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To see CRM as a market made up of one single type of technology would be a mistake. There are many different technologies in the CRM mix and the technology that is really driving growth, according to Gartner, is lead management.

Lead Management

In its recently released Magic Quadrant for Lead Management, Gartner identifies it as the major contributor to revenue growth in the CRM space as well as satisfaction with CRM technologies.

Lead management, Gartner says, closes the gap between marketing and direct, or indirect, sales channels through the integration of business processes and technologies.

It also includes the processes for taking and using unqualified contacts from numerous sources including Web registration pages and campaigns, direct mail campaigns, email marketing and database marketing among others.

CRM lead management's contribution to revenue growth fuels investment and overall satisfaction levels. Ultimately, though, the goal here is to create and manage sales leads in such a way that the potential to turn those leads into monetary gain for the enterprise is maximized.

Lead Management Market Overview

The value of this cannot be overestimated with the result that successful lead management technologies are effectively driving the CRM space in an economic climate that makes selling difficult.

Overall, Gartner estimates that investments in CRM marketing automation applications and services, which includes lead management, grew by 20% in 2011 and 2012 and by 2016 will be worth in the region of US$ 4.2 billion.

This is the largest growth of any segment in the CRM space with momentum expected to continue at the same pace over the coming years as enterprises push to make sales and grow business.

But if lead management is pushing growth in the CRM space, then lead management is also benefiting from the growth of the CRM market generally. Lead Management, Gartner says, also builds on sales force automation, social channels and established marketing channels.

We have seen in the past that CRM, and information and data management technologies overlap in particular with big data and cloud technologies. Gartner says that both these technologies impact on the speed at which lead management applications can be deployed.

Digital marketing technologies and processes have also had a major impact by offering business-to-business professionals a wide set of tools with a wider set of functionality while creating new integration points for lead management processes.

CRM Lead Management

There are three main characteristics that define CRM Lead Management:

  1. Business and marketing focus
  2. Focus on products that require sizable investments on business or consumer
  3. The hand off of leads to a sales person of channel.

In this Magic Quadrant all the usual suspects in the CRM space are populate all four Quadrants, unlike Magic Quadrants for other technologies where there is a tight focus on one or two of the quadrants.

To make it into the Leaders Quadrant here was difficult. Technologies need to display functionality that supports business-to-business, business-to-business-to-customer, and business-to-customer lead management processes.

This is on top of the rigid criteria to be included in the Magic Quadrant in the first place. Those criteria include:

  • Multichannel Lead Management: Lead management functionality for inbound and outbound marketing.
  • Lead Aggregation/Lead Database: Report, analyze and management all leads.
  • Analytics, KPIs, BI: Ability to use integration tools to transfer data across infrastructure.
  • Lead Process Management: Ability to create lead management workflows, or business process management rules.
  • Lead Nurturing: Ability to manage and control the lead life cycle from collection to conversion, including, at a minimum, maintenance, execution and removal.

These are only some of the criteria and only the technology requirements too. The business criteria for inclusion are equally rigorous and include:

  • The vendor must have had revenues of US$ 20 million for the past four quarters.
  • It must be delivered as a stand alone technology or as part of a CRM or sales force automation application.
  • It must have been available for license in the market for a minimum of a year.

Lead Management Leaders

There were only two companies that made it into the Leaders Quadrant this year. They are:

Marketo

This is the second year in a row that Marketo has made it into the Leaders Quadrant having generated US$ 58.4 million in revenues as well as demonstrating strong revenues and customer growth in North America, Europe and the Asia/Pacific region.

  • Strengths: Comes with tight integration into Salesforce.com and has an easy learning curve for marketing professionals. Having marketed itself aggressively, it has managed to raise US$ 100 million in venture capital and has more than 2000 customers in the technology, media and business services industries. Its customer base is split equally between large enterprises and SMBs.
  • Cautions: If Salesforce is an advantage, it is also a disadvantage. According to Gartner, more than 80% of its customers are using Salesforce.com. While it has partnerships with Microsoft Dynamics CRM and SAP, if Salesforce.com decides to develop its own lead management capabilities, it could be in trouble. Also, while it has achieved its own sales growth targets, its reference customers report that support has lagged recently.

Oracle (Eloqua)

Again, Oracle (Eloqua) also appeared in the 2012 Magic Quadrant for CRM Lead Management. Bought by Oracle in February 2013 it has now become Oracle Marketing Cloud Service (Oracle Eloqua).

  • Strengths: Its customers score it very highly in terms of product functionality, but it also scored highly for its growing ecosystems of marketing service providers and partners. It has maintained strong sales execution and growth in the face of an increasingly tough market and rapid technological change in the market. It has also delivered on innovation with an HTML 5 campaign interface and the first industry solution for the financial services industry.
  • Cautions: The Oracle acquisition has raised concerns among customers regarding its roadmap and integration points as well as integration with sales force technologies. In some use cases it takes longer to get up and running than other lead management offerings.

There are a number of notable absences from the Leaders Quadrant including Oracle (Siebel), Salesforce and Microsoft. However, they did make it into the Magic Quadrant along with other notables including IBM, and we will look at where they landed later in the week.