Customer Relationship Management is one piece of a greater set of technologies used by businesses.  I often hear how organizations would like to integrate their marketing funnel into their CRM process.  There are so many ways to describe what a marketing funnel is that you could get dizzy over time trying to figure it out.  You may have heard of the concept of TOFU, MOFU and BOFU.  Basically, it’s the top of the line funnel, middle and bottom.  A simpler way of describing it is this way:

Marketing Funnel

Leads: These are contacts that you haven’t engaged with yet.  They are typically created by a marketing automation tool (using the top of the line funnel terminology) or some other marketing efforts.  As leads are gathered from your marketing efforts and identified as marketing qualified then you would pass them into Leads.  This is where the sales people get to work.

Prospects: These are essentially qualified leads.  The sales people have called, verified and determined this is a viable opportunity.

Customers: This is straight forward, you sold them something!  But, I caution that you’re not done here.  You need to make sure you’re continuing to deliver an exceptional experience.  The customer essentially goes into a new process of retention but that’s for another day.

This is a basic overview of a marketing funnel but it can get a lot more complex depending on how deep you want to go.  You can also check out more information about lead management inside of your CRM with this blog post.