Following the alignment process (Step #1), every sales rep should understand how to use the CRM and other lead intelligence tools to be able to quickly evaluate sales qualified leads and reach out to them quickly. Lead intelligence will help reps formulate a strategy for engaging with their prospects, gain their interest and trust, and develop a relationship that leads to a closed sale. This process is called sales nurturing. Every rep needs to update the CRM following every communication to keep lead status up-to-date and make sure that Marketing doesn't step on the sales process with inappropriate content. Once a sale is consummated, Customer Service should be notified via the CRM and take over managing the account. Sales also needs to set up automated reminders for following up with their customers and setting the table for up-sells and retained services. Marketing and Product Development also need to stay in the loop to send supporting, customer-centric content that educates customers on best practices and upcoming releases.
Leads may come from various sources or activities, for example, digitally via the Internet, through personal referrals, through telephone calls either by the company or telemarketers, through advertisements, and events. A 2015 study found that 89% of respondents cited email as the most-used channel for generating leads, followed by content marketing, search engine, and finally events. A study from 2014 found that direct traffic, search engines, and web referrals were the three most popular online channels for lead generation, accounting for 93% of leads.