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Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and lead management platforms are frequently confused with one another. Both are instrumental in helping a business to manage and deal with customers and are seen as important tools for businesses that deal with high volumes of customers, calls and enquiries.

However, it is important to understand the differences between them, as they can benefit your business in different ways and at different times.

How they work

CRM and lead management software both help businesses to manage their customers. However, they focus on different aspects of this.

A lead management system will:

  • Manage the intake of leads from multiple sources
  • Focus on the person (consumer) as the lead record
  • Are designed for the rapid turnaround of leads to sales
  • Assess and value leads
  • Filter leads and pass to right teams
  • Track lead progress
  • Prioritise leads
  • Apply automated workflows to nurture leads through the process
  • Allow agents to contact the lead at the click of a button

CRM systems on the other hand:

  • Offer a typical company/employee type hierarchy
  • Focus on long-term sales
  • Are typically used beyond the initial sale for customer retention and contact
  • Help provide ongoing customer service

Both systems provide information and insight to sales teams, while keeping all the data that you need to track and manage interactions with leads and customers in one secure place. This helps to ensure that you send the right communication and messaging to the right people. This could either be in order to help convert a lead to a sale or to highlight a potentially beneficial new service to an existing customer, for instance.

They both exist as distinct parts of one larger sales process. However, they each operate at different points within it.

Where they sit in a sales process

Your lead management and customer retention is a large, interconnected process. Specialised toolsets can help to streamline different elements of it, though it is vital that you understand where those different toolsets are going to be at their most useful and effective.

Lead management tends to be what comes first in the sales process. The leads make contact, they are assessed, and they are moved along to the right person or team to help that lead progress.

Think of lead management as what helps to take a lead through to being a customer.

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Your lead management and customer retention is a large, interconnected process. Specialised toolsets can help to streamline different elements of it, though it is vital that you understand where those different toolsets are going to be at their most useful and effective.

Customer relationship management is the next step in that process. You already have a converted sale, so now the system focuses on retaining that customer, guiding and encouraging them to return to your business again and again. This is usually through a combination of manual effort and automated direct marketing.

Lead generation helps to establish the relationship with a customer, while a CRM maintains that relationship going forward.

How they benefit a business

The two systems, working in tandem, allow a business to streamline their lead generation, and their sales and customer management services.

Lead management helps businesses to classify and prioritise leads, helping to put the right leads in front of the right people to maximise their chances of converting into sales.

CRM systems allow you to retain a level of contact with a customer and provide the level of ongoing service necessary to help customers to choose to work with you over your competitors.

Helping you to track and prioritise leads effectively

Turning a lead into a customer is one part of a larger sales and customer retention process within a business.

Understanding the value of each potential lead and filtering them to the right people to help them convert is important to any business’s long-term success.

FLG’s dedicated software can help make lead management easier to handle, which, in turn, helps your team focus their efforts on the best possible leads to track and pursue. Our toolset can:

  • Efficiently process leads to help a team follow up and achieve more sales
  • Integrate with other software platforms, including Trello, MailChimp, Quickbooks, and Campaign Monitor
  • Use powerful workflows to automate call centre sales processes

If you’d like to learn more about FLG and how it can integrate with the rest of your business, take a look at our Flow XO for Workflow page.

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