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From leads to CRM – the basics for building customer relationships

No matter whether B2B or B2C – it is all about building relationships in all areas of marketing and sales. At the beginning of this complex process are the leads, the overriding goal of inbound marketing. A lead is a potential customer for whom the contact is gained through a marketing measure. It may very well be that these potential customers have already long since been on your public channels. Then the next step is to win them as leads. How does that work? We will explain this to you in today’s blog post.

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Lead extraction

In lead generation, the aim is to gain as many leads as possible through a wide variety of measures – in line with the motto „more is more“.

A classic way of winning leads is and remains the registration for a newsletter. Here, the potential customer fills out a form created by you. This allows you to carefully consider what information you need from potential customers in order to classify and contact them as successfully as possible. You can cleverly mark the information you do not want to do without as mandatory data – without which registration for the newsletter is not possible. Since the registration button for the newsletter is ignored rather than happily clicked by many, it is quite a challenge to gain a large number of leads through this measure.

A possible variant to circumvent the problem is a content locker. A content locker ensures that the content you provide – such as content on your blog – is only readable for those who register with you.  This means that the customer has a positive effect immediately after registering via your created form, as all content is now freely accessible to him. The prerequisite for this is, of course, that you convince with exciting content that offers added value to the visitors of your website. Only through content that arouses curiosity and „anteases“ useful information can you get your target group to register for your content or subscribe to it in the form of a newsletter.

An apparently very large added value is drawn by your potential customers from a lottery. Accordingly, lotteries are a good way to collect leads. If the prize is a product or service from your company, you also have direct confirmation that your counterpart is interested in your company.

For successful lead acquisition and lead qualification, it is important to obtain the right information from potential customers that is important for your company. If a selected measure only provides you with the e-mail address, it is very likely that it will not reveal exactly who or which associated company is hiding behind it. Therefore, you should first think about what information you need to contact your lead and how to ask for this information most skilfully in the selected measure.

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Lead qualification

Lead generation is the precursor of lead qualification. Perhaps you are now wondering what to do with the contacts you have gained. And in what order you can contact potential new customers? Lead Qualification provides the answers to these questions. As the term suggests, this step classifies the contacts you have gained in terms of their qualification for subsequent lead processing. You can see how active the lead has been in communicating with you and how interested you are in future collaboration.  Once these points have been fundamentally clarified, you can use your results to prioritise potential customers for your follow-up [1].

But how does lead qualification work?

The most widespread method is probably telephone acquisition. Here potential customers are contacted by phone. As this is the first personal contact with a person who is not yet a stranger, this is referred to as cold acquisition. The lead qualification can then be checked during the conversation. This means that the employee can now find out in a personal conversation whether this is a potential customer or not. The advantage here is that the presentation of one’s own product or service can be spontaneously adapted to the needs of the prospective customer. However, the reaction of his interlocutor should not be judged too hastily. A typical mistake in lead qualification measures is to put potential customers into the „yes“ or „no“ drawer too quickly. In other words, just because a company shows interest at this stage does not mean that a contract is already concluded. The other way round, however, a hesitant customer is not immediately disinterested either.

One measure that combines lead acquisition and qualification is, for example, a conversation at the trade fair stand. Here, both the basic data can be exchanged and a personal conversation can take place.

Less personal, but no less effective, is the measure of the autoresponder series. Behind it is the automatic sending of an e-mail after a certain action. This can be the download of a file from the website, an e-book or the registration of a free trial version. Depending on the action, an autoresponder is set up with which an automatic and ready-made mail is sent. In this mail it is then possible to explicitly refer to content, the newsletter, actions and discounts or similar. And afterwards it can be tracked if and which links in this autoresponder mail were clicked.

With the help of web analytic tools you can also track the behavior of the interested parties on your website. Which product or service was viewed most often?

The order in which people click through your website also allows you to draw conclusions about which interests are being pursued and where the priorities might lie.

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What comes after the lead qualification?

Let us now assume that you have gone through all the steps so far. Both the lead acquisition and the lead qualification phase were successful. Now it is not only a matter of building these customer relationships, but also of maintaining them and ensuring that the connection to your customers lasts as long as possible and, above all, remains active and profitable for you. Accordingly, you may be faced with the following questions: How can I best manage the leads I have gained and the information they contain?  Which method or system can I use to work most efficiently? The answer is simple: CRM, or Customer Relationship Management.

Customer relationship management

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a tool with which the relationships and interactions of a company with its existing and potential customers can be designed and optimized. Added value can be derived from CRM in a wide variety of areas, such as productivity improvement, contact management or sales management. The overall goal of CRM is to support the establishment, organisation and improvement of business relationships.

But how exactly are business relationships to be improved? A CRM tool is a software which collects all possible and available information about a customer and prepares it for you in a clear and concise way. Useful information for the improvement of your customer relationship are for example contact data, e-mails, notes from phone calls, social media profiles or activities of the customer. This way you get to know your customer much better at a glance and can weigh up which measures are best for approaching the customer and what kind of communication they might prefer. With functions such as conversation notes and the order history, you can still respond to the customer’s needs in detail and precisely even after a long period of radio silence, thus conveying a personal level, which creates a positive feeling in the customer. [2]


In conclusion, the acquisition, qualification and processing of leads is indispensable if you want to steadily increase the number of customers in your company. However, while you are trying to make as many contacts as possible with lead generation, you start to prioritize these contacts in lead qualification and classify them for subsequent lead processing. Various web analytic tools can be very helpful in this process. There are several ways to win and qualify leads. Which measures you choose should be adapted to your company, your corporate communications and your customer base.

We wish you every success in winning new leads and successfully building customer relationships.



[1] Netpress: Lead Qualifizierung (2017)

[2] Für Gründer: CRM Systeme und Tools