The new frontier for CRM is CDL: Customer Driven Leads

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Imagine customers diving, on their own, straight down to the bottom of the sales funnel.

Actually, don’t imagine it. Welcome it, because it’s coming, in the form of leads that customers generate themselves, when they’re ready to buy something. Here in the VRM world we call this intentcasting. At the receiving end, in the CRM world, they’re CDLs, or Customer Driven Leads.

Because CDLs come from fully interested customers with cash in hand, they’re worth more than MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads) or SQLs (Sales Qualifed Leads), both of which need to be baited with marketing into the sales funnel.

CDLs are also free. When the customer is ready to buy, she signals the market with an intentcast that CRM systems can hear as a fresh CDL. When the CRM system replies, an exchange of data and permissions follows, with the customer taking the lead.

It’s a new dance, this one with the customer taking the lead. But it’s much more direct, efficient and friendly than the old dances in which customers were mere “targets” to be “acquired.”

The first protocol-based way to generate CDLs for CRM is described in At last, a protocol to connect VRM and CRM, posted here in August. It’s called JLINC. We’ll be demonstrating it working on a Salesforce system on VRM Day at the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley, on Monday, October 24. VRM Day is free, but space is limited, so register soon, here.

We’ll also continue to work on CDL development over the next three days in the same location, at the IIW, the Internet Identity Workshop. IIW is an unconference that’s entirely about getting stuff done. No keynotes, no panels. Just working sessions run by attendees. This next one will be our 23rd IIW since we started them in 2005. It remains, in my humble estimation, the most leveraged conference I know. (And I go to a lot of them, usually as a speaker.)

As an additional temptation, we’re offering a 25% discount on IIW to the next 20 people who register for VRM Day. (And it you’ve already reigstered, talk to me.)

While we’re demonstrating CDLs on Salesforce, we also invite all the other CRM companies — IBM, Microsoft Dynamics, SAP, SugarCRM… you know who you are — to show up and participate as well. All CRM systems are programmable. And the level of programming required to hear intentcasts is simple and easy. We chose Salesforce for VRM Day because that’s the system Iain Henderson, who works with JLINC Labs and will lead the demo, knows best.

See you there!

Originally published at blogs.harvard.edu/vrm on October 6, 2016.

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