Having an influx of leads who are interested in your business is certainly not a bad thing.
Well, not most of the time.
If you aren’t prepared to devote energy and attention to tracking and managing leads, you may end up leaving interested parties with a not-so-great impression of your company.
And lead tracking isn’t only important from a brand reputation standpoint. Knowing how to track sales leads effectively can help you build a more efficient sales pipeline, optimize systems to bring in even more leads from your best channels, and of course close more sales that lead to increased revenue!
If business is going so well that you need a more accessible and streamlined way to track sales leads, we’re not only thrilled for you — we’ve also got a few great solutions you can explore.
Keep reading to learn about those solutions, the reasons why lead tracking is so crucial, and how to insert your new lead tracking system into a bigger lead management workflow that will bring your business success.
What Is Lead Tracking?
Lead tracking is the name for the process a company puts into place to follow the actions of a potential customer, from the time they first make contact to the time they complete a transaction.
Effective lead tracking also keeps a record of all these actions, as well as any interactions the company initiates, so that the lead’s journey can be analyzed and optimized.
We should mention here that there are two main types of leads that a business can generate.
Outbound leads are created when marketers reach out to potential customers through cold emails, direct mail, TV ads, etc. Inbound leads are generated when marketing creates resources that draw in potential customers, like blog content and email newsletters.
There’s nothing wrong with either of these types of leads. And both or either type of lead can be tracked and managed, depending on your business goals and resources.
Why Is Lead Tracking Important?
Generating and tracking leads on a consistent basis is one of the best tools for sustaining and growing a business — large or small. Because, as we mentioned above, tracking leads isn’t only about closing sales in a more timely manner. There are plenty of other compelling reasons why every business owner and manager should consider lead tracking.
Uncover and Optimize Your Best Lead Generation Channels
Lead tracking makes it possible to tell which leads are coming from which channels (such as social, local newspaper, etc.) and which marketing methods (such as paid ads, content marketing, etc.) With this information, you’ll have all the proof you need to confidently shut down methods that aren’t worth your time and money and optimize the marketing channels that are bringing in leads for your business.
If you have a sales team, this kind of insight can also be beneficial for them. Context is essential for salespeople who need to quickly build rapport with leads as they create relationships that lead to revenue.
Understand Exactly When and How to Engage with Potential Customers
When you have your whole sales and marketing funnel clearly defined and are able to track leads as they move through it racking up points — if you’re not lead scoring yet, we’ll teach you how in the next section! — you’ll be able to pinpoint the second a lead enters your ready-to-purchase zone.
At this point, your team can seamlessly connect the lead to the best person to close the sale. There’s nothing worse than letting a hot lead languish for days before they move on to a company that they think is better suited to meet their needs promptly.
If your customer lifecycle also includes a customer support stage, having a lead-tracking process is also critical for making sure new customers are handed over to this team after converting. It’s been shown that customer service interactions are pivotal in shaping behavior — and good interactions lead to repeat purchases and brand advocacy.
Tighten Up the Cracks in Your Sales Pipeline
We’ve all had things fall through the cracks, especially when we’re trying to juggle a lot of different tasks all at once.
In a business setting, most workers are juggling several different responsibilities. So sales and marketing folks can’t be blamed for letting some leads fall through the cracks from time to time. However, really big cracks that result in really big “leaks” when it comes to leads are a problem. Think of all the money and resources you’ve spent getting those leads into your funnel in the first place!
Tracking leads can uncover whether you’ve got major gaps where leads are ending their relationship with your company — and give you a chance to develop systems that tighten up any gaps you find.
A Well-Tracked Funnel Can Be Measured and Improved
Of course, it’s hard to improve the performance of something if you aren’t able to measure its performance in the first place!
An effective lead tracking strategy gives you the power to understand where leads are coming from, how many leads are being generated, how you’re handling them, how fast they’re converting to customers, and so on. With these benchmarks in place, you’ll be able to accurately measure how projects to improve your metrics are performing.
And with benchmarks as well as reasonable goals based on those benchmarks, your business will also be better equipped to make more accurate funnel and revenue projections.
How to Track Sales Leads: 3 Steps to Basic Lead Management
Lead tracking is only one part of the equation if you wish to use leads as an element of your growth strategy. It should slot into a bigger lead management system where leads are scored on their fit with your company, then tracked using your tool of choice, and finally nurtured on their way toward a transaction.
Develop Your Lead Scoring Model
Lead scoring is all about assigning value to each of the leads you generate.
A typical lead scoring system assigns a certain amount of points to different lead activities and traits. Usually, elements that make a lead more likely to become a customer have more points associated with them. Businesses set a threshold of points a lead must reach before a salesperson touches base with them, or another action is initiated to close the deal.
For example, a lead that engages with a social media ad (an activity) but that isn’t in an industry that your company serves (a trait) will probably have a low lead score if that’s the only interaction they ever complete with your brand. On the other hand, a person who is in your industry, has downloaded an eBook that you’ve published, and even chose to be added to your email newsletter should have scored up enough points to tell sales that they’re in your target market and may be ready to deepen their relationship.
How do you come up with lead scores? There are plenty of guides on the internet, but we also recommend looking at past leads who turned into awesome customers, picking apart the behaviors and traits that they displayed, and then assigning points based on how heavily each of those traits and behaviors contributed to their engagement with you. You may even want to reach out to any customers with whom you have an especially close relationship to gain deeper insights into the things that made them a great fit for your company.
