “cold calling” is often the first step in lead management. As potential customers respond, information about them is recorded and used to capture leads, and this information is then included as part of a list of leads during lead integration. These methods can vary among businesses and the preferences of managers at different companies.
Once the leads have been generated and organized, then a process known as lead scoring is typically used to determine which leads are worthwhile. This can include everything from verifying the accuracy of names, addresses, and telephone numbers to running credit checks on potentially lucrative leads to rate the importance of these customers. Lead management uses this type of lead scoring to provide better leads with more accurate information to sales staff through lead distribution. While this was once done through a “push” method in which leads were sent from the top down, many companies now use a “pull” method in which leads can be requested from a database by sales staff.
After the leads have been distributed to sales staff, then lead management typically involves the salespeople making contact with the leads. The process from initial contact to closing a sale can vary quite a bit, depending on the preferred selling techniques of the sales staff. It usually involves lead tracking and lead nurturing, which refer to the processes of maintaining correct information about leads and building a relationship with a lead that can result in a sale. Proper lead management involves numerous levels of employees within a company and effectively impacts the entire revenue process from advertising and marketing to closing a sale.