Companies that use Salesforce to boost their sales funnel and close more deals soon discover that they need to do more than just track sales performance and create multiple pipeline dashboards. Rather, this process begins with the creation of a streamlined workflow that outlines how sales professionals should interact with leads to turn them into closed sales agreements.
Salesforce lead management functionality
Companies can track all steps of the lead management process using Salesforce, including:
- obtaining leads;
- using a scoring system to determine whether leads are ready to be sold;
- prioritizing leads and assigning them to the most qualified sales representatives;
- transforming qualified leads into sales opportunities;
- nurturing leads who aren't quite ready to buy;
- taking a look at how far lead management has progressed.
According to the rule of thumb for sales reps, any new name should be entered as a Lead in Salesforce. However, some businesses disregard this guideline and instead use the Contacts tab. Though this format is acceptable for small businesses or when a new name is obtained from an existing account, we recommend that larger businesses with a large number of leads use the recommended approach.
A basic Salesforce lead record comprises fields for each person who has expressed interest in doing business with your company. There are up to 25 fields in this record, but the most crucial ones are:
- Lead Owner;
- Lead Status;
- Lead Source.
1. Lead Owner is an individual who manages a lead. A sales rep can either designate a lead owner to each lead or put a group of leads in a queue and let the sales team decide who owns them.
2. Lead Status shows the stages of lead monitoring, allowing salespeople to keep track of the sales process and prioritize future operations.
Salesforce comes with the following lead tracking phases by default:
Salesforce allows you to change this standard list if you have a more complicated lead tracking process.
3. Lead Source displays the source of your leads. Though the Lead Source form is optional, we recommend that firms make it mandatory for sales professionals to fill it out.
Salesforce comes with the following lead source list by default:
- Customer event;
- Employee referral;
- Purchased list;
- Trade show;
Custom fields can also be added to this list. Once available, this data may be used to evaluate the return on investment of your lead-generation operations and determine whether your marketing channels are effective. You can make informed judgments about where to focus your marketing and sales efforts using this information.
When this happens, the lead in Salesforce becomes a contact (individual), account (business), and opportunity (possible sale). However, a lead can sometimes turn into contact or an account without ever becoming an opportunity. In most cases, this occurs when you don't expect any money from this particular lead right now.
Now that you know what to track in your Salesforce lead records, it's time to organize your lead management process to maximize your company's benefits. Our Salesforce experts have put together a step-by-step guide to assist you.
There are five steps to a successful Salesforce lead management process.
Obtain additional leads
The more leads you have, the more opportunities and deals you'll be able to close. You have several options for growing your lead database with Salesforce:
- Salesforce built-in functionality or Salesforce AppExchange apps can be used in automatic lead capturing. You can, for example, enable Salesforce's web-to-lead feature, which captures visitor information from the website, or installs Toucan, a Twitter client for Salesforce that can help you advertise products through Twitter campaigns and collect information about people who follow you.
- The Salesforce Data Import Wizard is used for lead import. With this service, you can ensure mass import of your leads from Excel spreadsheets or email programs like Outlook or Gmail.
- For individual leads, manual lead input works nicely.
Examine your lead records for any duplicates
The sooner you start cleaning up your lead records, the less likely your contact list will become a jumble. Salesforce duplicate leads can develop for a variety of reasons:
- The same lead may have responded to multiple marketing campaigns.
- It's possible that the same person participated in multiple events on your website (e.g., downloaded a presentation and sent a request for a proposal).
- A sales rep may have received a response to an email from someone they met at a convention.
- You bought a lead list from a third party that included contacts you already had, and so on.
So, before you create a new lead, double-check that it isn't a duplicate. If you come across many profiles for the same person, you can integrate them using Salesforce or partner data cleansing solutions from AppExchange. Furthermore, validation criteria can be used to limit the conversion of leads with missing data.
Follow the standards for lead qualifying
When you get a new lead, you'll want to figure out if they're just kicking the tires or if they have the potential to bring you revenue. As a result, a lead must pass a series of lead qualifications criteria before being converted into an opportunity. As a result, after you've decided to handle leads in Salesforce, you'll need to figure out where the leads convert so that you can develop an adequate sales pipeline later.
The following conversion options have been seen in our practice:
- Once a lead has demonstrated some interest in your company, convert them.
- Convert leads once you've set a date for a sales meeting and the prospect has shown up.
- Once a lead has reached the lead score criterion, which is determined by the degree of profile completion, convert them.
- Only convert leads after a sales representative has set a price.
According to our experience, a lead should only be converted into an opportunity when a sales representative can describe the majority of the following areas:
- a business difficulty;
- date of the deadline;
- size of the deal (amount of revenue);
- the name of the person who makes the final decision
Consider how to rank and distribute leads among sales reps
If your sales force handles leads on a first-come, first-served basis, lead queues can help you organize prospects by territory, business function, and other factors. If you create distinct lead queues for a California-based team and a Texas-based team, for example, when you add sales reps as queue members, they will only be able to choose leads from the queues to which they have access.
You can use assignment rules and assignment service to route leads to the appropriate sales agents or queues if your firm generates a lot of leads or if you just want to automate the lead distribution process. The administrator can use this functionality to designate who should receive a lead and under what circumstances. In the following example, you can utilize ZIP codes to assign leads to suitable teams to automate lead distribution.
Keep your leads going in the direction of conversion
Any sales representative's ultimate goal is to convert a lead into an opportunity or to dismiss a lead if they are not currently interested in your offer. As a result, assigning a follow-up job to Salesforce leads is a recommended practice to ensure that leads do not remain leads for an extended period of time. The queue will only contain the "freshest" leads that need to be followed up on right away when done correctly. We recommend that you follow the following simple rule: If a lead isn't converted within two weeks, it should be marked as “unqualified” and removed from the list of active leads. This time period can, however, be adjusted to fit your specific sales strategy.