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In some industries, the average cost of a single lead exceeds $200, making it critical to understand where your best leads are coming from. Tracking sales leads makes it easier to identify the source of each lead and watch as it travels through your sales pipeline, giving you valuable information about the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

The RevOps Team strives to help all businesses eliminate cumbersome processes and maximize their revenue potential. Share this guide with your sales team to help them find more qualified leads and stop wasting time on tactics that just don’t work.

What Is Sales Leads Tracking?

Sales leads tracking is the process of monitoring leads as they move through your sales funnel (AKA the sales pipeline). To refresh your memory, the sales funnel typically has five stages:

  1. Awareness
  2. Interest
  3. Offer
  4. Consideration
  5. Decision

As they move through the sales funnel, people’s needs change. That means your salespeople need to change the way they approach each lead. For example, sales presentations should be reserved for the offer stage, as it doesn’t make sense to pitch your products and services before the prospect is even aware of your brand.

Benefits Of Tracking Sales Leads

Effective lead tracking has many benefits, especially for businesses that have been relying on manual sales and marketing processes. Here are the most common:

Improved Sales Process

“Sales process” is just a fancy term for the series of steps you follow to convert a prospect into a paying customer. No matter how freewheeling you are in your personal life, it’s important to have a repeatable process for making sales. You don’t have to do exactly what everyone else is doing, but a good sales process usually has these steps:

  • Researching your competitors
  • Identifying your target audience
  • Learning more about your prospects
  • Determining if your products and services match a prospect’s needs
  • Building positive relationships
  • Pitching an offer
  • Answering the prospect’s questions
  • Finalizing the sale

With lead tracking, sales and marketing teams know exactly what they need to do at all times, making the sales process more efficient and effective.

More Organized Data

If you don’t track leads in a systematic way, there’s a good chance your salespeople are struggling. Lead tracking makes it easier to distinguish new leads from old ones, ensuring that team members always know what they should be working on. For example, if a new lead comes in, sales staff can work on determining if it’s a qualified one. In other words, lead tracking makes it easier to organize your data.

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Easier Prioritization

Without tracking sales leads, prioritizing is like juggling a bunch of flaming bowling pins. It's difficult, and you could get burned. When you have a comprehensive lead tracking system, it’s easier to determine which leads are most and least likely to buy from you. Salespeople can focus on those most likely to buy, increasing revenue and efficiency.

Sales Loss Prevention

To increase your conversion rate, you must contact the right person with the right offer at the right time. Without lead tracking, it’s almost impossible to match potential customers to the right products and services. Sales lead tracking prevents lost sales by ensuring you have plenty of information about each prospect’s needs.

Improved Predictions

As we mentioned earlier, lead tracking makes it easier to determine who’s most likely to become a paying customer. In other words, it improves predictions related to sales and marketing. Lead tracking also helps you identify the most valuable prospects, helping you with monthly, quarterly, and annual forecasts.

Effective Lead Nurturing

Once you have a lead in your sales funnel, you need to nurture it. Unless you live in a magical land, most people don’t become paying customers within minutes of entering your sales pipeline. You need to anticipate their needs and follow up multiple times.

With lead tracking, nurturing is easier than ever. If you use CRM software like Salesforce or Zoho, you can even automate many of your nurturing activities, saving time and allowing your sales reps to focus on high-value activities in the sales cycle.

5 Steps For Tracking Sales Leads

So, feeling convinced that lead tracking is critical to your company’s success? Good. Then it’s time to learn some tested strategies for lead management. Here’s what we recommend for tracking sales leads in 2023.

1. Understand the Buying Process

If it’s been a while since you took Marketing 101, it’s a good idea to brush up on the stages of the buying process. This is sometimes called the customer journey since it’s a series of steps that customers take as they move toward buying a product or service. Here’s a quick refresher on those steps.

  1. Problem recognition: Your potential customer has a problem. Their DVD player broke, their favorite pair of jeans has a big hole in it, or they’re about to fail calculus. Whatever the problem is, there’s probably a product or service that can solve it. In this case, a new DVD player, a new pair of jeans, or a calculus tutor.
  2. Information search: Once the customer is aware of their problem, they start searching for a possible solution. They may use a search engine or ask friends and family members for advice.
  3. Evaluation of alternatives: Most consumers consider several potential solutions before choosing one. For example, a student in danger of failing calculus might research the pros and cons of signing up for Khan Academy versus hiring a professional tutor.
  4. Purchase decision: This is when the buyer makes a decision.
  5. Purchase: Many people think purchase decision and purchase are the same thing, but they’re not. During the previous stage, the potential customer decided whether to make a purchase or walk away in favor of another solution. Now they’ve decided to buy something.
  6. Post-purchase evaluation: Once the customer uses the new product or service, they evaluate it to determine if it meets their needs.

The success of your marketing efforts depends on reaching potential customers at every stage of this journey. For example, once the customer starts searching for potential solutions, you want them to find your company. That means you need to have an attractive website with plenty of information about your products or services.

