Wouldn’t it be great if customers just magically appeared?
In a perfect world, all you’d have to do is answer a few simple questions and “Presto!” — you got a sale.
In real life, leads don’t become customers overnight. Like any relationship worth keeping, your future customers require attentive and authentic communication over time, before they finally trust you enough to take it to the next level.
We’re not going to sugarcoat it. If putting in some real effort to woo your leads sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is. BUT, if you know what your leads are looking for and you know when to give that to them, the sales process can be streamlined, optimized — even shrunk.
It’s called lead tracking. And it’s how the best sales pros out there consistently outperform their competitors (while still making it home on time for dinner).
If you’re ready to systematize your follow up and close more deals in less time, lean in. We’re about to tell you everything you need to know to become a boss-level lead tracker.
Why track and manage your leads
Sad as it is, the majority of salespeople let precious leads fall through the cracks every single day at work.
Most don’t even realize it until it’s too late. A lack of organization, inability to engage, or just good old-fashioned carelessness, means that qualified leads end up clustered together with unqualified leads — or worse, they disappear altogether. (Only to resurface in the arms of your closest competitor.)
If you can’t even locate your leads, how can you expect to close them?
Lead tracking helps you avoid leaking millions of dollars in potential deals by forcing you to sit up and pay attention to who your leads really are and exactly what they want.
Remember, only 25% of leads are legitimate prospects. Spending a little extra time to tease out the hot leads gives you a much bigger payoff and requires a much smaller investment of your time and energy. Your success is all about where you put your focus.
If you use a CRM to track your leads, you can set up smart lists to see at a glance which leads need follow up today, versus those with a longer buying timeline. A great CRM will also help you create automated drip campaigns and even help you track engagement on those campaigns, so you know exactly which parts of your marketing and follow up strategy are the most effective in converting leads. (More on that in a minute.)
To recap, here’s why you can’t afford NOT to track your leads:
- Lead tracking prevents leads from falling through the cracks
- It makes your sales team more effective (more time with qualified leads vs. unqualified)
- It makes your marketing more efficient
- It improves your ability to nurture leads
- It gives you a bird’s-eye view of your team’s progress so you can lead better
Here’s a glimpse at how we help sales leaders track their team’s progress from inside Follow Up Boss.
How lead tracking helps nurture leads
79% of marketing leads never convert into sales.
More often than not, the reason for this terrifying figure is a blatant lack of lead nurturing.
Bottom line: Complacency is kryptonite for sales teams. Getting the lead through your door is less than half the battle. Once they’re in your system, you’ve got to go the extra mile to nurture your leads. And there’s a lot more to it than firing off one fluff-filled newsletter per month. Effective lead nurturing is personalized. It creates a dialogue. A relationship.
The hard truth is, even if a lead is qualified, it still doesn’t have any inherent value.
You give it value by investing in a long-term relationship with that lead. This means actively trying to understand who your lead is, and how they engage with your business, so you can create a relevant marketing strategy that makes them feel like you know them better than anyone else.
By tracking your leads over time, you can capture some seriously meaningful information from that initial first contact to the moment the deal’s been inked. These insights are as close as it gets to a magic formula for closing more deals. They can tell you exactly what your leads want and help you deliver even more relevant content at each stage of the sales funnel, moving them through it way faster.
But the operative word is relevant.
“We always come from a place of contribution, that’s why our drip content is so popular. It’s not like those long campaigns where you can tell it’s pre-written content,” says Barry Jenkins, leader of the #2 Better Homes and Garden Real Estate team in the US.
If you’re doing it right, your lead nurture strategy will be a true infinity loop — listen, help, rinse, repeat. And if you’re thinking you don’t have enough intel to do this effectively, think again.
With automation in the mix, Barry and his team are able to nurture every last lead that does a home search on their website — even the anonymous ones.
“When someone checks their home value on my website, they have the option to register with their phone number and email. But many people don’t want to do that. They just want to give me their address. In these cases, the lead goes from the website to Follow Up Boss and then we’re able to send that lead to Zapier which then sends the lead’s address to Thankster, where we’ve got a template for a handwritten card set up. All we have is their address and we know they want to check the value of their home.”
The card simply offers to help the lead get the most accurate value of their home, no strings attached.
Now, the tools are obviously important here, but what really helped Barry and his team sell 240 homes in a year was an unwavering focus on serving leads with information that was genuinely helpful. “We don’t even know their name. Yet, we’re able to send them a card that gives them a relevant message,” says Barry.
Here’s a simple, helpful follow up email Barry and his team use to follow up with Facebook leads.
Ways to organize your leads
Leads are diverse. In order to manage them effectively, you need to consider all the possible variables that might influence whether a lead turns into a buyer.
Here are some of the ways to segment and organize your leads. Keep in mind, you may need to move leads from one list or segment to another based on the intel you gather throughout the sales process. If an unforeseen circumstance in a lead’s life prompt them to move quickly from cold to hot, your CRM or lead tracking tool should be able to move just as quickly.
