It can take anywhere from six to ten “touches” to convert a lead into a customer, yet the average sales rep gives up after the second attempt. And it costs about eleven times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain one. Successful businesses have moved beyond keeping information about their prospects and customers in boxes full of business cards collected at networking events, contact management programs like Outlook, and in multiple spreadsheets from various sources. They’ve embraced Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and sales and marketing automation software to efficiently manage the process of converting leads to customers and building customer loyalty. The use of such programs accelerates the sales process, reduces the amount of labor involved in being a “follow-up fanatic,” and can increase revenues by as much as 60%.