Managing leads and lead sources is an essential element of what the best sales organizations do with their Salesforce.com CRM. Carefully managing leads before they convert into accounts, contacts and opportunities can result in a more streamlined selling process, with sales reps working more productively and efficiently. Sales managers want to look at Salesforce reports that separate good leads from the bad, rather than reports that just dump every available lead in an unorganized fashion. Therefore, defining and managing your Salesforce lead status should be a critical aspect of your sales process.
Every lead should be assigned a specific status, depending on what state they are in. The picklist of statuses on Salesforce.com is customizable, depending on how your sales process is set up. Many organizations have a basic framework, whereby leads are nurtured (with educational materials, webinars, and other relationship-building practices) before becoming qualified by Marketing (MQLs), the teleprospecting team (Teleprospecting Accepted/Qualified Leads or TALs/TQLs) or disqualified altogether. Leads that have been rendered dead or tagged as duplicates should not be clogging up your pool of leads. Direct your team to assign a status to each lead before moving on to the next one.
The management of your Salesforce lead status should be a critical component of your selling process for two primary reasons. For starters, having an organized set of statuses helps sales managers map out their selling process, with a clear visualization and outlined methodology for the path that leads take on their way to becoming converted opportunities. With each step, your sales rep has to assign a different status to the lead – they are either progressing with forward momentum or stalling into negative velocity, and the latter group should be purged.
Another reason that your Salesforce lead status is so important is because sales managers need to separate their leads by queues or buckets for more effective sales organization. Sales managers can use this capability to sort through all leads in a specific status, such as MQLs or leads that have already been connected with. They can then use a Lead Aging report to see the age of engagement with each of these leads – perhaps some leads are remaining in an unconnected status because reps haven’t engaged with them in more than three weeks! When sales managers create queues based on lead status in Salesforce, they can help reps prioritize their efforts more efficiently. An outbound calling team that is trying to figure out who to call can simply be directed to a pool of leads that have not been qualified and have not been engaged with in some time.
Assigning a Salesforce lead status helps separate the good from the bad among your pool of leads, while mapping out your selling process and streamlining your outbound calling and sales teams’ efforts. Implement a system that emphasizes assigning a lead status on Salesforce, and use Lead Funnel and Lead Aging reports to gain actionable insight on the productivity and effectiveness of each of your leads and lead sources.