I am working with a b2b startup, which is a marketplace that connects clients and freelancers. They have a strong value proposition, and I want to help them generate leads through PPC. We ran one campaign and generated 60+ leads via ebook downloads (in 48 hours). The problem is that we don't have the bandwidth to followup with all of these leads, and they all slipped through the cracks. What ends up happening are zero conversions. Two questions: (1) how can we deal with this pipeline/follow-up issue and (2) are we at a stage where we need a CRM immediately? Or should we continue to deploy marketing campaigns?
I've gotten to live through this pain before and it sounds like you're getting good advice from others, so I'll just offer a little perspective from a different angle.
Whatever you do, don't get overwhelmed and don't let better be the enemy of good. Among your 60 leads are probably 20 total duds, competitors, or lookie-lous. Among the remaining 40 might be a handful of leads that your top sales person (that's the CEO in a startup...) will instantly recognize as high value. Then a bunch in the middle. Get the whole team to lay eyes on the list and bite off the 5-10 leads that you must get back to asap, lop off the ones you know are worthless, and then delegate the homework & legwork on those in the middle while you iron out the process and get the workflow/systems in place.
Before you put any system in place make sure the CEO is 100% bought in and going to invest the time to monitor and drive follow up. When I was a CEO I "lived in" two systems, one being the CRM to monitor leads/opportunities. It has to have support and engagement from the top.