At the purchase stage, it should be easy for people to buy from you. Broken websites, convoluted sales processes, or surprise fees drive away potential customers instead of giving them a warm welcome. The better your sales reps understand this process, the easier it is for them to reach their goals.

2. Use a Lead Tracking Software or CRM

When it comes to tracking leads, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Instead of storing customer data in Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, or a similar tool, invest in lead tracking or customer relationship management (CRM) software. Pipedrive, Hubspot, Zoho, Salesforce, and other CRM tools take the guesswork out of lead management, leaving your salespeople with more time to close deals.

If you’re ready to buy a lead management software package, look for these features:

  • Integrations: The best CRM software integrates with apps and other tools, increasing efficiency and making it easier for sales teams to achieve their goals.
  • Dashboards: A dashboard gives team members access to real-time sales data, enabling them to adjust their priorities as needed.
  • Customization: A lead management system isn’t all that helpful if it’s not compatible with your company’s workflows. Look for software that offers some level of customization rather than forcing you to change your lead management process.
  • Social media: Good CRM systems allow you to monitor social media without having to switch platforms.
  • Email marketing: With the right integrations, it’s possible to set up email campaigns without leaving your CRM interface.

3. Define Your Data Fields

To reap the benefits of sales lead tracking, it’s important to have well-defined data fields in your CRM. Good lead management tools tell you exactly where each lead came from. They also tell you the status of each lead and where your leads are in the sales cycle. If you want your sales team to see that information, you must define appropriate data fields in your CRM.

Make sure you have these fields, at minimum:

  • Contact type: It’s important to distinguish prospects from vendors, subcontractors, employees, affiliates, and existing customers. This field makes it easier for salespeople to determine where to focus their efforts.
  • Life cycle stage: When salespeople access lead information, they should be able to tell if someone is a sales-qualified lead versus a marketing-qualified lead.
  • Status: Imagine if your sales reps had to guess the status of every lead stored in your CRM. It would be total chaos! Keep everyone on track by setting up a status field to indicate whether each lead is open, unqualified, dropped, or in progress.
  • Lead source: The lead source field should indicate where each lead came from, such as paid advertising, conferences, and trade shows.

4. Implement a Lead Scoring System

Lead scoring is the process of assigning a rating to each lead your company generates. How you set up this scoring system is completely up to you, but most businesses use a 100-point rating scale. The higher a lead’s score, the closer they are to being your ideal customer.

Here’s a real-life example:

Michael Scott is a sales rep for Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. His ideal client is a large firm that needs at least 5,000 reams of copy paper each year. Mr. Scott typically works with men between the ages of 35 and 55 who work as purchasing agents or buyers. A new lead just came in, and Mr. Scott needs to assign a score.

According to the lead data, the potential customer is a 50-year-old purchasing agent who works for a health insurance company. His employer uses 7,000 reams of paper per year. Based on this information, Mr. Scott assigns a rating of 95/100.

5. Customize Your Lead Gen Forms

Many companies use templates to save time, but it’s better to customize your lead generation forms. Custom forms make it easier to collect multiple types of contact information, ensuring that you always have a way to get in touch with your leads. Using customized lead forms also makes it easier to tailor your messaging to each prospect instead of using canned messages.

Mistakes To Avoid

Now that you’re ready to put your new knowledge into practice, here are some common mistakes to avoid.

Focusing Your Lead Scoring System on the Wrong Metrics

Focusing on the wrong metrics makes it difficult to prioritize leads, so make sure your scoring system makes sense. For example, you don’t want to focus exclusively on user behavior if you’re committed to serving a specific demographic. In that case, you’d give demographic characteristics a little more weight.

Forgetting to Track All Lead Sources

If you don’t track all lead sources, you may have no idea where your best leads are coming from. Once you create the lead source field in your CRM, make sure you have labels for as many sources as possible.

Not Following Up or Nurturing Leads

In most cases, you need to contact leads multiple times before they decide to buy from you. One of the worst mistakes you can make is calling a lead once and then never bothering to follow up with them again. Make sure you nurture each lead regularly, whether that involves making phone calls or sending out email messages.

Manage Your Leads with Ease

We’re not kidding when we say that proper sales lead tracking can completely transform your business. Once you have a tracking system of your own, subscribe to The RevOps Team newsletter for more helpful tips on lead management.

By Phil Gray

Philip Gray is the COO of Black and White Zebra, a digital publishing and tech company. He hails from rainy Glasgow, Scotland transplanted in not quite as rainy Vancouver, BC, Canada. With 10+ years of experience in leadership and operations in industries that include biotechnology, healthcare, logistics, and SaaS, he applies a considerable broad scope of experience in business that lets him see the big picture. His love for data and all things revenue operations landed him this role as resident big brain for the RevOpsTeam.

A business renaissance man with his hands in many departmental pies, he is an advocate of centralized data management, holistic planning, and process automation. An unapologetic buzzword apologist, you can often find him double clicking, drilling down, and unpacking all the things.

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