Manage leads and deals
Generating leads and monitoring them as they progress through the sales pipeline is a key component of sales tracking.
Having an organized pipeline management system in place allows both you and your reps to track your leads at every step of the sales funnel. This makes it much easier to figure out exactly when to reach out to prospects with the right message at the right time.
It also helps you identify who your leads are, where they're coming from and where exactly they lie in your sales pipeline, all of which help salespeople to make informed decisions.
Here are some key metrics involving leads and deals that sales managers should be tracking.
Effective lead management starts with knowing exactly who you’re dealing with. The first part of your sales tracker should contain basic information about your lead.
Whenever a prospect shows interest in your business, such as by registering for a webinar or subscribing to your newsletter, make sure you get some basic information that you can use to get in touch with them at a later stage.
This may include:
- Contact name
- Email address
- Company name
- Job title
Most companies only ask for a name, email address and company name in their opt-in forms. But you can also use additional fields to gather more detailed information that helps you further qualify sales leads.
In your sales tracking spreadsheet, you should also be able to record the acquisition channel, or source, of each lead.
Here are some major lead sources that may be applicable to your business:
- Website. Most organic leads are generated from a company’s website. Make sure your website has high-quality content that clearly communicates your features and solutions, customer testimonials and contact information.
Example: If a potential customer is searching for a solution, finds your website and decides to get in touch through the contact form, then the lead source is your website. You may also have a chatbot to capture leads, like the one available as part of Pipedrive’s LeadBooster add-on.
- Social media. Leads coming in from social media are usually in an early stage of the customer journey. They’re either browsing to see what others say about your business or want to know how your solution can help them.
Example: If a lead interacts with your company’s link on their social media to download an eBook, then the lead source is social media.
- Referrals. Potential customers may hear about you from other websites or your previous clients and get in touch to find out more. Referrals are the best source for high-quality sales leads as they already have some level of trust in your business.
Example: If a lead interacts with your business through a link on another company’s website, then the lead source is a referral.
If your business uses multiple channels for sales opportunities, this information can help your sales team identify the most effective and ineffective sources.
For instance, you may realize that you’re spending a chunk of your budget on paid search ads, but acquiring most of your leads through Facebook and LinkedIn. In this case, you may want to modify your budget and strategy to focus more on social media than paid search ads.
While managing your leads and deals, it’s also important to keep track of where a prospect lies in the sales pipeline.
Here are a few lead statuses that may be applicable to your business and what they indicate:
- Open. New leads who have yet to be contacted.
- Attempting contact. A rep has done their research and is in the process of getting in touch with the lead.
- Contacted. A sales rep has had a conversation with the lead.
- Working on a new opportunity. A new opportunity with a lead has been identified and is being worked on.
- Closing. Leads engaged in final negotiations.
- Deal won. Leads who have successfully converted into customers.
- Deal lost. Leads who have rejected your product due to some reason, such as price, lack of features, etc. (try to tackle these sales objections before you get to a late stage so you don’t waste time on potential customers you will lose regardless)
- Disqualified leads. Leads who are never going to make a purchase because they do not fall into your target audience.
Monitoring the updated status of each lead helps salespeople organize and adapt their long-term strategies as well as day-to-day sales activities.
Salespeople should also keep track of the deal size so they’re aware of how valuable each lead is to the company. It can help you identify and distinguish high-value clients from the rest, so that you can adjust your focus and message accordingly.
It can also help you monitor the performance of your reps, especially if the deal size they land largely depends on their selling skill and technique.
Chance of sale
As you make progress with a lead, you’ll gradually learn how likely they are to make a purchase.
For example, there's a higher chance that you’ll end up making a sale if the decision-maker in a business has shown interest in your product or service. However, your chances may be thin if your point-of-contact is not the decision-maker and has to consult their boss to make a purchase.
It’s a good idea to mention the chance of sale, or probability, as a percentage. This helps you identify leads who are most likely to convert and keeps you from wasting time on leads who might never buy from you.
Forecast close date
Adding the estimated close date for each lead helps your sales reps stay focused and stick to a timeline. Ideally, reps should work on a deal for only a specified amount of time—as close to the average time it takes your team to close a deal as possible.
If the deal fails to go through, they should put it on pause and make a note to strategically follow up as needed. You should make this decision with your reps, as some deals that are more complex naturally take longer than others and will vary on a case by case basis.
Adding forecasted close dates to deals before assigning them can also help you keep track of your reps’ performance.