When sales reps log their activities and opportunities in their CRM, there is one field that data-driven sales managers will emphasize – the lead status field in Salesforce. All generated leads should always have a specific status assigned to it; without the status, managers wouldn’t be able to track their progression down the sales funnel.
Why we need to track lead status in Salesforce
For two reasons:
To generate a lead funnel that allows managers to better model out their business and scale for growth. You want to ensure your sales reps are progressing them in status – from Lead to MQL to TAL, and so forth – and not just making the calls. While all companies will have their own system and picklist options, the basic framework remains: leads come in cold, get qualified by marketing, and then get qualified by sales to turn into opportunities. If you’re using marketing automation, your system should know know when leads are converted into MQLs and alert your reps immediately. MQLs are hot commodities that should be responded to within minutes of converting.
If your reps are diligent about updating and maintaining their lead statuses, you can then take that information to model out your business and sales process. Specifically, you can start to identify bottlenecks in your lead funnel and where leads are falling out before converting to opportunities. Knowing where the leaks are is a great first step on your way toward plugging them.
To provide insights for marketing. Each time a lead falls out or is marked with the lead status “Dead,” the responsible sales rep should specify a reason – was the lead a poor demographic fit in the first place? Were they not properly qualified by marketing? Did they misrepresent some of their information?
Whatever the case, specifying the reason provides marketing with valuable feedback on how to improve their lead generation and qualification process going forward. If your reps are improperly handling the lead status in Salesforce, they’re really not helping marketing at all.
How to leverage insights from lead status in Salesforce
1) Lead Funnel report – Using all the leads that have been assigned a specific status in Salesforce, you can then model out a lead funnel report to answer two important questions:
Are my leads progressing through the stages of the funnel?
How efficiently are my leads converting into opportunities and deals?
If you generate a wealth of leads, but are only converting a tiny amount of them into opportunities, you’re wasting a lot of time, effort and money with your inefficiencies. Use this report to see where leads are falling out of leaks in the funnel. You can also track all your unconverted leads to identify the reason why they were marked “dead,” and shape your lead generation process going forward.
2) Lead Aging report – Another valuable way to turn that information collected via lead status in Salesforce is to generate a Lead Aging report. This report gives you maximum visibility into the engagement of your leads to figure out when the last activity for each lead was taken. You can then figure out:
Which leads haven’t had any or enough activity in the last X days?
How well does our team do with following up on leads promptly?
Marketing has expectations of sales that the latter will appreciate all the hard work the former does in generating leads, and subsequently that they are worked on promptly. If your reps are dropping the ball and letting valuable MQLs sit idle in the queue for a long time, that suggests an inefficient sales process and a wasting of marketing’s efforts. The Lead Aging report helps monitor and ensure that there is a smooth process for handling off leads from marketing (and marketing automation) to sales.
Can I do this within Salesforce.com?
Only if you like doing a lot of extraneous work. To generate these types of reports and analysis in Salesforce.com, sales managers will have to run daily exception reports and sift through them. Additionally, once these reports have been generated, the data has to be exported to Excel, where sales managers can expect to do a lot of pivot table work.
To get through these inefficiencies and Salesforce limitations to take advantage of all that valuable lead status data, sales managers should check out InsightSquared, which comes with several hundred pre-built reports, including both the Lead Funnel and Lead Aging reports.
Try it out, and put your knowledge of the ‘why’s’ and ‘how’s’ of the lead status field in Salesforce into use right away!