Lead management is one of the main reasons to employ Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. Not only can it help you make leads, but it can also track, develop, and turn them into sales. There are key areas you need to focus on, and there needs to be a plan in place, but once all is set, the sky is the limit. Here are some important things to keep in mind when using your CRM to help with lead management.

1. Store everything in the CRM immediately. To ensure nothing falls from side to side the cracks, make sure you enter any lead into your CRM right away and assign a person or task for it. Leads can come directly from CRM, but they can also come from person-to-person prospecting, the company website, or other non-CRM related means. In any case, it never hurts to have too much information, but it can hurt to have too little.

2. Get everyone on the same page. When leads come in, there needs to be a set plan as far as who gets what lead and why. Random assignments or a lack of direction can cause confusion, injustice, and even a duplicate call to the lead. Once this plan is set, you can automate CRM to assign tasks to the right sales rep. This will keep everyone happy and the company should be able to maximize its selling efforts.

3. Have sales reps use CRM to record everything. Recording every call, email, and conversation is the best way to maximize each opportunity, see who is doing what, and ensure your reps are working as they should. You can also automate trickles or other marketing campaigns based on the lead’s status. This also allows managers to better evaluate what the sales reps are doing to see what methods are effective and who is doing well.

4. Based on the level of interest, rank the leads as they come in. This might not be as important if you have enough sales reps to handle your leads, but prioritizing leads as they come in may make a big difference. You can do this based on the source (someone who went to your website would be a better lead than a third-party referral), their needs (a larger opportunity will be worth more time), or any other factor you deem important.

5. Run reports and searches based on an important criterion. Using the CRM reporting functions, you can manage the pipeline to expect sales and see how many opportunities are still out there for the taking. This is important for budgetary purposes as well as seeing if reps are successfully selling or not. It can also show you what lead sources are generating the most sales so you know where to invest and spend more time on.

6. Use the CRM to generate leads. Through email marketing and cold calling, you can use data you have in the CRM to send tailored messages or make calls to try and generate leads. In doing so, you can see how good the data you have is and what parts should be focused on, at least initially. Plus, leads you generate in your CRM are free, whereas third-party leads are paid for.