Deciding how to manage leads can be tricky, and the end result often turns out to be more complicated than it should be. While the mechanics underlying the technology, customization, and automation of your marketing efforts can become extremely complex, it’s important to keep lead management super easy and streamlined on the surface for the sake of the sales reps.

Fields & Page Layouts

Simplicity is key when designing Salesforce page layouts, pick lists, and required fields. Sales reps are notorious for dodging their Salesforce duties – after all, they should be selling – but you’ll need their cooperation to get the data you want. You may have to pick and choose which data points you most desperately want, but don’t make more than 3-4 fields required, and definitely put them at the top of the page.

Lead Source

Very few companies need 30+ lead sources. The purpose of the Lead Source field is to capture high level data to put into reportable buckets. 10-15 options for Lead Source should do the trick. This field is a great one to require. You can certainly get more granular but the Lead Source field is not the place to do it. Two good options to use for more specific detail are:

  1. Create an open text field called Lead Source Detail. There’s an off-chance the reps might fill it in, but more importantly you can include it with your import files. For example, say you’ve got an Excel (or.csv) list of attendees from an event that you want to import into Salesforce. Lead Source would simply be “Event.” Naturally you’d like to know which event, so add a field to the file called Lead Source Detail. In this new detail field put in the actual name of the event. Upload your file as usual, and be sure to map Lead Source Detail. If it’s named the same in Salesforce, it should auto-map, but double check just to be sure.
  2. Another alternative that you can use is campaigns, which is an obvious choice because it ties in with Pardot. Create a campaign in Salesforce with the name of the event or other specific source you want to track. Additionally, create a segmentation list in Pardot with the same name, and use Pardot automation rules to add the attendees to the Pardot list and the Salesforce campaign. Then get to tracking!

Lead Status

Sales reps do not want to spend much time updating Lead records in Salesforce, so make it as quick for them as possible. Lead Status is a vital field for reporting and understanding the effectiveness of your sales process, but it’s easy to get carried away with the pick list options. Too many options are only going to hurt you, as folks will tend to just ignore it and bypass all the careful planning you’ve put into defining the sales process. It’s best to keep Lead Status as minimal as possible. More than five statuses is too many and will only be neglected or faked. Ideally, three statuses should be all you need:

  • Open: For leads that need to be worked, either new or in progress. Instead of using “New” as a status, consider using an automated checkbox to track that. Reps like seeing new leads, but they don’t like having to change the status just because they left a voicemail.
  • Qualified: For converted leads. It’s best to define qualification and lead conversion as early and as thoroughly as possible.
  • Disqualified: Not interested, bad phone, budget is “out of range,” or otherwise no good. Sure, track the details of why it didn’t work out, but do it in a dependent pick list called Disqualified Reason.

There are many more tips to come in Part Two of this series, Optimizing Your Lead Flow. We welcome your questions! Feel free to send feedback to jennifer@cheshireimpact.com, or tweet us at @CheshireImpact!