B2B Lead Management Market Heats Up

Lauraramos [Posted by Laura Ramos]

Since the start of this year, I’ve been receiving a boatload of briefing requests from companies wanting to show me their lead generation and management solutions.  Most recently, Marketo just announced their lead management solution. While honored, I also find reviewing these solutions confusing because there is a lot of variation in the product presentations and overlap between categories.  And it’s not clear to me if lead management automation deserves to be a separate category or to be subsumed as part of the broader marketing platform. (I know Suresh Vittal includes lead management as a component of his enterprise marketing platform. But does the B2B need the same platform components as B2C?) Here’s how I see it and I’d like to hear your views as well.

There are four primary buckets of technology solutions aimed at solving the “how do I make lead generation activities more effective?” problem:

1) Web analytics – typically the stronghold of companies like Coremetrics, Omniture, and WebTrends, the analytics area bleeds over into lead management as companies go online to generate demand.  Many of the marketing automation companies have added some fairly sophisticated analytics to monitor prospect’s online behavior and help marketers qualify and score them based on Web site visits, registrations, and downloads.

2) Database services – powerhouses like Dun&Bradstreet, Harte-Hanks, Acxiom, Equifax, infoUSA, and Merkle dominate this category, but B2B marketers tend to think of them more as list generators than providers of a broad spectrum of strategic data management to direct mail execution. My point: B2B marketers are looking elsewhere for help generating demand.

3) Marketing automation – lead by firms like Aprimo, Unica, Oracle/Siebel and SAS, this category is at the core of what Forrester calls the Marketing Technology Backbone.  The problem is: these platforms are heavy on campaign design, execution, and reporting and light on lead management.

4) “Pure play” lead management – this group is lead by Eloqua, but there are a LOT of firms throwing their hat into this ring including Vtrenz, Hubspot, Manticore, Market2Lead, Marketo, LoopFuse, einsof, iHance, Precience, among many others. (That I’m sure to hear about them since I know I’ve missed adding many to this list.)

Here’s the problem. There are at least 4 amorphous groups of solution providers also setting their sights on this space:

1) Lead generation services or tools – Because this category contains both service providers (that look more like agencies or telesales outsourcers) and software as a service vendors, there are probably more than I could possibly name.  Recently, I’ve heard from companies like Bulldog Solutions, InsideView, Jigsaw, netFactor, Reachforce, PointClear, Genius, Leads360, among others. Folks, at less than 20 employees, many of you look more like boutique agencies than true technology providers. Positioning yourselves as “lead management” does not help differentiate what you REALLY do.

2) Email services – Julie Katz at Forrester writes about this group.  The lead management vendors are developing one-to-one email capabilities that help sales people be more consistent and productive.  In B2B, it’s not about batch-and-blast acquisition as much as it is about using email to continue a conversation.

3) Search engine marketing services providers – Shar VanBoskirk covers this market, but I’ve found companies like Reprise Media, IMPAQT, iCrossing and iProspect doing a lot more to help B2B marketers understand how to turn search optimization or paid clicks into qualified leads. Tools that analyze who’s clicking – and help B2B marketers make heads or tails out of Google’s analytics – are bleeding over into the lead management space.

4) Online portals – I know, this is a broad category.  But I’m thinking about firms like Business.com, TechTarget, Buyerzone, and a ton of others who syndicate content, host catalogs, attract eyeballs, and offer to “sell” these leads.

Whew!  Lots of stuff, huh? So here’s the two big questions:  When do you use which? (or a combination of the choices?) And will the lead management market continue to grow in addition to – or despite – the plethora of offerings hovering around it?

My bet is on lead management growth because B2B marketers need to fully embrace online marketing as their primary way to engage and educate buyers. They need a platform that fits together with their CRM/SFA systems but separately helps them to identify and sort the best leads from the rest and to nurture those not yet ready to buy.  B2B marketers also need systems that help them align sales activity and marketing messages, monitor marketing’s impact on the pipeline, and close the loop on closed deals.  I think the lead management platforms hit directly on these problems and will shift marketing’s role from filling the pipeline to managing the customer lifecycle.

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Comments

re: B2B Lead Management Market Heats Up

Laura -- Well said! There are at least 100,000 B2B companies that could use this type of solution, yet across all the lead management vendors mentioned there are less than 1,000 customers total. This market has a lot of growth ahead of it!

re: B2B Lead Management Market Heats Up

This is a great overview of this amorphous, evolving, dynamic space. Emphasis on "dynamic." B2B lead marketing is evolving incredibly fast, much more due to the changing expectations and behaviors of purchasers than because of proactive innovation by marketers. So, there are a lot of resources going into trying to figure out "the formula" at the same time that the underlying chemistry is changing. Exciting times.At the same time, some of what is going on when it comes to different types of companies encroaching on the territory traditionally owned by other types of companies is not new -- it's basic "broaden the market" economics at work.As an example: marketing automation tools like Eloqua, and web analytics tools like Omniture and WebTrends, work from the same fundamental data source: Javascript-based page tags on web pages. Now, the former type of tool has traditionally (and it's a brief tradition!) been geared towards *processes* -- they take the page tag data and tie it to individual people so that they can communicate with those people directly and effectively. Web analytics packages, on the other hand, have traditionally focussed on the *content* and *aggregate behavior* -- looking for patterns of how people use a site, but not really caring about the identification of specific people.A light bulb went off in the world of web analytics vendors a few years ago -- "Hey, we could track individuals and start playing in that operational process space. We can broaden our available market." The reverse has not happened as much -- Eloqua's Marketing materials claim they have "web analytics," but it's pretty rudimentary stuff, and I don't think they are planning to ever really go after a true web analytics offering.My money is on the continued evolution of all of these types of tools and services. That's a much better bet than a company that tries to do it all, which will result in unusable, ineffective bloatware.

re: B2B Lead Management Market Heats Up

Tim, thanks for the comments. (And say 'hi' to Rob and the rest of the Bulldog folks for me.)Your example of the differences between analytics tied to an individual's online behavior and analytics that monitor aggregate activity is exactly what worries me. While called "web analytics" in both cases, the capabilities are not the same, nor are they intended to be. Rather than try to refine the definition, I challenge providers to think about how to talk about and demonstrate their unique differences in ways that are more compelling to business users than just overlapping tech-talk.The online medium gives plenty of new opportunity - video, rich interative demos, comparator tools, etc. -- to SHOW the differences, features and benefits rather than talk about them in general terms -- like "Web analytics." My bigger point -- is this about broadening the market or casting about to find the right combination of capabilites that solves the maximum amount of maketing practioner pain?Just to be contrarian (I'm an analyst, forgive me), my money is on the firms who find more engaging ways to demonstrate the unique value of their tools/services AND get their customers to advocate using similar voices and consistent themes. Again, thanks for the dialogue.

re: B2B Lead Management Market Heats Up

I think you're putting your money in the right place -- on companies that can clearly articulate what they do and why...and with a "glossary" that sticks and resonates.The tools/technology area seems like it's farther along on that front than the services/solutions area (despite my web analytics example), IMHO.The good news? Plenty of good blog fodder for analysts for the foreseeable future -- this whole area can use all the help it can get in trying to figure it out!

re: B2B Lead Management Market Heats Up

Where do begin. Laura, I have been following Elana's and your dialogue on this space/issue for the past two years. You ladies were the first analysts (along with John Neeson over at SiriusDecisions) to get on the lead mgmt vs lead generation soapbox and I could not agree with you more. To the "When do you use which" question, I think your answer lies with your whole "customer-centric marketing theme Forrester has been driving now for almost 3 years. Companies bought into becoming more customer centric will naturally migrate to processes that nurture markets and target audiences vs the old one and done model - mostly because they have an org structure (and "right" marketing folks) focused on how best to find and penetrate their best target markets. They actually have their sales and marketing orgs aligned and working together. Salesforce.com actually works well when there are marketing automation tools and processes feeding it with filtered and sales ready leads vs the other way around. How many of those briefings you listen to from the tools vendors label their tools/capabilities as "best practices"?To the market growth question, I believe we are still at the start of this market (whatever acronym or category you want to use). I spent 25 years in the enterprise apps space, but its still about the people and process (best practices) and less about the SW products/tools. We can all agree like bobble-head dolls that "scientific" methods deliver huge results in sales and marketing processes (more leads, more conversions, more deals, etc), but unless you have senior management bought into processes like lead nurturing that deliver results OVER TIME (more than 90 day horizons), then it does not matter what tools you use. IF they have sales reps twiddling their thumbs, they start screaming for "more leads" and don't care how you get them. Regardless the relative strengths and weaknesses of the various tools and capabilities, you better be focused on "quick win" programs and processes or the VP of Marketing will be in the hot seat.I agree with your push to have marketing's role shift to owning/managing the customer life cycle. Problem is that not enough marketers really know or understand the problem their company supposedly solves from their customer's perspective - they lack relevant field experience. Until they spend more time in the field (like trying their hand at selling for a year or two), B2B marketers will not know how or when to use what tools and how to truly align with sales.

re: B2B Lead Management Market Heats Up

Henry, thank you for the thoughtful and perceptive comment. Elana started Forrester's B2B marketing research and I had the honor of taking over this mantel from her two years ago. Thank you for following our work on the topic of lead management and contributing to this dialogue.Customer-centricity is essential to lead management maturity. As you point out, the best B2B marketers are those who can profile their target markets based on needs, behavior, motivations, and aspirations, not just by firmographic data or according to the geography or industry in which they fall.Striking abalance between the quick-win, "what have you done for me this quarter?" reality and the need to build longer-term engagement is a tough job. Sales needs to truly buy-in that fewer leads of higher quality is what they really want from marketing. Successful VPs make this transition in stages and use early successes (sales results aligned to a specific territory, solution, or vertical)-- and much tighter involvement with inside sales -- to show the theory works. Constant communication about marketing's contribution to the pipeline is essential. As long as sales is quarterly-driven, the need to ring this bell never ends.Spending time in the field is a great idea but generally impractical to execute. Many product and headquarters-based marketers come up through the marcom, PR, or product management ranks. Their risk/reward profiles make them poor fits for sales and they wouldn'tlast a year in the field. Smaller firms typically don't have the resource bandwidth to make this rotation feasible either. Tying compensation (in part) to the success of field-based initiatives is one way I've seen VPs make marketers accountable for customer insight and for implementing sales tools that work in practice. I say "in part" because too much emphasis on the pipeline leave little room to cultivate more strategic and innovative behaviors. Thanks again.

re: B2B Lead Management Market Heats Up

You are right about how best to become more customer-sensitive and aware via field experience. The PR, MARCOM, product mgmt background is great for program development and execution, but does not necessarily prepare them on HOW to align with sales and customers. Its probably more of an attitude thing where thinking and acting more like a sales rep would serve all marketers in their desire to "feel the love" from the sales.Keep up the dialogue because your team has the right focus, themes, etc. I will stay tuned.

re: B2B Lead Management Market Heats Up

Laura, very interesting insights, thank you. Two developments seem to be coming together here - a) adoption of lead management platforms and b) increased focused on content marketing. From your perspective, is anyone combining both well for suppliers? What about those in your category 4) the online portals - they have content production expertise.Andrew

re: B2B Lead Management Market Heats Up

Andrew, right now I am not detecting any major convergence. Talk to Kim Albee at einsof, Jeff Ernst at Kadient (formerly Pragmatech), or the folks at Salesforce.com who manage Salesforce Content. All are tackling solutions that link lead development workflow with unstructured content management aimed specifically at helping markeing to make sales more productive.The online portals I'm thinking about in 4)above are really in the lead generation game, and (at best)syndicate content toward this end. I'm not seeing a lot of primary production expertise.

re: B2B Lead Management Market Heats Up

What a great conversation this is becoming. Thanks, Laura, for initiating it.What Henry brings up, above, is critical. Too often, people (IT, sales, marketing, whomever) rush to buy technology which appears to solve their business issue, without taking the time to lay the groundwork for a successful implementation.It's all about people, process and technology, in that order.Until you have the correct people in your organization, bought in and in alignment, you may as well not both pursuing any kind of lead management solution for your company. Chances are, you will fail.Once you have the right people in place, you need to start with a conversation. Time after time, we see companies with failed implementations with other marketing automation companies show up on our doorstep. And the biggest culprit: they didn't take the time to map what their own business processes in advance of going shopping for a piece of software.Finally, you're ready for technology, but buying is not without its challenges. We marketers are good at creating campaigns. We're good at coming up with programs. We're exceptionally creative. One challenge many of us have is that we're poor buyers of business software. I posted a bunch of questions to get marketers started on my blog at http://theinnovativemarketer.blogs.com/ideas/2008/01/seven-questions.htmlI think the lead management market will continue to grow, as marketers, and marketing, matures and changes to meet the need to recognize and interpret our prospects' digital body language.

re: B2B Lead Management Market Heats Up

What a timely discussion. I head a marketing department and was recently recruited to find 1) better quality leads and 2) a CRM solution, both to fit a number of different sales groups - some with different key demographics or different products (all B2B financial services), and with a number of different sales venues (I have a telesales floor with 40 relationship managers doing a substantial amount of business strictly by telephone, regionally based vice presidents who visit clients in person, etc.)Currently, we only have on lead management solution, which is used for our direct sales folks in the telesales group - a D&B database with contacts for businesses over x amount in revenue loaded into Goldmine. However with an upcoming IT migration, we saw the opportunity to expand what we are using.I am fortunate in that my senior management is willing to try anything, recognizing it can only get better. We do have access to MS CRM, but I think that is too intense of an application for the call center folks, but probably would be beneficial to the people in remote offices, I could look at Goldmine again, and then there is the issue of leads - our licensing was negotiated years ago and we are getting a decent deal, but expanding the parameters or usage levels seems to stump the folks at D&B and at Hoovers (who are owned by D&B).The worst part about this is that there doesn't seem to be common language about these products, even between competing vendors. Lead farming? Direct marketing lists? Prospect lists? Some of our users would need extensive credit analysis and up-to-date company information like Hoover's website provides, but a lot of my users - I'd prefer to prequalify the data and dump it into a database, giving them a phone number, basics on the company and a contact. How do you differentiate between these two in conversation? Even the vendors don't know - although it can mean the difference of $20,000/month and $70,000 a month for the licensing we are talking.I decided to turn to the CRM folks - consultants, vendors, even the guy who wrote the Dummies guide on a CRM program, and even they seemed unsure.Luckily I have time on my side, but I do want to get down the right path. Eventually I could see our partners expanding to help us with other venues for lead generation, but at this point, I can't find anyone remotely credible who can explain the terminology of the industry and point me in the right direction of solid vendors who can handle quality data for $100M+ companies.Any consultants out there?

re: B2B Lead Management Market Heats Up

B2B lead generation/management is the new hotspot, thus good to see a classification as this market is growing fast.The question is what is required?Email mailing campaigns, pushing B2B decision makers into visiting a website seems of a different era. I always wondered how to get timing and content right for the addressee.In most B2B cases, the first sign of interest is a visit to the website of the company.The integration of enhanced web analytics (identifying the visitor, qualifying the visitor as lead or not) and CRM is likely the best next solution for lead generation, as this method valorises the efforts of the company in pull marketing.

re: B2B Lead Management Market Heats Up

Does the B2B Marketing Platform need the same platform components as B2C is an interesting question because it is a yes in some areas and no in other areas. Developing B2B business is much more about solution selling or managing the complex sale and so I lean towards B2B lead generation and conversion to sales is about a multi-channel dialogue that is tracked and nurtures using an integrated Web site, web properties and CRM solution.I recently joined a SaaS company focused on delivery of Websites, Portals and demand generation tools that front end or extend Salesforce CRM (http://www.cubiccompass.com/salesforceintegration.aspx). I have been in and out of enterprise software through Act!, Seibel and all the other CS SFA apps, the marketing and channel management lead tools of the Web world and now believe in the ideas espoused by the "Big Switch", but through it all there still remains an employee facing CRM app like Salesforce, NetSuite, Sugar CRM and the customer facing applications like Website or Web properties.The Web site or Web properties are the center of the online marketing and they are disconnected from the CRM system and these - lead applications, campaign management or analytics apps you reference bridge the gap. The problem is that they become just another island of data and another application to manage. Let's face it marketing goes before sales and the two functions need the same system.This is where Salesforce just rocks. It is such a good platform for CRM and one that can be extended with the vendor solutions from the App exchange. Their campaign management as a platform is great and what you can do without an IT person is impressive, but it needs to be augmented with an email marketing too, landing pages, tracking of web activity in response to campaigns, lead scoring etc. So... is B2B platform different, yes and no - I think you have to have the CRM system as the Marketing backbone and the Website and Marketing automation tools integrated with the CRM system. There is better user experience, one console, and better leverage and the ability to create, extend and track a dialogue across multiple channels. You don’t need this as much in B2C you need more of a scalable platform with a huge drip email engine, web pages and analytics. Interesting question and one I love to ponder.

re: B2B Lead Management Market Heats Up

Hi Laura! Terrific post and comments. May I please add mine.First, lead management is something an organization DOES (or not.) It is not something it buys. (Same goes for CRM.) Most of my clients have systems in one or more of the categories you describe, but their behaviors in lead management vary widely. For example, some act as if lead management is little more than establishing an e-mail newsletter schedule. Others (generally more successful) know that technology is the tool, not the process. Genuine lead management takes human attention, intellect, and a cohesive communication sequence.Second, lead management too often occurs without or in spite of the prospect. That is, the would-be vendor determines when, how, and how often to "nurture." My clients do much better by actually asking prospects their preferences for those things.Michael A. Brown

re: B2B Lead Management Market Heats Up

Laura -Thanks for starting up this dialogue... I work for a company called Pardot, which offers a service similar to Marketo. One of the biggest challenges in our emerging space is lack of awareness and lack of feedback. It is fantastic to hear people talking about this topic and sharing what they've seen out there.Thanks again!Laura

re: B2B Lead Management Market Heats Up

Laura, speaking of interactive, two-way dialog, this string is great!I wanted to comment on the idea that successful lead generation requires people and process first, before leveraging technology. We all agree that technology alone does not solve issues in a broken process or with the wrong people. However, it is antiquated mentality for organizations to take a step back, re-evaluate their strategy, process, and organization before jumping into lead generation solutions. That was the mantra that organizations like Accenture and IBM Consulting used to request large service contracts to “ensure success” of their implementation projects. Like Michael Brown says above, Lead Management is what B2B marketing & sales organizations are doing every day. Not that all processes are perfect, but there IS a process, and there ARE people involved in that process. The trick is to know how to improve. And this is where SaaS solutions have dramatically changed the game.What Salesforce and other leading on-demand platforms have taught the world is that it is OK to jump in and use a solution, even at the departmental level, to identify weaknesses in a process, make improvements, and begin seeing success. Since the best solutions are easy to deploy, change, and adjust, they can be used to test new process ideas. Results can be tested in days, not years, and changes to the process and technology can be made hand-in-hand. I believe this is the reason Salesforce.com single-handedly rescued the CRM industry, and why a whole new breed of System Integrators have emerged, with agile approaches to implementations. They have proven that it really is OK to start small, and grow, since benefits can be derived even from small improvements in a company’s current process. I wrote about a similar topic a couple of weeks ago (http://blogs.vtrenz.com/vtrenz/2008/03/it-doesnt-requi.html), and am encouraged by the current adoption of easy-to-use, straightforward applications to solve our biggest marketing challenge, generating qualified leads.To your main questions, I believe the industry will continue to grow rapidly, as there is a real pain, and marketing automation solutions are a real ‘aspirin’ for improving lead management. However, as companies move down the maturity model for optimized lead generation, they will require extended marketing capabilities to solve the next pain on their list, just like sales organizations did with SFA. Pure play Lead Management solutions will need to accommodate these changes in order to survive.I’ll be keeping a close watch on your perspectives as this unfolds. Thanks Laura.

re: B2B Lead Management Market Heats Up

Laura, great article and very insightful comments from your readers.I completely agree with Steve's comment that the true solution to the lead management problem is a combination of people, process and (then) technology. I have managed customer implementations at Market2Lead since it's inception and have recently taken on the responsibility of our own Lead Management process. Most companies tend to put technology in front of the process and hope for success. We all know the obvious outcome.I would like to add another problem/challenge that I have seen with most customers I have worked with and the Prospects that I talk to. The topic is ROI measurement of Marketing initiatives. This problem is very intriguing and in my humble opinion existing processes and solutions are either rudimentary or broken. There are so many studies that talk about the need for CMOs and VPs of Marketing to quantitatively measure the postive impact of Marketing on a company's top line. In my view, the foundation of an ideal solution hinges on bi-directional information flow between the Marketing process and the Sales process. Most solutions I know of talk about providing sales real time visibility into a Lead's response to Marketing activities. I have not seen or read much about the ability of a Marketing Automation solution to extract Lead follow up information and the resulting opportunity information into the Marketing database and allow the VP of Marketing to measure the true ROI of Marketing. I would love to hear your opinion and your reader's views on this topic.

re: B2B Lead Management Market Heats Up

One of the main reasons there is such disdain and lack of enthusiasm by many for lead management is that the prevailing "concept" of lead management envisions an Excel or Goldmine type spreadsheet/ dashboard that is either 1) too complex for your staff to engage or 2)so open ended that it leaves all the control to the individual, ultimately proving the theory "garbage in, garbage out".I'm the VP of Business Development at Kaleidico, and we have focused our attention, based on years of lead buying and managing,on creating a standardized process in our lead management system that everyone adheres to. Solutions can create bells, whistles, and tassles hanging off the side, but at the end of the day, the technology should drive the discipline, it shouldn't still rely on the user. A solution diminishes when 40 sales people, each with their own "pet" process, try to maximize YOUR lead spend in their own way. That is not usable data. That is buying a solution that doesn't get used properly, then gets put aside as a failed implementation. A "real" lead management system defines the process, puts structure around activity, and uniformly measures across organizations to build quantitative numbers that have sticking power. That's where Kaleidico's bet is at.

re: B2B Lead Management Market Heats Up

This is a great topic and I'm enthused that so many others have commented. From everyone's comments it really brings it home for me that we are truly in the infancy of the lead (insert word here) software age. Essentially, I believe we're all little white mice at this point of the industry's development.From a services company that focuses on helping companies establish their sales and marketing infrastructure, then supporting their lead generation activities, maybe I can offer a unique perspective on where this is all going.There are a pile of software offerings out there right now. Too many with too little differentiation. Over the next few years, I believe we are going to see a consolidation of companies and some stabilization in the market offerings.This process will effectively level the playing field and lessen the HUGE confusion for marketers trying to evaluate the "right fit" solution for their organization.But hold up a second. I'll be brave and say that the Software Isn't The Solution.Steve Gershik is right! Companies need to put the infrastructure in place and refocus the organizational mindset, then define their process for tactical execution of marketing programs, THEN make the investment in technology to support tactical execution of marketing programs.I believe the companies that will succeed in the lead gen/demand creation world will come from one of two verticals.1.Software Companies that offer a one stop CRM,LEAD MANAGEMENT,MARKETING AUTOMATION,DATA AGGREGATION/ANAYLYTICS.2. Services Companies that understand the infrastructure and process pieces - then as channel partners for the software vendor will implement the appropriate technology to support the infra and process components.The services play for my two cents is where it's at!We work primarily with technology companies here in Canada. In virtually every instance, the primary challenge within the organizations we talk to is bandwidth - not tech bandwidth, people bandwidth.There just isn't enough time in the day for marketing and sales folks to build the vision, the infra, the programs, evaluate the software vendor offerings and implement all of the above. This situation is repeatable small, medium and large organizations. That's why I believe the outsource model is where to place your bets.One last comment; As marketers, we can put all of the automation and tools in place to support our organization's sales and marketing objectives, but, at the end of the day, I truly believe that people buy from people and we can't discount the value of REAL human interaction as part of every sales and marketing process. No matter how good the technology gets.

re: B2B Lead Management Market Heats Up

Laura,I'm with ActiveConversion, one of the pure play B2B lead management companies. This is a great post, which has also generated great comments.We've been doing this for 3 years and we have been slotted by prospects into each of these categories at one time or another. As a result, we've previously had a problem ourselves defining it, and I think this really helps to categorize 'lead generation' for people.I also agree very much so with the posters that the process is as important as the technology. Just as a CRM is no use without current data, a lead management system doesn't generate result without good sales followup.Most, if not all the people in this posting understand that and the use of the technology, because they are the early adopters. The real key will be educating the large mass of marketers that are doing things the traditional way, which also means traditional processes. Those processes don't work well online. It's like the Meatball Sundae that Seth Godin talks about. But make no mistake, this is the future - because the old way is annoying for the prospects and for sellers.

re: B2B Lead Management Market Heats Up

My how things are progressing. What passes for lead management today is everything from a CRM tool which may or may not have campaign management activated to email marketing programs that insist (some with good reason) that they are now a lead management company.While giving speeches on Lead Management topics I find that there are always attendees from CRM and various software providers that stand up wildly waving their arms that they are the ultimate provider for lead management services. Unfortunately, it is still most often a combination of these providers that offers the best solution for inquiry management, ie., a system that nurturing inquiries (emarketing and telemarketing), distributes the “leads” to various complicated sales distribution systems (outside direct, inside direct, dealers and distributions, etc.) and provides a closed loop system for measurement. We have 142 articles on the Sales Lead Management Association web site that covers the many sub-topics of managing inquiries. Stop by and look at the titles (check lists are popular) and join (free) to download.

re: B2B Lead Management Market Heats Up

I hope that business people would learn to realize that these applications can only do so much for them. At the end of it all, a solid process of tracking and nurturing leads should be in place. The principle doesn't change either, whether we're talking about education leads, internet leads, debt leads, and a lot more.