A salesperson has contact with many people throughout the day. They may be leads or prospects, current clients, retailers, distributors or suppliers. Keeping track of customers and sales leads is of the utmost importance, as losing track of them can lose sales that can make or break a business. Entrepreneur Magazine contributing writer Greg Anderson says that any company looking to increase revenue must implement a lead management program as a fundamental business process.
A sales lead tracking system must be able to efficiently and easily keep track of many different pieces of information. Reference information includes the sales lead’s name, contact information, source of the lead and any information about the lead’s company or business. Document information might include any proposals, letters and notes of conversations or emails that have been exchanged. Calendar information will include dates of previous contact as well as reminders for future contact dates.
Manually tracking sales leads is a bit more complicated than using an automated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, but it can be just as efficient. For truly manual tracking, use a combination of index cards, file folders and a calendar.
The index cards should hold the contact information for the lead. Future contact dates will be put on the calendar and documents will be stored in the file folders. The file folders can be stored in one file drawer alphabetically by last name or name of the business. Use the same filing system to file the index cards in three small boxes marked green, yellow and red. Put new leads in the green box. Leads that you actively are working should be stored in the yellow box, and dead leads that you still contact annually should be stored in the red box.
Once a lead shows promise and you have at least sent a proposal and had positive feedback, you should convert it from a lead to a potential prospect. Continue to use the same calendar and document filing system, but start a new box to file the index cards for the prospects.
At this point, finances come into play. For your prospects, you will want to keep one master ledger of how much you think the prospect will spend with you, when you think you can close the sale and the probability of the sale actually happening. This will give you a good idea of future sales income and how close you are to meeting sales goals.
This same system can be mimicked on a computer using a calendar function, such as the one included with Microsoft Outlook. Document storage can be in file folders much like the paper files. The information on the index cards can be duplicated on a spreadsheet or database program. For prospects, the sales goals and income should be tracked on a spreadsheet.