How to Evaluate the Right Lead Management Software for Sales Teams

A lead management software is a tool dedicated to capturing and handling leads while providing your sales team greater control over the sales pipeline. Evaluating the right lead management software for sales teams can get tricky, but it’s of upmost importance to ensure your sales reps are getting the right tool to actually increase conversions.

Companies depend on a constant stream of leads, especially in the B2B industry. Leads show an interest in your product and potentially could become customers of yours. They make up your upcoming revenue and it is your sales team’s job to handle them on a daily basis. But at some point, as your business grows, Excel sheets or limited software your sales team uses is unable to cope with the scale. Your team can no longer manage leads properly and equally. They can no longer give them the attention they need, and things begin to fall through the cracks and mistakes happen.

That’s where lead management software comes in.

What is Lead Management?

Nowadays, lead management is defined as the process of capturing leads, tracking their activities, qualifying and engaging with them.

Let’s take a look at the main benefits for any company using lead management software:

Benefits of Lead Management Software

  • Talk to the Right Leads

Using a lead management tool, your sales team can focus on the deals that matter and thereby maximize sales opportunities. If you make the right call at the right moment when leads show interest in your product you will have a much better chance of converting them than with cold calling techniques.

  • Engage with Information

Sales reps can get a clear picture of the main issues facing your leads and how to best answer it. The goal is to improve the quality of conversations by having the right information at hand. If they have the proper background, know how often their leads use your product or service, they will have an advantage.

  • Shorten Response Time

With the proper scheduled follow-ups, you never miss the next action. It also shows potential customers that your sales team can handle their business well. You can reach out to leads via phone, email and get immediate context about their buying intentions, provide a clear answer to the challenges they’re facing and in all likelihood increase your chances of making a sale.  

  • Increase your Conversion Rate

A proper lead management system can help prioritize and assign the right leads to the right sales rep, reducing pipeline leakage and enabling them to do what they do best—sell! For instance, a tough but potentially big customer might be better handled by an experienced sales rep whereas a smaller customer with less needs can be managed by a junior rep.

  • Raise Accountability

Lead management processes aid in accountability along every step of the sales process. By generating the right reports, you can get insights into data such as the territories generating the most leads, the response time of each sales rep, etc.

There’s plenty of options in the market, and their offers can vary substantially. You need to find a good match for your company needs. To help you out, there are a few questions you can ask to get a better idea of what you actually need.

1. What Type of Software Do I Need?

First of all, we should take note that there are actually 4 distinct kinds of lead management software: ERP systems, CRM systems, marketing automation systems, and now dedicated lead management solutions. Each has a focus that may or may not be advantageous for your business; you may find yourself needing to combine software. However, integrations can get tricky when you don’t have an in-house tech team.

A) Enterprise Resource Planning Systems

  • ERPs aim to integrate all of a company’s software and applications into a single database to make a company’s processes more effective and efficient.
  • All the company business is hosted on one tool from the supply chain, to HR or sales.
  • Some integrate their lead management systems with their ERP system and others integrate a third party solution using a lead management module.
  • This kind of technology is particularly useful in interdependent systems, like supply chains.
  • They are very expensive and complex to run since they centralize a lot of the company’s processes.

B) Marketing Automation Software

  • Marketing automation also handles a lot of data. They are the ERPs of marketing.
  • They are geared toward digital marketing, tracking every interaction a lead has with your website and storing it in data warehouses.
  • They provide a whole range of marketing features, landing page creation, blog management, and reporting tools.
  • They are often lacking in sales tools and sales teams are often frustrated by their complexity.

C) Customer Relationship Management System

  • CRMs have tools which include sales force management, a sales funnel, and performance metrics tracking, allowing you to qualify leads at multiple contact points with the use of filters and data.
  • Having access to a lot of customer information in one solution, companies can personalize the way they engage with their customers.
  • CRMs can be split into two categories:
    • Enterprise CRMs for large companies. They tend to overlap with ERPs and provide a whole range of customization options at a cost. They manage customer information which can be used by anyone in your company, whether they are accountants or sales reps.
    • An offshoot of CRMs, dedicated to sales team, that now exists:

D) Lead Management Software

Sales CRMs or Lead Management Software. They focus only on the sales part and provide direct tools for sales such as prospecting lists, lead creation tools, visual pipelines, and more. Much cheaper and easier to use, they focus on one role, helping sales close leads.

2. What Is My Short and Long-Term Budget?

The type of software you choose has a major impact on the cost. Monthly prices can range from the single digit to hundreds of dollars per month for specific features, not counting the customization options with recurring fees and consultants. It is important to examine ongoing costs as well as upfront ones when comparing your options. Unsurprisingly, a system with more features will come at a higher cost. You may be tempted to choose a free application— these exist– but they are usually extremely limited.

Speaking of customization, that’s something worth looking into as every business is different.   

3. How User-Friendly, Automated, and Customizable Is It?

Most of the time, it’s either a streamlined UX with fewer options or a fully customized solution with the issue of feature-creep. One can be easily adopted by your sales reps while the other might be what your sales managers or marketing team want to better report on performance. You may decide to hire a consultant to help you maximize the capabilities of your system, but keep in mind that in order for your tool to provide value, it should be easy enough to be used by anyone in yours sales team.

4. What Industry is the System Built For?

Some CRM systems are sometimes industry-specific and provide a better range of options for a business in the construction industry for instance. Some industries also have fairly strict standards and that has consequences on the software they use.

This is also related to the countries you do your business in. Some might enforce a certain set of rules or standards that apply in their country. For instance, the EU has set new rules regarding data privacy with the GDPR. A balance may be needed, you might want to bridge a user-friendly software for your sales team with your custom-built ERPs. That brings us to the next topic.

5. Will it Play Nice With Others?

You probably will end up using different software but they have to be able to interact with each other. Your lead management software probably has to integrate with your CRM or your Customer Success software. Take into account resources beyond the ones you use on a daily basis such as spreadsheets or slides that you might also need to connect to your software, including:

  • Your website and specifically website forms, from which new leads are generated
  • Accounting software to create invoices and estimates
  • Other applications like e-marketing software and card scanners

Take the time to determine which of your existing systems will be compatible with the software to save yourself money, time, and a number of headaches. There is no perfect solution but with a tool fitting their needs, you may find your sales team performing better and converting more deals.