This process is essential for helping companies understand which leads should be pursued immediately, which need a little more time in the funnel, and which you might not want to spend any resources on just yet.
Choose Your Lead Management Software
Hopefully, there will come a point at which you and your team can no longer keep up with all the leads you’re generating.
That’s a good thing — it’s the goal, in fact! But it only works if you have a platform in place to help you manage and (ideally) inject automation into the process.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Platform
Customer relationship management (CRM) software exists to help companies handle their relationships with customers and, more often, potential customers.
CRMs offer a platform to operationalize all the systems you’ve built around lead tracking. With a CRM, you can eliminate the “Hey did you follow up with that person who downloaded the eBook?” Slack messages and the “Darn, I didn’t see that hot lead fast enough and they bounced!” regrets. CRM platforms create a singular source of truth from which anyone in sales and marketing can work to score leads, follow the lead nurturing path, flawlessly hand leads off to the next person in the flow, and make sure that leads are getting any follow-up treatment they need.
The hangup is that so many off-the-shelf customer relationship management platforms are built for the biggest companies they can handle, meaning they come with a lot of features, a lot of maintenance requirements, and a lot of costs.
But there is an option if you’re looking for a CRM that’s just the right size for your organization, has only the features you need, and can be tailored to align with your company’s unique branding and flows. And, it doesn’t cost nearly what you think it does.
Glide is a no-code application and website builder that anyone can use to create business tools. Pricing is easy to understand and our packages make it simple to get started, so you don’t waste any downtime sourcing or have to shell out significant funds for development resources.
With Glide, your lead data will be transformed into a beautiful platform that your team can use to store, track, and manage potential customers. Integrations with cutting-edge business software mean you can finally automate some of the manual tasks that slow down your team. Easy-to-create relationships between data points make sure you can track each interaction with a lead, assign salespeople to leads, attach lead scores, and more. And our user-friendly editor screen makes it easy to fully customize design, layout, and settings in real-time.
Get started with Glide by creating a free account, watching some of our video guides, and playing around with one of our free templates. We think you’ll find this Glide Pages CRM template especially interesting. Or, if your team is more mobile, this Glide Apps CRM template might fit the bill.
If you’re ready to dive right into creating a complex platform for your team, purchase the Advanced CRM template that was made by one of our own certified experts — who can be hired to flesh out your Glide instance if you need a little help.
Email Campaign Platform
While a build-your-own CRM platform is really the best all-around solution for tracking and managing sales leads, an email campaign platform might be a better fit if your company uses email and email only to engage leads.
For use cases like this, platforms like Mailchimp offer email marketing automation and robust tools for tracking how leads interact with those emails. If email marketing is a large part of your lead generation effort but not the only part — you can always connect the two platforms using third-party connectivity software like Zapier.
Pairing Spreadsheets with Templates
Finally we’ve reached the most no-frills option of them all in the world of sales lead tracking: spreadsheets.
Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets are two popular digital spreadsheet tools with which many businesses are familiar. And paired up with templates and guides, they can be powerful solutions for tracking leads. However, tracking is about all they can do. Spreadsheets lack vital automation capabilities, which means someone on your team will still be stuck with the job of entering and updating lead information. This introduces opportunities for human error and also fails to eliminate the manual tasks that grind down employee morale.
We don’t recommend spreadsheets for businesses that are trying to really grow their leads list. But if you’re already working with one, remember that you can easily build your Glide CRM platform around a spreadsheet. And, anytime that spreadsheet is updated, the data will also update in Glide in real-time.
Let the Nurturing Begin
Once your lead scoring and prioritization system is set up and lead data has been entered into the tracking platform of your choosing, the last step in managing leads to their fullest potential is nurturing.
Lead nurturing refers to all the actions your team takes to move prospects through the sales and marketing funnel to complete some kind of conversion. In more high-touch environments, that conversion could mean reaching out to the sales team to ask for a demonstration. For more self-serve-focused products and services, the key conversion may be completing a purchase.
Lead nurturing tactics include answering queries in a timely manner, reaching out personally with content you think would help a lead in the workplace, or enrolling a lead in an email marketing campaign that has been highly tailored to provide value for prospects that fit their persona.
The funny thing about lead nurturing is that it’s one of the most essential aspects of lead management, yet it’s also the aspect where we can provide the least guidance. The truth is that the lead nurturing process is so specific to each company. It depends on what you’re selling, who your leads are, and what sales resources you have at your disposal. Plus, lead nurturing might look different for different leads types — and you may choose to mix up your system on a regular basis just to see what works best.
What we encourage you to do when building your own lead nurturing process is to create accurate lead scoring that really prioritizes amazing fits, build a powerful CRM that helps you to monitor every step of the journey with your leads, and then experiment to find the nurturing practices that turn your already high-quality leads into loyal customers.
Build Your Sales Lead Tracking and Management Workflow Today
No matter your business size, if you have lead tracking and management goals, putting the right software in place is absolutely vital to making these goals a reality.
Get your leads flowing and your lead workflow off the ground with an affordable, customizable, and powerful CRM that can be spun up on your schedule. Get Glide.