It's always an interesting conundrum when determining how to most effectively manage your customer relationships. In a recent article by Bob Sullivan of InfoGrow, he discusses how companies are determining that marketing should be the keepers of customer data and lead management systems and strategies. It just makes good business sense. In working with our clients, we've heard some horror stories from both sales and marketing on lead management. The funny thing is that it takes a lot of work from both parties to bring on new customers. It behooves everyone to come up with the most efficient system that assists everyone in doing a better job of managing those important customer relationships.
Here's what we've experienced: Sales thinks that marketing doesn't always provide the bests leads, and in response, they work only those leads that they determine are "hot," leaving others to get lost in a proverbial black hole. Marketing works hard to feed the very best prospects to sales and gets annoyed when sales doesn't want to work them -- plus, they never get feedback on the leads from sales (because they don't work them), or the feedback that they get is something along the lines of "we need some better leads -- these leads are bunk (or some other expletive)." So, it becomes a vicious cycle as marketing continues to provide the same leads to sales, sales doesn't work them, no reporting occurs to determine campaign effectiveness -- as you can imagine, not the best environment for a win-win situation!
Sullivan reports that some companies are now letting marketing own this process. "Often marketing has the need, interest and time. As a result, marketing departments are taking ownership of the CRM database. They are bringing sales reps into the system and monitoring the usage to close the loop on the lead generation process. Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are monitored by marketing and reported to management."
The informations that then comes back out of marketing is imperative to understanding your prospective customer relationships. According to Sullivan, here's a smattering of the value that these reports provide:
- Lead generation source – tradeshow, website, mailing, ad, etc.
- Where assigned, such as distributor or rep – number of days to follow-up or assigned elsewhere
- Status update – what did rep or distributor do with the lead
- Status tracking – hot lead, warm lead, bad lead, sale, or don’t know
- Which follow-up activities, lead sources, conversions, and next actions work
Bridging this gap between sales and marketing leads to overall profitability for your company. We think that by allowing marketing to do their job -- manage customer relationships -- that sales will be able to their job better as well -- bringing in new business. In essence, you are creating a win-win scenario for your customers and your company. Now, that's effective customer relationship management!
If you're as passionate about this subject as we are, you may want to take a look at our whitepaper on Performance Based Marketing and Goal Setting. From a marketing perspective, this document provides some ideas on how to effectively provide feedback on the effectiveness of all of your marketing campaigns to ensure that the lines of communication between marketing and sales, marketing and leadership, and marketing and finance are wide open.