Whether your goal is lining up one new customer a day or one a month, having a strategy to manage customer leads will save you time and energy. This is the second of a four-part series on CRM, customer relations management. Read the first part, “Getting the Most Out of a Lead”, here.
Organizing your leads in CRM, or customer relationship management, can be a chore, especially when you have hundreds of leads. Here are a few tips to keep your leads manageable.
Create Relationship Categories
Take a look at a handful of your existing leads, and think about how you know them. Are they former colleagues or strangers? Were they a referral from an existing customer, or did you gather their contact information from the internet? Come up with five or six categories that are not too specific so they can be used for different situations. For example, “Trade Show Attendee” is a better category than “AHR Expo 2015”, so it can be used for other trade shows you’ve gotten contact information for. You can always add extra, more specific information about the lead in your notes section. One piece of advice is to not use a number or code for a category — it’s one more thing to remember.
Keep ‘Status’ Updated
The status of a lead is important. You want to know whether the lead is likely to buy your service in the near future. Use “new” for leads you haven’t contacted. Then, change the lead’s status in your CRM system as their level of interest in your service changes.
Use “met”, “engaged” or “contacted” after the first contact and are still unsure if the customer is qualified to buy. Once you believe the customer is a possibility, use a status such as “hot”, “possible” or “future”. A lead that becomes a client can have their status updated to “active”, or simply move this customer’s information into your customer database. When a lead fizzles out, change the status to “inactive” instead of deleting their information — you never know if their situation will change.
Rate the Lead’s Quality
An easy-to-use rating system can help you sort through leads that have the same status. You can rank leads using a scale of 1 to 3, or if you have many leads, 1 to 5. A rating of “1” could mean that the lead’s company is young and unstable, or has a mediocre reputation. Whereas a “5” could be used for high-volume organizations with a highly respected reputation.
Assign Leads to the Right Employee
Every employee has his or her own strengths that should be considered when assigning leads. An employee with experience in fireplaces might not be best to pitch your services to plumbers, just as experienced employees might be better pitching your services to large corporate organizations. Randomly assigning leads is also an option, but your odds of landing a new customer increase when you can match your sales person to the right prospect.
Keeping your leads organized will make reviewing your leads less of a hassle. The Service Proz Solution contains a CRM module that allows sales staff to enter contact information for your lead. Within the module, staff can type notes after every contact or “touch” with the prospect. The system shows all this information in an organized layout, for both desktop and mobile viewing.
How do you organize your leads? Tell us in the comments section.
Focus on CRM, Part 1
Whether your goal is lining up one new customer a day or one a month, having a strategy to manage customer leads will save you time and energy. This is the first of a four-part series on CRM, customer relations management.
Not every referral will turn into a sale — turning a lead into a customer takes patience and constant contact. CRM, or customer relations management, software can streamline the process, keeping track of who contacted your lead and what transpired during that conversation.
Let’s start by talking about leads, and how to make the most of one. Every customer starts out as a lead, a person who either found your business or whom you found. This prospect might have filled out an online form, or you might have been handed this person’s business card by a friend, colleague or client. He or she might be within your target demographic and might need your service, but this hasn’t been verified.
When you get a lead, consider how viable this lead is. Some considerations:
- Does this person fit your demographic?
- Is this lead located in your service area?
- Was this lead given to you by someone trustworthy?
- What is this lead’s business reputation?
- How great a need does this lead have for your service?
After verifying the information and deciding that this lead can realistically turn into a client, it’s time to make contact. For most people, it’s easier and more effective to pick up the phone and make your pitch. In today’s business work, however, it might be more effective to use softer marketing techniques, such as sending the person an email with information about your service. You might add this person to your mailing list to keep them aware of your services and offers. Show this potential customer that you’re active in your business and that your business is worth investing in.
The CRM feature of the Service Proz Solution was built for service-based businesses to organize leads. The software allows managers to import leads and then assign leads to staff. Each time you contact your lead can be cataloged in the system. We call contact with a lead a “touch”. When this lead turns into a client, the system moves the contact information over to the customer section, keeping this record with it.
What do you do with your leads? Tell us in the comments section.