Please Stop Using Excel for Tracking Sales Leads
Consider this: the marketing flywheel is spinning furiously. The leads are flowing fast. You've got a big list of names and email addresses to hand off to Sales. But, before they even lift a finger toward following up, they will ask if they're qualified — and it’s a fair question.
“How did these people get into my call list… what I am supposed to do from here?”
Sam, in Sales
First, the last thing you want to do when you're overwhelmed with leads is put them in Excel sheets. The only thing you're going to accomplish with that is losing them.
The good news is attracting, capturing and qualifying sales leads has never been easier. Simply determine the right questions to ask the sales lead and start placing these questions strategically (and sparingly) throughout your website. In this way, it’s not hard to get to know ‘who’ is visiting your site. And, then pass only the most qualified and (ready to buy) leads over to your sales team to follow-up. Before anyone has to contact the lead, you can know:
- Their company name and industry
- Their individual job role (are they a decision-maker?)
- The current state of their company in regards to your service
- Their goals and immediate pains
- And much more...
That’s the power of Inbound Marketing.
Want to know the details of sales lead qualification through smart marketing? Read more here.
But just because you can store all that information in a spreadsheet doesn't mean you should.
Powerful Inbound Sales Means a CRM
If you take nothing else from this article, please stop using Excel to track sales leads. There is a better way: use a CRM (customer relationship management) platform.
Every salesperson knows to prioritize the hottest leads. When you've dumped them all in a spreadsheet, you risk losing track and losing deals.
So Here's How You Do It
As a replacement for your spreadsheets, CRM is an easy-to-use system that organizes, standardizes, and measures the success of your pending sales deals. This allows for your marketing and sales teams to work together because they're looking for the same qualities to qualify sales leads, from the same CRM tool, with data that is always current, for every contact that interacts with your company.
No more forgetting to update a field. No more not knowing where to insert information. No more operating across inconsistent, chaotic spreadsheets.
It’s no secret that the top performing sales teams are those that work most efficiently.
And it’s their CRM tool that defines their success. Sales Reps spend 11% of their time seeking information across different systems, (or about an hour per day). The lesson in this statistic is that if you want your sales team to close more deals, try using fewer tools. The HubSpot CRM has become a proven sales enablement secret (weapon).
Step 1: Organize leads in Pipelines
First, organize your leads in the right pipeline. This can be the line of business, the location, or a combination of both. Use whatever makes the most sense for the reporting needs of your business.
This is a critical step because it will allow you to start thinking about your leads in terms of relevant qualities that groups hold in common — which means you're beginning to bring some order to the process.
Step 2: Standardize Sales into Deal Stages
Think of Deal Stages as checkpoints or milestones that a potential sales deal must pass through to become your next customer.
The Sales Process takes time, so start tracking your sales deals from the early stages to forecast your future sales funnel. Remember, revenue forecasting is based on the expected percentage of closing the deal, applied to the final estimated deal value.
I.e. if a $10,000 deal is 50% of the way towards completion, then we can estimate that there is approx. $5,000 in your sales funnel today, (the actual closed deals may be higher or lower than this estimated value, but it helps with projecting the likelihood of capturing future revenue).
- January 2019 — Connect with new contact during an event or a trade show
- March 2019 — Discovery call
- June 2019 — Goal setting meeting
- July 2019 — Competitive valuations
- October 2019 — Demo/Contract signed
If you’re still using Excel as a Client Relationship Manager, you really owe it yourself to read about the benefits of using a central sales and marketing CRM tool. Because recording this kind of thing in a spreadsheet? It's cumbersome at best.
Step 3: Measure Progress with Deal Properties
Once you get the deals organized into pipelines and standardized into stages, the final step is to move these pending deals towards completion. The way to do this is to write down all the necessary conditions that must be met before the sale is finalized.
The basic questions to capture are the standard B.A.N.T. formula:
Budget, Authority, Need, Time.
Automating Lead Follow-up with Sales Email Sequences
If you have a contact that hasn't replied to a previous email, enter the contact into a ‘No Reply Sequence’ and mark the outstanding task as Complete. With a slow-drip of emails, these folks may be enticed to come back to you in time. This lets your team save their sales time for the deals that matter most and spend less time chasing down the contacts that have gone cold.
The HubSpot “Tasks” menu provides an overview of everything you have to do.
Tasks can be prioritized based on the relative ‘warmth’ of the lead to allow your salespeople to start their day with the hottest leads. Throughout the day, encourage your team to prioritize any Inbound leads if a new contact comes in from organic traffic to online marketing materials.
Then, work the Cold leads. Finally, if appropriate, try to re-engage the Non-responsive or Paused Deals.
When you let prospects automatically schedule meetings with HubSpot Meetings, you’ll save hours of time spent on unnecessary emails. And doing all this in a CRM means a whole lot less time spent fiddling with spreadsheets.
Selling better — together
Chatbots, social media messenger, forms, and the hosted inbox, can also be used to assign leads to a team of people (i.e. a rotating sales shifts or help desk).
If you’re excited about all of this, but not sure where to even start, we’re here to help.
At Flawless, we’re not your agency – we’re your partner. If you are looking for some professional guidance in securing sales success with the awesome potential of the HubSpot CRM, we’re there to help you achieve this every step of the way.
Want to know more? Find out more about our Sales Enablement service!