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Sales Lead Management with CRM Software
by Mark Morton

CRM software is an important tool for sales management. It can help you ensure that sales leads are followed-up, pipelines are being managed and goals are being met. Regardless of the size of your sales team, a good CRM tool will pay dividends. You will be a better sales manager when your CRM tool delivers the right functionality and information.

So how should you utilize your CRM tool for sales management purposes? That is certainly a question that has a lot of possible responses, but let me give you some general guidelines that might help you as you consider the role of CRM in your sales environment.

First, usage cannot be an option. If CRM is important to improving your sales efforts it cannot be something that your reps can choose to do if they find time. It must become a part of your sales culture. However, I do think the more your CRM tool does to alleviate wasted time and admin tasks the more likely it will be embraced by your team. I recall working at IBM when a new sales management tool was being unveiled and it was getting resistance from the sales reps. That ended abruptly when executive management announced that closed deals not showing up in the sales management tool were no longer eligible for commission. When you have a tool that is flexible, yet informative and resourceful, usage should be a must.

Second, take integration as far as you can. With CRMTrak we continually look for ways to make data flow without manipulation or re-entry. I find that the less required of sales people in terms of data entry and management, the more likely our clients are to see the benefits they expect. In fact we do a lot of customization and private licensing to help our clients make integration a reality. The fewer touch points and the more opportunity for usefulness, the greater the benefits.

Third, give them some tools. Email marketing, to-do lists, call lists, etc. are all tools that salespeople find useful. By giving them more tools they can use, they are likely to make the CRM tools part of their every day sales activities.

Fourth, make your CRM software the sales lead starting gate. If all leads start there, are assigned there, and are reported on there, it will become a valuable resource. Do not send leads to your reps on paper, in Excel or via voicemail and expect them to wind up in your CRM tool. Make sure all leads are entered in the CRM tool and assigned from there. Web leads should automatically be inserted, leads from 3rd parties should be imported and call-ins should be entered in real time. Sales reps love leads, make sure they get them from the CRM tool.

I have been around enough sales managers and sales representatives in my career that I know the resistance and pitfalls that can occur. The better your planning and avoidance of creating work for your reps, the greater your chance of success.


About the Author

Mark Morton is president of Morton Marketing Inc. a leading technology and marketing services firm.

Mark has held executive level marketing positions with IBM, General Motors, and other companies.

He has successfully implemented CRM systems and is a driving force behind the development of CRMTrak.

Mark can be reached at