Before investing in a CRM system or organizing your customer base to improve the management of your customer customer acquisition or customer service processes, you’ll want to get a good handle on the foundational building blocks of your sales funnel to best manage your pipeline and your overall sales team. Although you can further describe your sales resources in infinitely granular terms, you’ll want to consider the following core concepts and common means of categorizing information and customize your CRM lead status field values.
Lead Status Best Practices – Your Core CRM Structures
Let’s start with some basic organizational parameters. Although there are many CRM tools, we’ll focus on a single CRM solution and consider lead status best practices for HubSpot; however, you can apply the same concepts to Salesforce.com or other platforms. The following organizational lead structure is a good example for a B2B organization. You might add or delete a stage or two, but I encourage you to keep the structure simple.
Group 1: Company Records
For the purpose of our B2B discussion, a customer is a “company” because your business has an economic relationship with other companies. A B2B customer is always a company. Companies pay the bills, so the primary relationship between your business and your client is between two companies. One company may have many contacts, and companies might include: prospects, customers, competitors, vendors, media contacts or others.
Group 2: Contact Records
The various stakeholders who control or influence the buying process are the contacts that you work with at the various prospect and client companies. Depending on the stage of their relationship with your company, we can then determine if they are a lead, customer, or evangelist for your brand.
Group 3: Deal Records
A deal is any revenue-generating opportunity. As soon as you identify a project or a need, you’ll want to create a deal and associate it with a company and the stakeholders associated with the deal. In some cases, you might have multiple companies associated with a deal, such as an architecture firm, a general contractor or a corporate client. In some cases, one company manages the bid process for another. Always know who your economic buyer is. That’s the entity that’s going to write you a check.
CRM Lead Status: Open or “None”
Your open lead status lets you know that nothing has happened, yet. This should bring to your attention that you have a new, unqualified lead in your pipeline that needs processing. You will need to decide how long a new lead stay in open-status before someone on your team has started working on qualifying the prospect.
Lead Status: Attempting (to Connect)
The first step in qualifying an open lead is to engage the right stakeholder (Check out this Resource for Targeting the Right Buyer Personas). Your marketing team should be enriching the contact data, for example, by using LinkedIn to review the contact’s position and add relevant information to their contact record or to add colleagues to your company record that you might also need to connect with. Enrichment is an important step in the process of qualifying a lead record with meaningful data that helps guide the appropriate sales and marketing strategies.
Save yourself some time by using your enrichment process to verify that the contact is a good fit. If not, disqualify and move on.
CRM Lead Status: Connected
Use connect status to define the stage at which you’ve made 1:1 contact with your target stakeholder. Once connected, you are then engaged in a process to qualify the lead and determine whether or not you’ve made contact with someone that has the right authority.
About Qualifying Your Lead