Lead tracking, or following up, is not brain surgery. Then why do so many people make it so difficult? In the technological era that we live in, there is plenty of software, and apps, available to assist with any planning need. A lead tracking system sounds pretty straightforward enough. In sales, if you don’t follow-up with a potential lead then you may as well throw that contact out the window. And even in terms of following up, there’s a very short window of opportunity to do so. In my networking circles I see a lot of top-notch apps and assistance tools. The purpose of this article is not to point out which ones are great. Rather, this article focuses on the person doing the follow up.
We live in such a fast pace world that many sales people are forgetting a very basic function of a sales: follow up. Actually, it’s not just salespeople. How many of you have attended a wedding and have not received a simple thank you letter?
Lead Tracking System – the Nuts and Bolts
First let’s take a look at how a lead tracking system should unfold. Ideally through a connection, or networking, a potential lead is established. Information is sent to that lead based on initial conversations. Now this is where the hard part comes in. After the initial information (call, e-mail etc.) is sent, a follow-up date is entered into a lead tracking system. Then when the follow-up date arrives, the salesperson makes a follow-up call, since more information, etc. The purpose of the follow-up is to reacquaint the connection with your services and to see if the timing is right to take the conversation to the next level. If additional contact is required, more dates are entered into the tracking system. And the cycle continues until the lead is converted to a sale, or (in some cases) goes cold.
Sounds simple enough, right?
Okay so then why are so many people not following up? No matter how great the system/software is, if the person using it doesn’t do the follow-up, then it’s pretty much useless.
I worked with a very elaborate, fully automated, lead generation software. I utilized that software with a client in order to assist in converting and closing sales leads. The lead management software went as far as telling us who opened the e-mails, what they did when they open the e-mails and even what additional information they were looking for. Now there was a bit of pre-programming involved to make this fully automated. Here’s where the frustration sets in. Even though the client knew which leads wanted more information, and what additional information they wanted, my client didn’t follow up. The answer was that they were waiting for more sales material that they could send them.
Are you kidding me.
Here were hot sales leads that were literally going cold before our eyes. Was it the lead tracking system’s fault? Absolutely not. The fault was in the follow-up: in that there was none.
Tips for Establishing a Lead Tracking System
Once potential contacts are made, utilizing the lead tracking system is the easy part. You need to plan some time where you will reach out and indicate with your potential clients. That planning should include:
- your goals
- what information will be sent to your potential leads
- what is it that your potential leads can do with the information
- based on the leads action, what additional information gets sent (a lot of systems will have this automated)
- what type of notification to receive and what actions are required
- if you’re requested to follow up, then FOLLOW UP!
- schedule another action with your follow-up until they convert or become cold
- even once a lead becomes a client, it’s important that you have relevant and regular follow-up. Establishing personal notes is definitely an asset (children’s names, important dates to your client, birthdays etc.)
- be genuine – if you’re not it will be very obvious
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A lead tracking system, setup properly, can be an important assistance tool. Those that believe that the lead tracking system can do the job of closing a sale are in for a very unpleasant surprise. The lead management software is only as good as the person using it.