Most businesses carry out some degree of marketing to create sales leads. However, after spending much time and effort generating new enquiries, what happens to them next?

Unfortunately, enquiries sometimes get lost in the marketing and sales process. So how do you ensure the lead is followed up, tracked and managed efficiently?

Modern CRM software such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Sage CRM, as well as integrated solutions such as Sage 200 and Microsoft Dynamics NAV provide a structure and a process for completing tasks. They also provide a method of control in the form of a leads management section.

Leads Management within CRM provides a structured way to respond, track and process incoming enquires. It ensures that no leads fall through the net and that your business maximises every opportunity.

What is a lead?

There are various definitions of what a lead is, and this is completely dependent on the organisation. For some, a lead is the contact details of a person in another company. For others, it is a contact who has expressed a specific interest in a product or service which the organisation provides. Most CRM systems have a lead management section straight out of the box. And in many instances it can be highly configured to meet precise requirements. So how does it work? Here's a typical example of how lead management within a CRM system works with little or no configuration.

The first step is to enter the lead into the CRM system. In this section, you will enter the company name and a description of requirements. There are also fields where you can enter the source of the lead and the campaign associated with it. The relevant campaign activity and source will usually be in the system, before entering the lead. These fields make it easier to analyse the relative success of a marketing campaign.

The next step is to complete the contacts details, this will typically include: the contacts name, company name, address, phone number and email address. Once all fields are complete, you simply save the lead.

Once the lead details are saved, the management and tracking begins. From point of entry, the lead process can be customised to meet the requirements of your organisation. For example, you could rank the leads in terms of quality based on a number of factors to produce an overall score. Once a lead has a rank it will the sales team to prioritise the leads; obviously the ones with the highest ranks are priority leads. In addition you can customise the system so that when a lead is entered it automatically sends an email other staff in the company, to inform them a new lead has been created.


The next stage is to contact the lead. This is normally in the form of an e-mail (which can be manual or automated), but could be a note to send a direct mail, or to make a call. Within most CRM software you can create e-mail templates, providing you with readymade responses for leads from certain sources. If there isn't an e-mail template for a lead, you simply compose one as you would within Outlook. When an e-mail has been sent, the communications section of the lead will automatically update.

If you choose to schedule a call or direct mail, this will appear in the tracking of the lead, and will remain there until it has been actioned.

You can then assign the lead, tasks and responsibility to one or a number of individuals within your organisation. Once assigned, the communications tracking note will appear in either the individual or team workflow.

The tracking system within CRM means that if for example telemarketer 1 can't get in touch with a lead, they can reassign the lead to telemarketer 2 who will them have the relevant tasks appear in their workflow. In addition, the person responsible for the lead will be notified each time they have a task to complete.

Once a telemarketer has contacted a lead, they will need to update their workflow and complete the task which was assigned to them, whether it was a call, an email or a direct mail. The next steps will depend on the level of customisation of the system, however you could then go onto rate the lead. Typically this would be done by the telemarketer and the lead will be ranked according to the size of the project there is. If there is a large project, this will be rated A. If the there is small project it will be rated B. If there isn't an active project, but it is worth keeping in touch with the lead, they will be rated C. If there is no project at all it will be rated D.


After a lead has been entered into the CRM system, you can then create reports which make it easy to analyse the progress of the lead. For example, you could run a report on the number of leads generated from a specific marketing campaign. This will enable the Marketing Manager to identify the campaigns which have been successful and those which have not done so well - this will help with future allocation of budgets. You could also run reports on leads which have been rated. For example, you could run a report to identify all leads which have been converted to C. With the reporting tool, you can run reports on any number of search criteria.

Promotion to Opportunity

Once a lead has been contacted, the telemarketer will usually either confirm that there's a valid project there, or they will rule the company out as unsuitable.

Ultimately a lead will either be closed, if there is no potential , or converted to a Qualified Sales Opportunity (QSO).

Once converted to a QSO, a lead moves out of the marketing workflow and becomes part of the sales workflow.


The leads system within CRM keeps all leads in one centralised location. This means that all staff will have access to the same information, improving employee knowledge. What's more, managers can run reports on how successful marketing campaigns have been and how effectively the sales team have reacted to an enquiry.

Essentially, the leads system with CRM heightens the efficiency, effectiveness and ultimately the profitability of a sales team.

For more information about CRM or to arrange a free demonstration, please do not hesitate to contact TSG.