If you’re in sales, listen up. Salespeople and sales managers know this too well: it’s really tough to prioritize the right leads on an ongoing basis. With so much information passing through sales teams each day, it’s easy to go off track.
Knowing which leads you need to follow up on and connect with at the right time will help your teams maximize success–however, it’s really tough to do manually.
For many sales teams, keeping everyday processes organized and running smoothly is crucial in making the most out of the sales opportunities that come their way. Having to manually pick out leads and prioritize them can hamper even a well-oiled sales machine.
Technology makes it possible for sales teams to aim for bigger goals–mostly by allowing teams to automate processes that have taken up a lot of your time in the past.
Why not use software to track leads?
Lead tracking is a must
Making the most out of each lead requires tracking. Keeping eyes on leads as they pass through the sales process is crucial to identify sales opportunities as they arise. It’s crucial for sales teams to create a process that allows them to track their leads from the first encounter right up to the sale.
For many sales teams, this process can be cumbersome–but with the widespread adoption of CRM software, it’s best to know that lead tracking is made much easier through CRM platforms.
Sales teams that are able to use CRMs for lead tracking are able to organize follow-up and outreach efforts on a daily basis, enjoying better success in the process.
Good thing is that with the use of CRMs, sales teams can manage their lead tracking efforts better.
By predefining the steps in their sales process, the can make CRM software track leads and identify where they are along the funnel. Predefining the steps will allow teams not only track their leads but understand their sales process better.
Where are we losing leads? Which portion of our process do we have the best conversion? Answering these questions and more can help teams get better at converting leads.
When choosing a CRM software that would supply your lead tracking needs, it’s important that you know these steps so you’ll find the right fit that has the support for the type of process you want to track. It’s also best to have an understanding of the type of leads you want to track.
How lead tracking happens
Let me give you an example of how lead tracking works. Let’s say you run a business that uses CRM software and you purchase a contact list from a third party provider.
Since you know better, you won’t consider these people as qualified leads. You know next to nothing about them, only the information that’s on the list itself.
Your company decides to do outbound prospecting by reaching out to the contacts on the list through email and cold calling. Some of them respond and you’re able to enter them into your qualification process to convert them from prospect to lead.
Several questions need to be answered:
- First of all, does the contact information work? Is it the person listed under the information?
- Is the person within your target audience? Are they interested in your products?
Answering these questions allow you to identify whether the contact is now a qualified lead, perhaps a sales-ready one.
Before you raise your eyebrows on purchasing contact lists, we all know it still happens. Many companies still do it–but companies are now more careful as to how to use these lists.
The contacts on these lists are rarely sales-ready. Most of them are generated through ads, opt-in forms on blogs, and other inbound marketing efforts. Only when they’ve been verified and qualified should they be marked as sales-ready leads in your CRM.
Even the contacts that you’ve generated through your marketing efforts cannot be deemed sales-ready just that easily. They should go through the same qualifying process following the same benchmarks as the rest of the contacts.
When leads are qualified and deemed sales-ready in the CRM, the frontline sales team should be notified that they have a sales-ready lead to work on.
From the moment the leads are distributed to the sales team, anyone who’s touched the lead should be able to use the CRM to track each on by adding notes from all points of contact and communication–including but not limited to emails and calls. Important information such as what documents have been sent and discussed, what buying signals has the lead given out, what level of interest did the lead express in the last call, and so on.
Lead tracking tips
Choose the right CRM
If you don’t already have a CRM for your sales operations, it’s time to start going over your options and get one. Choose a CRM software that helps you manage your leads, track conversions, and give you a view of your sales and marketing process as a whole. Some of the best choices out there can give you an overview of the return on your sales and marketing spends. It helps you track not only conversions but also whether you’re making the most out of your efforts.
There are a number of features that a CRM must have. Go over the feature list and reviews. Make sure there’s something in there for marketing, data analytics, sales, support, and strategy. By zooming in on each factor for every CRM software you’re considering, you can find one that works best for your company.
Ensure access to the CRM
Those who work directly with leads–from generation to sales–should have access to the CRM.
Having a CRM software in place is an absolute must. To maximize its returns, you need to ensure that both the sales and marketing teams have access to it. Sales and marketing teams should be able to update accounts in real-time rather than waiting to get access each time there are changes to be made. What does this do? The database will have more accurate data when teams are allowed to update it with the latest development. With updated and accurate data, leads will be handled better overall, leading to better results.
Take sales documentation seriously
Documenting the sales process is the best way to map the flow of your leads at every stage of the sales cycle. It also gives you a clearer overview of which parts of the process is performing best and which portion of the sales cycle is costing you leads.
Sales documentation is simply what its name implies. It’s a documentation of all the steps and elements of your sales process. It’s a pre-defined, step-by-step set of interactions that the sales force takes when prospecting up until converting leads.
This is a common area of weakness for many companies. Not having a sales process to stick to can cost you not only sales but a divided sales force. It’s not a good idea to leave the sales force in the dark. Not having a solid documentation of your sales process will also hamper the results brought on by sales acceleration technology starting with your CRM.
If you have no sales documentation in place, now’s the time to get on it. Start by ensuring that the sales and marketing teams will help document your process from here on out. Choose from an array of team collaboration tools to ensure that everything is organized and pooled in one place.
Sit down key personnel down and identify milestones that mark key events in your sales cycle. Use a visual map that shows the step-by-step actions needed to be taken that convert your leads into clients. Note what content, techniques, and actionable items are needed for each step. When done, ensure that key people have access to updating the files.
Make sure that you communicate that sales documentation is not a static piece of information. Your sales documentation should be as dynamic as your sales force.
Tracking leads allow sales teams to make quick decisions day in and out. Make sure you have a system in place for sales teams to be able to act quickly without jeopardizing long-term tasks. A key component of sales operations that allows teams to act swiftly is effective lead distribution.
Lead distribution is the process of bringing the leads to the person who is able to respond the quickest. We’ve talked about how leads that are not responded to within 24 hours generally go cold, and those who get contacts within three hours net the most conversions.
Have a lead distribution strategy in place. Find the balance between automation and personalization. Remember, lead tracking allows you to gauge the leads and their value in real-time. Use the info in your lead tracking software and/or CRM to ensure that you place emphasis on the right leads. Sending out personalized messages for each lead can take up a lot of time, but when high-quality leads are distributed quicker, sales reps are able to get a bit of leeway in organizing their time while still reaching out to leads within the prescribed time window.
Lead tracking for sales success
The point of tracking leads is so you can respond to each one in a timely, effective manner. When we say timely, it means as quick as possible. In most cases, effective means as personal as possible.
Remember that lead tracking would only work its magic when you have a solid grasp of your sales process. In some cases, lead tracking can help you identify important events in the sales cycle but you’re wasting a lot of resources if you don’t get on the task of putting together documentation quickly.
All in all, to win in sales you need to be on top of your data and process, unite your sales force, and work with them to improve both the process and the results to get the most returns for the team and the company.
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