Source of lead
This is the best way to get a jump start on managing your leads.
If you know where they came from i.e., clicking on a webpage banner, you immediately have valuable information to work on. Knowing the source of your leads can tell you a lot of interesting things about them. For example, it can tell you what their browsing habits are, what content they are interested in or if they already have an established relationship with you or any competitors or partners.
Before we dive into this one, a quick word of warning. When thinking about lead quality, rushing to judgment can literally cost you.
Stay mindful of the fact that not all prospects can be slotted neatly into a “good” or “bad” camp, especially at the start of a long sales process. Remember, you give leads value by following up with them in a consistent and compelling way.
And don’t mistake a cautious lead for a cold lead. With a relevant sales approach, you may find that a shy lead can quickly turn into a repeat customer. At the end of the day, people are super complex. You can’t expect to have a prospect “all figured out” after just one call. Commit to learning more about your prospects over time and you won’t run the risk of dismissing a potential customer just because they didn’t immediately match your vision of a picture perfect lead.
Leads are not static.
Each one will enter and travel the sales funnel with different levels of intent and motivation. Some will be ready to buy, others will be months (even years!) from a purchase. Your lead management system needs to be able to move in step with your prospect’s changing needs and priorities.
Any time you receive information that lets you know how close your lead is to purchase, organize (or reorganize) them in your lead tracking system based on that info. A simple, ‘Hot’, ‘Warm’ and ‘Cold’ list is the classic example, but depending on your CRM, this can be tagged and segmented based on your unique business and sales approach.
Number of touches
In real estate, that’s a BIG reason most agents don’t make it past the 5-year mark. And it’s the same story in many of the industries known for long sales cycles. You have to be committed to consistently following up, even when you haven’t seen any action in months.
The good news is, once you’re in, you’re in.
When tracking your leads by number of touches, there are two key factors to consider: the length of time you’ve been in touch, and the number of interactions you’ve had with a lead over that period of time.
For instance, you may have been ‘in touch’ with a lead for a few months but after the initial contact, they paused communications to speak with other decision makers. In the same time frame, another lead has been in constant dialogue with you, requesting information and details.
Even though both leads have been with you for exactly the same amount of time, your relationship is at a very different stage with each one. This information is critical. Without it, how can you and your team know what each lead needs?
A great lead tracking system helps you easily and immediately update the status of every lead in your pipeline so that you and your team never have to think twice about whether or not to follow up with a lead.
How a CRM helps with lead tracking and management
You can’t have robust sales without a robust system.
A great CRM is what makes it possible to scale a watertight lead strategy across people and teams. Because honestly, it doesn’t matter if you have the world’s most amazing product. If the right arm isn’t talking to the left arm, you risk alienating potential clients.
The ideal CRM will look a little different for everyone, and that’s fine. What matters most is that it gives the sales team the full picture of the pipeline so they can take the right action to convert more leads. In the words of rockstar sales coach, David Keesee, “If your lead follow up is based on your memory, you’re going to lose.”
You and your team don’t have time to sit around and wonder, ‘When did I speak to that prospect last?’, ‘What did they say?’, or ‘What did they ask me to do?’. Your CRM will provide you with those answers so you can free up your mental bandwidth and show up at your best for the prospects who need you most.
Here are some of the biggest benefits of using a CRM to track and manage your leads:
A CRM turns your process into a system
Make no mistake. If you have a disorganized, inconsistent process for managing your leads, you WILL lose them.
Your CRM can turn your ad-hoc workflows into an efficient, automated approach that works while you sleep. It can even assign leads and follow up to your team so that they can act faster to respond to the needs of your prospects and customers. (Leaving less opportunity for your leads to look elsewhere in order to get the answers they need.)
It helps improve your pitch
The information collected and stored via your CRM can help you create super smart marketing campaigns and pitch strategies. You and your team can automatically collect more accurate information on potential leads and access it as and when you need it, instead of trying to hold all that info in a messy Excel worksheet (or worse, your head).
You can track every point of communication with your potential customer, including the texts, emails and follow ups that worked best, in order to refine your pitching strategy and boost your conversion rates.
It automates lead handoff, follow up and admin
A smart CRM can assign leads to sales reps based on experience, geographic areas, close ratio, etc. — and alert you and your team when a lead is ready to engage.
The same applies to assigning admin tasks. And because the CRM already has all the data on your leads, your team can easily find the info and documents they need to provide excellent customer service and help you seal the deal.
At the end of the day, a random call or monthly email isn’t going to get you the kind of long-term relationship (or repeat revenue) that makes you feel great about your role as a salesperson.
You and your leads both deserve better. If you’re ready to reach the next level, it’s time to leave the disarray at the door and replace it with an organized approach that helps you serve more leads, more effectively.