3 Reasons CRM Providers Should Acquire and Integrate Lead Management in 2011


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Reason #1:  It’s already happening.  In May 2010, Oracle acquired Market2Lead with plans to integrate the technology into Oracle CRM.

Thoughts:   If Oracle integrates these capabilities, their CRM will have a distinct advantage over Salesforce.com and SAP- both will have to follow suit.  More than likely this will lead to the acquisition of Eloqua, Marketo, or Silverpop and significantly reduce the market opportunity in the lead management landscape (killing off the smaller players).   A few players will likely remain giving the market a choice between ease of use and robustness of features, and CRM providers will likely continue to encourage API integration to address customer preferences.

Reason #2:  Lead Management and CRM have a symbiotic relationship.  Lead management enhances sales effectiveness and efficiency- the rally cry benefits that formed the basis for SFA investments.  Integrated Lead Management secures future SFA business and simplifies data management and software licenses for SFA customers.

Thoughts:  Lead management capabilities offer a competitive advantage for the B2B sales model.  It’s not a trend, it’s a change in the way we conduct B2B Sales and Marketing.  There is no future outlook that suggests these capabilities will suddenly become useless- if anything customer demand for greater personalization and relevance make lead management ESSENTIAL capabilities in the future.  CRM providers have to provide lead management capabilities; and they can build or buy.  But, why build when there are a whole host of technology providers that have 1) already started the integration work and 2) are sitting on an existing client-base of recurring revenue. 

Reason #3:  Lead Management capabilities have matured.  We aren’t seeing a lot of new and different capabilities from lead management providers.  The technology is ripe for acquisition.

Thoughts: For the last few years investment in lead management technologies (primarily those that address B2B marketing challenges) has been growing at an exponential rate.  To date, few barriers to entry have opened the door for a little over a dozen different technology providers.  The fundamental features and functions have largely become a commodity- but ease of use and more robust capabilities still differentiate a few market leaders.  It makes sense to wait for emerging technologies to innovate to differentiate.  A lack of significant innovation over the past few years lowers the risk that CRM providers will acquire and integrate outdated technology.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ian Michiels
Ian Michiels is a Principal & CEO at Gleanster Research, a globally known IT Market Research firm covering marketing, sales, voice of the customer, and BI. Michiels is a seasoned analyst, consultant, and speaker responsible for over 350 published analyst reports. He maintains ongoing relationships with hundreds of software executives each year and surveys tens of thousands of industry professionals to keep a finger on the pulse of the market. Michiels has also worked with some of the world's biggest brands including Nike, Sears Holdings, Wells Fargo, Franklin Templeton, and Ceasars.


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