As professionals, we are often resistant to change. Sticking to a routine is often easier than relearning something, even if it makes you more effective. That being said, if you are still using Excel spreadsheets to track your leads, you are seriously missing out on some of the great things that automated tools can offer you.
Tracking leads in your sales pipeline is essential in helping marketers to forecast ROI, to manage their workload and to determine the status of their leads. Often, companies don't have an effective lead tracking system in place that allows them to determine the status of leads or appropriate follow-up systems. This can seriously decrease the efficiency of their sales departments and reduce marketing performance.
So, why is lead tracking so important? In a nutshell, it can help you to make informed decisions about campaign effectiveness and grow your business by examining exactly which campaign elements or distribution channels are working best, and by calculating ROI and campaign achievements.
In a perfect world, you'd just choose a tool and it would work its magic by itself. However in reality, things aren't always this simple. Some CRM tools may be hard to use or have a lot of functionality that requires training; especially when you are switching from a manual system, like Excel.
In order to make a lead tracking system work for you, it is extremely important to lay down some ground rules before you implement a lead-tracking system:
- Try to find an easy-to-use tool. Depending on how tech-savvy your organization is, this could be super simple or a more advanced tool
- Align marketing and sales on how leads in the sales pipeline should be handled: Define what metrics matter and quantify the number of qualified leads you want to generate with a campaign (perhaps even per sales rep or region)
- Define what defines a "hot," "warm" or "cold" lead and which follow-up actions each category of lead should have. While "hot" leads obviously require urgent follow-up, "warm" leads may need numerous phone calls, emails or direct mail to convert into a sale. These actions will also help you to stay on top of the status of leads: Are they still interested? Have they turned cold? Or do they need more information? Finally, when is a lead "cold," meaning you should give up on it? These are all questions that should be defined before implementing a lead-tracking system.
- What is the timeline for campaign evaluation? With what kind of regularity is information exchanged between the sales departments and marketing teams?
As mentioned above, lead tracking is essential in evaluating marketing campaigns and determining the sales readiness of leads. Software can give marketers effective tools to collect a vast amount of data, categorize leads, organize historical data and define follow-up activities. Moreover, through lead tracking, bad quality can be tracked back to the source, allowing for the elimination of sources that do not generate up-to-standard leads; therefore, improving the overall lead quality and efficiency of your organization.