How to Organize Cold Prospects, Leads and Customers
It is important to make a clear distinction between cold prospects, leads and clients. Let's look at how to optimize your sales prospecting.
Last update on October 18
Prospects, sales leads and customers represent three important stages in your business cycle. If sales reps can turn unqualified prospects into hard sales leads and then convert them into customers, it’s fair to say that they have done their job.
Managing all three can be tricky, however. Especially managing large lists of prospects and sales leads, which often tend to be larger than your customer base. If you don’t have a system in place to seperate prospects and navigate sales leads through the pipeline, you’re likely to hit a stumbling block.
The lists become messy, and it can be hard to keep track of who is a prospect and a hard lead. There is no clear process and the result will likely see you losing out on opportunities.
The goal of this post is to show you how to manage prospects, turn them into hard sales leads before converting them into customers.
By following a few simple rules, you can close more deals and increase your customer intake, with a easy to follow sales process.
As previously mentioned, there are prospects, leads and clients: those not yet qualified, qualified sales leads and existing clients. Let’s take a look in more detail.
Unqualified prospects are targets that you haven’t yet spoken to. You don’t know if there is a need on their side for the product. Nor do you know if there will even be interest in what you are selling, although you believe there might be.
The first step is to qualify these prospects. You need to contact them and obtain enough information to understand if it’s worth sending them more details about your products and services.
At this stage, it’s important to forget about the prospects that aren’t interested and the ones who don’t meet your customer profile. You and your salespeople have a limited amount of time and should focus on the most promising opportunities.
Focus on prospects that have a clear need and a budget
Unqualified generally come from a marketing database, which you may have used to look for companies of a certain size or from a targeted area. No matter how much information you obtain from databases, the key aspect is to find out the prospects need and whether they have the budget.
Maximize Lead Creation
If you create too many low-quality leads in the system, you are taking the risk of diluting serious opportunities. You don’t want to miss out on real chances to close a deal.
As a way of dealing with such an issue, many companies split their sales teams into two separate units. One side consists of staff who are responsible for cold calling/prospect qualification. On the other side, you will find people responsible for closing deals of identified opportunities.
For this purpose, in no CRM.io, when you create a lead from a prospecting file, you can choose to assign it to another salesperson.
Qualified prospects might be targets that have successfully passed the first filtering process. Or perhaps they are prospects where you have enough information to decide if there is a need for your product.
Not all sales leads will necessarily come from a previous prospecting file. There are plenty of other possible origins:
- People that you have met at an event and exchanged business cards with
- Visitors to your website that have filled out the contact form or have requested a quote
- People you have been introduced to by someone you already know
- Members of your network
- And, of course, all the incoming calls and emails
Managing more than 100 leads is difficult
Salespeople's tasks centre around leads. Once there is an identified need and some financial resources, how do you turn the them into a customer? Now is the time to act on the lead and move it through your entire sales process -- so you can take the time to configure inside the application.
One of the strengths of noCRM.io is its ability to force the next action on each lead. There is always a next step with only two possibilities: “to do now”, where you can find the lead in the ‘To-Do’ tab. Or “to do later” , where it will automatically move from “Standby” to the “To-do” tab when the time comes.
Always Have a Next Step
This may seem like a constraint, but it’s a positive aspect of the software. no CRM.io helps you manage your next step and does not force you to create a “To-do” manually. Every time you create a new lead, it automatically goes into “To-do” mode. The only way to change it is to set up a new action in the future or to close a the lead by either winning or losing the deal.
Another strength of the application is the “pipeline view”, which allows you to have a complete overview of your leads in a single screen. With “pipeline view”, you can decide which lead you will to work on first. Move it from one step to another with a simple drag and drop action.
Clients or customers are at the heart of most CRM systems - which sounds logical as it’s about customer relationship management. But when it comes to sales, customers are over-represented in traditional software. Once a lead is won, their value to a salesperson decreases, unless there is an opportunity to sell something else.
Salespeople Love Closing Deals; Not Managing Customers
The importance of the client concept depends strongly on the type of product you’re selling. Can you sell the same service to your client again? Can you persuade them to buy additional products, or is it a one-shot transaction? In this scenario, the only thing that is important is the possibility of selling them something else.
In no CRM.io, you can’t create clients; you can only create “Client folders”. These allow you to stock all your leads that are currently with or will be with a particular client. As no CRM.io's aim is to make sales people’s life easier by reducing the number of fields they have to fill in, they should only create “Client folders” if there are at least two leads with the same client. Until then, the lead contains enough information.
Thanks to those “Client folders”, you have a complete view of all your previous exchanges with a specific client, raising the probability of closing every new deal.
“Clients folders” are also ** helpful for managing renewals**. When you win a lead, you’re able to create a copy of it that sits in the “Client folder” and stay on “Standby” until the renewal time arrives. In fact, every time you choose to duplicate a lead, the system suggests that you fluidly create a client folder.
Managing Your Prospects in no CRM.io
In no CRM.io, these prospects are stored inside the “Prospecting files”, which are full online editable spreadsheets. In one page you can group an important number of prospects, edit, sort and choose which order you’re going to contact them.
Once the first contact is established, you can strike them off if there is no interest or turn them into qualified leads by clicking on the (+) button at the beginning of each row.
A common mistake consists of importing an Excel file or a Google Spreadsheet, then turning each row into a lead. This is not how it should be done. You should only have a reasonable amount of leads -- Real leads. Select an amount that **a normal human being can handle in a personalized way.
Check out CRM Excel: Which CRM should you choose as an Excel replacement?
We hope this post has helped you understand both [noCRM.io’s philosophy and the way you should structure your sales process around prospecting files, leads and client folders.
If you’re not yet a client of no CRM.io, now is the right moment to start your free trial (see below)Cold prospects leads and clients
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