Updated by Haylee Benton
The complete guide to the Sales Leads feature and how to get more from your sales pipeline
Covered in this article:
- What are Sales Leads?
- What is a pipeline?
- Sample pipeline
- Adding new Sales Leads
- Managing your Sales Leads
- Tracking your performance
A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is an essential component of managing a business that deals with customers.
Many small business owners mistakenly believe that a CRM system is only a tool that large companies need or can justify. In reality, a CRM can be one of the most important tools a small business can implement - even a one person operation.
How many times have you written a note to follow up with a prospective customer on a Post-It Note, only to lose it an hour later, aggravating the customer, and potentially missing the sale?
Think of a CRM as a central repository for all of your customer data and interactions, from initial contact through closing the sale.
A good CRM keeps track of communication with the customer, keeps records of what they want or need, and reminds you to stay in contact with them and follow up on submitted proposals. This ensures the best possible experience from the client’s perspective, and a high potential of closing the sale for you.
A CRM takes the place of all of those Post-It Notes, chicken-scratch napkins, and “while-you-were-out” note pads that you have lying around the office.
It centralizes all of that information into an easy to use system that’s always at your fingertips, and never accidentally gets thrown away on accident.
A key component of shopVOX, our Sales Leads feature is the front end of our CRM.
You’ll enter all of your incoming sales leads information here, track it through your workflow stages that are customized to your selling process, set reminders to never let a prospect fall off your radar, and close more sales.
What are Sales Leads?
Sales Leads are simply opportunities that you're tracking.
Use Sales Leads to manage your prospects:
- Could be a large electrical signage project worth $35k.
- May be a 100 t-shirt project for the local high school.
- Might be a contractor who had an entire fleet of vehicles he mentioned he’d like to wrap.
There's an old saying that what gets measured gets managed.
When we were creating shopVOX, a lot of shops we talked to didn’t have a formal process for following up with leads.
Their current process often looks like this.
- Potential customer Tom calls the shop because he found your website.
- The employee who answers the phone takes their contact details and writes down a description of the project.
- They place a note on the salesperson's or estimator's desk - where it may sit for two hours or two days.
- Occasionally these Post-it notes or scraps of paper get lost in the shuffle.
- Someone finally picks up the note, creates a Quote, and sends it to the customer (which by then may be too late to win the job or the customer is frustrated because it's taken so long).
Does this sound familiar to you? In addition to the above, this clunky paper process doesn't give anyone in the company the ability to track incoming Leads and Lead Sources or apply any metrics such as conversion rate, lost opportunities, etc.So instead of Post-it notes, stacks of paper, and a never ending email inbox,,,track your Leads in shopVOX.
Why should you be using Sales Leads?
Our Sales Leads tool is a simple way to measure your sales process and ensure no prospects fall through the cracks.
Assign your sales reps for follow-up, track their activities, and win more deals.
You do want more work, right?
Where does the Sales Lead fit into the process?
It is a new opportunity and typically starts from the first date of contact with the customer.
- A Phone call into your shop.
- An Email to someone on your team.
- A Walk-In.
- An Inquiry from your Website Contact Form (this can be integrated to put the contact form data directly into Sales Leads). Learn more about integrating your website Form to shopVOX.
Got everything you need to quote a project?
You should skip straight to creating a Quote.
You can add follow up calls (Tasks), Notes, and Files (Assets) to Quotes as well as Sales Leads.
And you can set different statuses for Quotes to determine where you are in the process.
What is a Pipeline?
Your Sales Pipeline is a visual way to track your sales prospects and where they're at within your process.
A pipeline is made of Stages that you customize to fit your process.
How do I add a Pipeline?
Pipelines are found in the Account Settings >> Pipelines menu.
Here is a sample pipeline to get you started with a short explanation of each stage. If you're having trouble, you can use this specific process. But the real power comes in when you customize the pipeline to fit your sales process.
This stage is exactly as it reads - it is a signal that a new Lead has entered your pipeline. This could be from any source such as, your website, a referral, cold call, etc.
Usually if a Lead is generated by your own marketing efforts, then it will need to be assigned to a Sales Rep. So the New Lead stage is a signal for the Sales Manager to make that assignment.
Once your Sales Manager makes that assignment, they should move the lead to the Assigned stage by simply clicking the Stage.
This stage means that the Lead has been assigned to one of your Sales Reps and they should begin following up. They’ll be able to see the customer and contact details in the Details tab on the right hand side.
Once they've made contact and have the details from the potential client, they should progress the Lead to the Contacted stage.
It is also important to add Notes to keep things straight, and keep the team informed.
This stage means that the Lead has been contacted, and the Sales Rep has gathered all the info they need, and the project is ready to be quoted.
Depending upon the estimating process in your shop, the Sales Rep may prepare their own Quote, or assign a Task for the Estimator to prepare the Quote based on the details that have been gathered.
Once quoted, the Lead is moved to the Quoted stage.
Assign a Task for someone else to estimate
Add a Quote
This is the last stage in the actual sales process. It means the Quote has been sent to the customer. It is recommended that the Sales Rep follow up until they get a response from the client.
If you win the Quote, then the Sales Rep will convert the Quote to a Sales Order and marked the Lead as WON.
If the client decides not to move forward with the Quote, the Quote should be marked as LOST. Also the Lead should be marked as LOST in order to remove it from the pipeline.
This stage is not a part of the sales process. It is a placeholder for deals that may be on hold. For example, maybe the client has decided to put the potential project off for several months.
Rather than marking this Lead as Won or Lost, you can make sure it stays on the radar for the Sales Reps to check in on occasionally.
When should we use multiple pipelines?
Using multiple pipelines may be useful in several situations:
- You sell different products that need their own stages in the sales process. Let’s take electrical signs vs. decorated apparel as an example. Projects like channel letters have a longer, more structured sales process when compared to selling screen printed t-shirts.
- If you sell to different industries that have vastly different sales processes. For example, working with government contracts involves a lot more work than selling to a small business down the street.
It's not a good idea to use multiple pipelines in these cases:
- To categorize your prospects by their geographic location or industry type or similar criteria.
- To separate by salesperson (it's already done automatically by the Sales Rep field).
In short: only create multiple pipelines if the stages in the process are different.
What should we name each stage in our pipeline?
Here are some tips for setting up your pipeline for success:Use the past tense.
To make sure everyone within your team understands all stages, and can sort Leads into the right stage, make sure you use past tense when creating new names.
Example: Site Survey Completed instead of just Site Survey; otherwise it's difficult to understand whether the Stage is completed or needs to be completed.
Create stages that match your customers' buying process.
It’s important to consider your customer's journey when setting up your pipeline stages - how do they buy from you? What steps need to happen in the process? That is usually the best way to outline your own selling process.
Update the stages later.
Sometimes with new tools we have a tendency to over-complicate things. Sales Leads is a simple, easy to use tool - so keep it that way.
Do not overthink it.
Start small. It’s super simple to change the stages in your pipeline later - if you find out your current stages are confusing, or you need to add a new one.
Managing your leads properly
Marking Leads as Won/Lost
Marking Leads as Won or Lost is an important part of your sales process.
You're only as good as the information that you have in the system - so it is important that you keep that information up-to-date whenever possible.
Tracking your progress
Eliminate data entry with our integrations
At shopVOX, we use a lot of automation to eliminate repetitive tasks and free up our time. You can do the same for your shop.
When it comes to entering your Sales Leads into shopVOX, there are two automations you can use to save yourself a little data entry.
Web form integration
With our web form integration, any prospects who submit the contact form on your website will automatically be added as a Sales Lead in your shopVOX account.
Learn more with this video below.
We have two options available.
- Do It Yourself
If you're comfortable working with code, you can actually set up the Sales Leads integration on your website by yourself.
It is not very difficult but it's helpful to have some experience with HTML and CSS.
- Done for You
The other option is to have our team create the form for you. We charge $250 for this service and all you have to do is copy and paste the code that we send you into your website.
If you're interested in this option, please send an email to email@example.com.
Zapier is a tool that connects multiple web apps together to send data back and forth - without relying on a developer to write code.
You might be using some tool like JotForm, FormStack, Typeform, Gravity Forms, or similar as a contact form for your website. Or maybe you’ve got a Quote form to capture some more details from clients.
Using Zapier you can send the data collected from those tools and automatically create a sales lead within your shopVOX account. All without the need to involve a costly developer.
Zapier has a free plan that include 5 Zaps (zaps are connections between web apps).
The lowest paid tier starts at $20 a month.
You can integrate your shopVOX account with Zapier using this link.
How are Pipelines and Workflow Templates related?
The Pipeline is used exclusively for the Sales Lead feature. Pipelines are used to track your process before you’ve created a Quote and sold the work. Workflow Templates are used to track and measure the production of your jobs after you’ve sold the work.
