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Lead Management or CRM?

Posted on: August 3rd, 2012 by credit

Many businesses confuse lead management and CRM or customer relationship management thinking that they are the same. In effect, they also confuse their needs. Some are using lead management systems when what they really need is CRM and vice versa. Although the two systems may seem similar, it does not follow that one will work well with both lead management and CRM needs.

What is Lead Management?

A user-generated definition in Wikipedia says that lead management is “used to describe methodologies, systems, and practices designed to generate new potential business clientele, generally operated through a variety of marketing techniques.” Meanwhile, Rao Vallabhaneni in his book Corporate Management, Governance, and Ethics Best Practices defined the term as “the process of rapidly and effectively creating, nurturing, distributing, and analyzing leads. The ultimate goal is to increase the likelihood that a lead will convert to a qualified sale opportunity and then a new, satisfied customer.” Applying lead management now to dealership context, automotive lead management is the process of generating leads through various dealership marketing efforts and converting them into sales.

Automotive lead management systems, on the other hand, are the ones that automate monitoring, measurement, and all the management processes involved from the time a lead comes budding until when it blooms into a sale. These are tools, models, or software that make the process easier for dealerships and other businesses.

You need lead management systems to:

  • Contact leads fast. Leads grow cold quickly. Studies show that leads receiving a response within five minutes after they dropped their query in are most likely to turn into sales. Quick response time also give a dealership a higher customer satisfaction rating.
  • Speed up sales process. Lead management systems allow you to monitor the performances of the various lead generation techniques you are employing and improve those that appear ineffective. You can also track the status—needs follow-up, closed, or not yet contacted—of the leads and ensure that they are qualified.

What is CRM?

According to Samara Lynn of PCMag.com, CRM is a “strategic business tool that helps companies streamline their business processes…and can increase revenue by attracting and retaining customers…and shortening the time it takes to close a sales deal.” CRM systems focus on fostering your and your salespeople’s relationship with your dealership’s prospects and customers.

You need CRM systems to:

  • Build relationship with prospects. CRM systems make data collection easier. They also help your salespeople understand the needs of customers, which is essential in almost all sales approaches, and provide solution for them. This helps build trust and rapport with prospects and customers.
  • Foster customer loyalty. CRM systems help you serve your existing customers better, keep a record of customer complaints and resolve them, and modify sales and marketing approaches according to shifting customer behavior and needs.

Lead Management Techniques for Auto Dealers

Posted on: April 12th, 2012 by credit

There are two ways by which auto dealers can generate leads. One is through their own marketing efforts and the other is by hiring the services of a lead generation company like Approved Auto Leads. Auto dealers can generate quality leads by employing either or both ways. However, there are many of them who do not know how to handle leads well. They often end up failing to convert the leads they have obtained into sales. Auto dealers can reverse this cycle by coming up with a well-planned automotive lead management system which includes effective lead scoring, lead nurturing and lead distribution.

Auto dealers should build criteria for leads to know which ones are already sales ready. This is called lead scoring. It is also the phase in automotive lead management where the levels of interest of the leads to the services or products of a dealership are defined. This can be done by collecting demographic and behavioral information from the leads. Demographic information usually include the geographic location, company size or number of employees, job title or role, and company type or industry. On the other hand, behavioral information can be culled by observing the activities of leads through analyzing data such as number of pages viewed, number of forms filled out and submitted, emails opened, relevant keywords searched, and the like. The criteria and the definition of each category can be customized by an auto dealer according to his or her needs.

Lead nurturing is more than just keeping the leads interested. It must also be about building relationships with them. Auto dealers should understand that leads are not just prospects but also real people. They should be able to understand their needs and preferences, giving genuine advice and help, during the process of lead nurturing. The process mainly includes sending emails to all leads regularly and making phone calls to all leads in an auto dealer’s database. The goal of lead nurturing is to keep the leads’ knowledge of the auto dealership and to make it as one of the first options that a lead would consider checking out when he or she is ready to entertain sales representatives.

Lastly, when leads are already sales ready, auto dealers should now be able to make a smooth transition to turn the leads over to the sales team. This is called lead distribution. Auto dealers can smoothly turn over the task to sales reps by giving them complete details of all the leads and all the necessary information that the sales reps might be needing. Despite the turn over, auto dealers should still be hands on by keeping track of the leads’ statuses and supervising follow up activities. They should also have regular updates about the leads so they can modify their lead scoring and other automotive lead management techniques to more effectively manage leads in the future.

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