Improve Your Bottom Line: Quit Managing Leads in Spreadsheets!

by Lynda Byrne

3 min read

You’ve paid for a local mailer to go out with your latest promotion, and overnight leads are flooding in. Of all the problems small businesses face, this is my favorite one!

You now have an influx of potential business emailing your team asking for quotes, but how are you tracking all these new leads? Let me guess an Excel spreadsheet?

If this is how you’re managing your leads, there’s good reason to consider using a Customer Relationship Management solution (CRM), which will give you back time and will keep potential revenue organized. After all what’s the point of spending marketing dollars if you let the resulting leads fall through the cracks?

What’s more, a CRM that integrates with QuickBooks will be the sharpest tool in your sales team’s toolkit. And when it comes to increasing your customer base, you certainly don’t want to give them anything old and rusty. After all, the “Relationship Management” portion of “CRM” begins way before a contact is even a paying customer.

Here are 3 ways getting your leads out of Excel spreadsheets and into a CRM will benefit your bottom line:

#1: No more valuable time wasted on annoying double-data entry

You didn’t set out to be an entrepreneur only to spend your nights performing administrative tasks, but that’s the harsh reality if you’re managing your leads in Excel. More importantly, the time you and your team spend on double data entry is costing you money, because it’s costing every one of you time.

But, when your team all works in a QuickBooks-integrated CRM, lead information is captured, organized, and protected all in one place. No more frantically sharing lead info through emails and spreadsheets. Your lead is input into your CRM (or even better, captured from your website portal), and an estimate is quickly created and emailed out. And when the lead becomes a paying customer, your CRM converts the lead into a customer and even turns their estimate into an invoice, all of which is reflected in your QuickBooks file.

#2: Your sales team will spend time on leads who convert

You’re doing a happy dance because your recent marketing campaign is bringing in new contacts, but your sales team is looking at the leads spreadsheet wondering who they should prioritize. Well, one of the most commonly known uses for CRMs is helping sales teams effectively manage and nurture qualified leads. And as a small team, you most definitely need to know who your “hottest” leads are so you can spend your time wisely.

Now when I say “hottest” leads, I’m not referring to how attractive your potential customer might be, but the likelihood of that lead becoming a paying customer. In a CRM, you rank leads with simple temperature terms: the ones are most likely to convert (“hot”), those who are you’re not 100% sure of their interested in your product/service (“warm”), and those who you feel won’t convert (“cold”).

#3: You’ll have a clear view of a marketing campaign’s ROI

As a small business, you probably struggled to decide where to invest your marketing budget. Years ago, it might have been difficult to measure the success of an ad campaign in fact, when I watch the show Mad Men I wonder how they accurately tracked campaign success.

While it may have worked in 1968 for Heinz Baked Beans to use advertising to cast a wide net (and hope for the best), that’s not an option for small businesses. You need to know what works and what doesn’t. And it’s not only easier to measure the success of marketing campaigns these days, it’s crucial.

In a CRM, your leads are associated with the campaigns you create for example, if you collect 200 business cards at a recent trade show, you would associate those 200 new leads with a “2014 Trade Show” campaign in a CRM. This way, you can view the overall success of your campaigns a few weeks down the road and make future marketing decisions based on real sales metrics.

Your leads are the gateway to increasing your bottom line. So, if you find yourself struggling to manage these contacts accurately and have your team serve them in a timely fashion, it might be time to retire your Excel spreadsheet and adopt a small business CRM for QuickBooks. Not only will you save time and money, you’ll increase productivity and make sure no lead is left behind!

Photo: designed by FreePik.com

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