Generating leads and acquiring new customers is the lifeblood of every organization. Many organizations believe that satisfied customers and referrals are their best sources of leads. That’s certainly a sound principle and something to strive for but unless you’re measuring and tracking where your leads are coming from, this belief is anecdotal and little more than company lore.
Get the Facts
In general, leads are generated by many sources: marketing, self-generated by sales, or referrals from clients, employees, vendors, and business partners. Without thoughtful plans and campaigns to engage with and cultivate these lead sources, it’s easy to lose control over what lead source works best and your ability to meet goals.
Give some thought to these best practices, and you’ll quickly see gaps that need to be addressed.
- Set expectations for how many leads you want to generate by source. You can take this a step further and set monthly goals for marketing or by sales rep for each type of lead.
- Communicate these expectations to your sales, marketing, and customer service teams. If they don’t know what you’re shooting for, they can’t align their day-to-day efforts with what’s needed to meet your goals.
- Create marketing campaigns and conduct outreach for engaging with each group, from social media and event marketing to SEO and traditional inbound marketing programs.
- Track, measure, and analyze your results. It’s the only way to measure campaign success and know whether your leads are coming from expected sources, and to the degree you expect.
Track and Measure in CRM
- Establish your primary lead sources within CRM. In addition to traditional sources such as trade shows, banner ads, SEO and referrals, be sure to include marketing campaigns so you can measure their overall effectiveness and tweak as needed to improve future results.
- Consider creating deeper levels of detail for activities that produce large numbers of leads. For example, Referrals could be broken down by customer, vendor, and business partner. Likewise, Trade Shows could include major shows that are a significant part of your event marketing strategy. To add insights to your analyses, CRM will aggregate this information in total and from a specific source.
- Establish your goals by lead source by entering the expected number of leads for each source.
- Associate every new account or contact entered in CRM with a specific lead or campaign source.
The proof around your efforts is identifying which lead source tracks best from opportunity through to sale.
Act to Improve Results
The CRM analyses of the above data are simple and straightforward and provide many opportunities to put their results to good use.
- Awareness. Now that you know the number of leads by lead source, does this data support the company lore? How do actual leads per lead source align with your lead generation goals? With a clearer understanding of your sources of new revenue, you can budget and plan to capitalize on those markets, and develop strategies to further penetrate others.
- Analysis. As you analyze results over time, is there a particular lead source that consistently generates the most leads? If so, what are you doing to nurture and exploit this market? And what does it mean if you have no leads in a particular category at the end of the quarter? Were there any recent marketing activities targeted to that group? Is it possible your product no longer meets that group’s needs? Dig deeper. Find the trends. Then create solutions to refine and improve lead generation and sales results.
- Conversion. You’re pleased with the number of leads generated, but few are converting to sales. Are sales reps following up later than appropriate or not at all? Because CRM provides a single, detailed look at customer and prospect activity, you can quickly see what actions have taken place since the lead was added to CRM. Take advantage of this opportunity to tighten sales processes or conduct refresher training to make sure sales reps understand your expectations.
Apply these best practices to gain control over lead generation and improve its effectiveness in helping your find your best customers. To get the most value from Microsoft Dynamics, consider InfoGrow’s personalized
Bob Sullivan - President, InfoGrow, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner