huge amount of untapped potential!

And did you know that your CRM system – the one that might be gathering dust under the pile of post-its – is a great way to convert more leads into active customers?  Here are a few quick tips that a Rep can apply to almost any CRM system to improve lead conversion rates.  We’ll call it the 3 C’s of lead qualification.

Capture Leads

Most leads are never worked because they’re not captured.  They’re on business cards, jotted down on legal pads, or in Excel sheets.  Take the time to capture those leads.  One creative Rep that we worked with paid his high school aged daughter key them into his CRM system for him weekly. 

And, if you’re like most organizations, your Marketing department may also be capturing leads – but you’re missing out because you’re not checking to see if any of those Marketing leads might be worth taking the time to follow-up on.  You can start to capture more Marketing leads for yourself by setting up a view where you can see “Marketing leads added in the last 30 days,” then set a date to go through that list twice each month.

Collaborate on Lead Management

Winning new business is often a team effort – and CRM solutions can make team collaboration easier than ever.  Here are a few ideas for how to improve how you collaborate using CRM.

  1. Check the record: Whenever you meet someone who may be a lead, check right away to see if they’re in CRM.  One of our clients reported that he met another parent at a child’s basketball game.  When he checked CRM, he found that another client had referred them to the individual a few years before.  When they met for a sales meeting, the conversation started with “you may not remember, but your friend who is the CEO of XYZ company referred us to you a few years ago,” rather than, “our kids play basketball together.”  As a result, it was an entirely different conversation and it turned into new business much more quickly than usual.

  2. View the history: Many CRM systems are set up to track a lot of history.  That might be past communications, support tickets, opportunities or even orders with payment history.  The history can tell an important story.  If there is an active support ticket and you’re about to make an important sales call, then you should take the time to be prepared to handle some potential frustration coming from the prospect.  If there is a long list of opportunities but none of them have never been won, then this may not be a good prospect to invest your time in.  By learning the prospect’s story, you can better prioritize your time and be better prepared to win the sale.

  3. Get social - internally: Many modern CRM systems also include integration with internal social tools (like Yammer and Chatter).  This is a great way to get help from your peers.  Comment on the leads that you’re most interested in to see if anyone else has any intelligence on them that can be used.

  4. Get social – externally: External social networks, LinkedIn in particular, are great sources of information about prospects; but they’re also a place to discover who else is connected to them internally.  If you’re lucky enough to have a CRM solution that links directly to external social networks, then use this to quickly see who else you know that might be connected to your best leads.  Then reach out to those individuals to gather more information and get an introduction.

Convert, Nurture or Discard Leads

A better name for this one is “keep your list of leads short” (but it goes along with our “3 C’s” theme).  The biggest reason that we see leads not getting worked is because the list of leads simply gets unmanageably long.  When a lead hits your list, your goal should be to get it out of the list within 30 days.  Most organizations have 3 different dispositions to close-out a lead:

  1. Qualified: The lead is qualified to do business with you and there is a good reason to continue the conversation immediately.  Qualify it and continue to follow-up.

  2. Nurture: The lead appears to be good, but is not qualified at this time.  Maybe they’ve talked to you and it will be a while before they are ready to work with you.  Maybe you can’t get them to return your call, but they show every sign of being a company that should one day work with you.  Set them to nurture and, if you have an engaged Marketing department, they will continue to nurture them until they raise their hand and let you know they're ready to speak further.

  3. Disqualify: They’re not qualified, and they aren’t likely to be qualified in the foreseeable future.  Maybe they’re too small to do business with you.  Maybe they’re a competitor.  Maybe they’re in an industry or location that you don’t serve.  Whatever the reason, get them out of your lead list so you can focus on what matters.

This can be a difficult process for many sales people.  You’re an optimist and you always see the potential – so you hate letting go of anything.  But a long list of leads will almost certainly destroy your productivity.  Better to stay focused on the very best and, when the list gets short, go find more leads that might be good.

No matter what shape your CRM system is in, it will almost always include the capacity to manage leads in a way that can make you more efficient, and better paid, as a Sales Rep.  Wring every bit of value out of it that you can by learning how to manage and convert your list of leads!

For more Sales Rep CRM Quick Tips, Click Here.