This is an excerpt from my second book, Managing the Sales Process, available on Amazon.com. You can find a series of these excerpts in a dedicated blog category to get a broad overview, post-by-post, of the book (they are listed in reverse order in the category, so start with the oldest).

From Chapter 4 – Metrics around lead generation

I don’t usually prescribe entering all leads into the CRM. This can result in wasted administrative time and bloated CRM’s. Say, for example, that a salesperson is using a trade show directory as a lead source. It is not necessary to enter every name first. What might be more useful is to simply enter the name when a conversation has been held. Before the first conversation, there is very little to track, and the specific names may not be needed to track what can or should be tracked at this stage.

The most important metric at this stage is the result: How many new prospects or opportunities are being developed as a result of working with leads.

Work with leads can also be measured as raw numbers without being connected to a specific contact. A simple spreadsheet or function inside of the CRM can track how many times the phone was dialed, how many people were spoken to, and how many of them were the correct contact person. When correct contacts are reached and there is some next step in the sales process, they can be put into the CRM. By tracking either the effort or the result, it can be determined whether or not new business is being actively pursued by each salesperson.

Salespeople rightfully may argue that they get most of their new business from existing customers. In this case, tracking new opportunities is a good way to make sure that the source of leads (existing customers) is being used to generate new business, not just to fill space in the database while the salesperson waits for the phone to ring.

On the other hand, one reason to consider entering all leads into the CRM, by name or at least as raw numbers, is to track the effectiveness of different lead sources. If you put 1000 leads from a trade show into the CRM, 400 leads from an advertisement, and 2500 purchased leads from a lead broker, the CRM can help you determine which lead source is the most effective. You simply will use the ratio of leads to prospects to determine the effectiveness of each lead source. Later on, you can track leads against proposals, closes, and booked revenue to establish the relative value of each lead. The lead from the trade show may be much more expensive than the lead from the lead broker, but it may yield much higher conversion ratios and/or revenue. This highly useful information can also be obtained by making sure that a pre-populated lead source field is associated with each record and campaign to help get to this information without the need for data entry of all leads before the contact attempts.

Another reason to track all leads in the CRM is to ensure that multiple salespeople don’t call the same leads. This can cause several problems, from a dispute about which salesperson “owns” which leads to a prospect that is turned off, to an unhappy company because different people keep calling. All this appears terribly disorganized.

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Authors note (AKA shameless plugs)

So, this 7-step sales process and associated topics…. Yup, I write about that a lot. I’ve been working with it since I developed it about 25 years ago – in my own diverse work experiences, with my teams when I had them, and with clients ever since.

If you would like to develop you own personalized and customized, highly effective and efficient B2B selling system, here are some further steps you can take:

The Salesman’s Guide to Dating is a free or very cheap (depending on Amazon) Kindle book that walks you through the sales process using the familiar analogy of dating. It’s a good, fun and quick way to get your mind around the whole process and how the pieces fit together.

Building Your Sales Process (BYSP) is a free and very thorough exploration of the same 7-step process that will walk you through the development of your own customized, personal B2B selling system. When you are done, you will know exactly what to do to get new business.

The Momentum Selling System® is an inexpensive but very robust online sales training course that is similar to BYSP, but goes deeper into the concepts behind each of the steps, and also helps you develop a plan not only for the 7-step process but also addresses mindset, repeat business and client base management.

If none of that sounds right, I do personal coaching and offer a free 30-minute intake session so that we can both learn if it makes sense to work together 1-on-1. If this sounds interesting, click over to the coaching page on this site and sign up for the free session.

Here’s to your success!

-David