Top three lead nurturing needs to address in your CRM requirements

When developing a set of CRM requirements there is a lot to consider, not least the fact there are many stakeholders to satisfy and usually limited resources. Your attention is pulled in many directions and certain CRM requirements can get neglected. With an average cost of $30 per user per month, you won’t want to compromise.

In our experience, there is one area that often doesn’t get the right level of attention – lead nurturing. Most businesses think of their business development efforts as sales and marketing rather than a joined-up lead nurturing process.

Lead nurturing is defined by Marketo as:

The process of developing relationships with buyers at every stage of the sales funnel, and through every step of the buyer's journey. It focuses marketing and communication efforts on listening to the needs of prospects and providing the information and answers they need.

In this article we’re going to focus on three elements of the lead generation process that are important to address clearly when developing CRM requirements:

  1. Building communication groups
  2. Learning about the customer
  3. Email automation

Building communication groups

Communication groups are customer subsets that have distinct wants and needs. For example, a construction company may have different groups of customers.

One group may be large businesses that need comprehensive ongoing maintenance solutions that cost $200k plus per year. Another group may be homeowners that want high-specification new kitchens that are $100k plus.

It is pretty clear that these different customer types should receive different marketing communications. The CRM must have functionality that allows the business to identify that, then communicate different messages to these distinct groups.

Learning about the customer

The more effective automation in a CRM the better. Once a business has identified the distinct communication groups it’s important to be able to put customers in the right group.

This is easier said than done.

Customers may sign up with just an email address and name so you have no idea what type of customer they are. There are ways to build a customer picture:

  • Make an assumption based on what content they originated from – in the case of a construction business if they were watching a video on kitchens this is a strong indicator they are interested in a new kitchen.
  • Using BI software that can add detailed business intelligence to the prospect’s profile.
  • More detail can be added to the sign-up form, but this needs to be balanced against the risk of form abandonment.

Email automation

One of the most powerful tools for lead nurturing is email. Campaigns can be built for different communication groups that zero in on a buyer’s specific need.

When reviewing CRM requirements ensure that the email automation tool has all the functionality that you need. Although the leading CRMs approach email automation with some standard processes, every system has subtle variations.

There are a host of third-party specialist providers that can be integrated into the CRM which confuses the matter further. As with all CRM requirements assessments, start with what the business wants to achieve before looking for a solution. Otherwise, you will be led by what CRM providers say they can do and may be sold on irrelevant functionality.


Lead nurturing is a vital part of any inbound marketing campaign – work out what you want and try to compromise as little as possible. With modern CRMs, most things are possible, so stay patient when you are choosing and building your CRM.

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Doug Haines

About the author…

Doug Haines has worked on a variety of CRM implementation projects and now writes on a wide range of topics. He is a regular contributor to Discover CRM

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Doug Haines

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