They are similar views but each serve two different purposes.
How should I handle design mockups during the sales process?
This is highly dependent upon your individual shop.
Ideally you're not doing any artwork or design work until you got a confirmed order and a deposit. This is how shopVOX was designed.
But we do realize that sometimes you have to put together a mockup or concept to win the job.
The simplest, most-efficient way to handle this scenario is to simply assign a Task for your designer from within the Sales Lead.
The Sales Lead will have already have your Notes and any files from the customer you’ve uploaded to Assets. And the Task notification will include a link directly to the lead.
If you want to use the online proofing review feature at this point in the game, you could create a job for it and assign that to your designer. But that's not what we recommend, and it will muddy up your job board with paid and unpaid work.
Why is there a Sales Rep AND an Assigned To on a Sales Lead? What would be an example of when the Sales Rep and Assigned To might be different for a Sales Lead?
You'll notice two fields when creating Sales Leads, Sales Rep and Assigned To.
By default, both are set to the primary sales rep for a customer / contact. So when you choose a Sales Rep for a lead, it will add them to the assigned to field as well.
The question is when would these be different?
One example could be that the Sales Rep is away on vacation so we’re assigning this to someone else while he’s gone. In another scenario maybe this project is a special project and requires someone else who has more specialized skills to handle it.
Is there a way for me to Auto-Schedule my Marketing/Follow-up Activities? i.e., Follow-up Email 2 days out, Phone Call 1 week out, etc.?
Currently, we don’t have any automations to auto-schedule these follow-up activities.
However, the Next Contact Date field is used as a follow up reminder. If no action is taken on a Sales Lead before that date - shopVOX will flag it as No Contact on the MyVOX dashboard. Click the link to get details of all the Leads.
Use this as your reminder to follow-up.
Can I create and track Marketing Campaigns?
shopVOX does not have built in email-marketing campaigns like MailChimp, Constant Contact, or others.
Rather than building our own email marketing software, and potentially getting away from what we do best, we'd rather make it easier for you to work with those tools.
You can use our Customers Report – Contacts to prepare a list of your contacts in a CSV format. You will be able to import that directly into MailChimp or any other email marketing software that you're using.
Putting together other marketing campaigns outside of email, like direct mail or telemarketing?
We recommend that you add a Lead Source for each of those campaigns. You can do that from Account Settings >> Categories within your company menu.
Do any Notes I create on a Sales Lead transfer to the Quote?
Yes, any Notes that you add to a Sales Lead will transfer to the Quote, when the quote is first created.
But there is one caveat ...
Once the Quote is created, any Notes that you add to the Sales Lead WILL NOT transfer to the Quote.
So once the Quote is created, make sure that you're adding your notes to the Quote and not the Sales Lead.
If the Customer Approves a Quote, does it automatically mark the Lead as Won?
Currently, if the customer approves a Quote and you convert it to an order, the Sales Lead is NOT automatically marked as WON.
The reason for this? There could be multiple Quotes that link to one Sales Lead - and the details between them could have changed significantly.
What is Deal Value? And how should it be used?
The deal value field is a quick way for you to provide an estimate of how much $$$ this Lead could be worth to your company.
When sorting through the list of Leads, you can sort based on the Deal Value. Larger deals usually take more time to close, but may be more profitable for your company. So you may use that as a signal of priority.
What should I setup for Sales Leads to work best?
Create the Lead Sources
First create the lead sources. This will help you when you create reports so you can learn where the majority of your leads are coming from. To create a lead source, follow these steps:
- Click your businesses name on the upper left of software. A drop down will appear.
- Click Account Settings. Another drop down will appear.
- Click Categories. You will be lead to the Categories page.
- Click the + New Category Button on the upper right.
- Fill out the Name and choose the Sales Source Category Type from the drop down.
Set Up Sales Lead Pipeline
Having a well organized sales lead pipeline will keep your sales team on top of sales leads and more success in closing sales. To set up your sales lead pipeline, follow these steps:
- Click your businesses name on the upper left of software.A drop down will appear.
- Click Account Settings. Another drop down will appear.
- Click Pipeline. You will be lead to the Pipeline page.
- Click the + New Pipeline Button on the upper right.
- Fill out the Name of your pipeline and the Description.
- Click Create Pipeline. You will be lead to this page:
- On this page, you will create the Stages of the pipeline. Fill out the name of the stage. 8. Click the +Add Stage button. 9. Continue the process until all stages are completed.