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How to Optimize Your CRM and Take the Stress Out of Sales

Attention all sales gurus! Our friend Noah Britton has a question for you.

When you see a database full of information about leads, how do you feel?

If the answer is scared, confused, or even bored — and they’re surprisingly common responses, don’t worry! — he has some knowledge to share that will change your perspective. He might even make data your new best friend.

Woman analyzing data on a tablet

Noah is the owner of Thrive Design, a full-service WordPress agency. Thanks to his dedicated development team, he’s free to focus exclusively on client acquisition. For the last 15 years, Noah has refined a strategy to track his leads, and he now believes all salespeople should follow his example. 

We can’t argue with that!

Janet Jackson eats a chip and says it's true tho

What makes data so indispensable?

We live in an increasingly digitalized and data-driven world.

With Agency X-Ray, Noah has recently created a comprehensive course that teaches agency owners how to make the most of their data and make better decisions based on it.

His philosophy is that if you’re not actively measuring a process, you can’t effectively upgrade it.

Your agency undoubtedly has a sales pipeline of some sort. A lead tracking system can be used to glean insights around what’s working and what isn’t within that pipeline, thereby guiding future improvements.

The results can be truly transformative..

Larry David says my interest is piqued

What is lead tracking?

Lead tracking is the practice of recording information about your leads as they proceed through your sales pipeline. You probably already record this information in some way, but if it’s across disparate systems or in a disorganized state, Noah says it’s time to make a change!

Keeping all the data about your leads in one accessible location, in an easily understood format, can have a positive ripple effect throughout your agency.

How does lead tracking help?

When you optimize your CRM and track your leads, it benefits your agency in four significant ways:

It increases your confidence.

Noah shares that when you’re managing many different leads “memory is the enemy.”

If you’ve ever been on a sales call where you’ve forgotten the estimate you previously provided, you’ll know exactly what he means. Most of us have the experience of frantically sifting through emails trying to figure out what the client even asked for last time.

Kermit the frog panics

Although this is understandable, it isn’t exactly professional, and it can harm the rest of the interaction.

Once your confidence is knocked and imposter syndrome kicks in, there’s no telling where the call might lead: you could find yourself over-promising or offering a lower quote than usual to compensate. Hardly desirable outcomes for your agency!

Let’s imagine an alternative scenario. You start your workday with a clear overview of the progress made so far on every lead. When you join meetings, you have all your potential client’s data at your fingertips, and you’re able to recall key details from previous interactions in a matter of moments.

This doesn’t just make you feel better; it also gives leads a much more polished impression of your service. It positions you perfectly to close the deal and make the sale.

It helps you identify issues more easily.

What do you do when you lose a lead? Do you chalk it up to “c’est la vie” or do you go out of your way to understand what went wrong? Unless you’re analyzing your losses as well as celebrating your successes, you’re missing out on vital opportunities to improve.

Joey from Friends says "not just a hat rack"

A lead tracking service will show you exactly where your lead fell off — whether it was at the initial consultation stage, once they’d received their quote, or after they’d requested a detailed proposal.

This is valuable data! Once you start tracking it, you’ll start noticing trends, and you can use this information to guide your strategy. Maybe your initial consultation interview needs to be systematized, for example.

Don’t just record when leads were lost, though. Keep track of why they were lost as well. If you notice that many potential clients are choosing competitor services instead, this could be a sign for your agency to refine its value proposition.

By segmenting your leads according to the data you’ve gathered, you can also follow up more efficiently. You might maintain a list of the potential clients who weren’t ready to commit, then check in with them one month later. You could also send discounts to previous leads that dropped off due to budget limitations.

It provides insights on how to allocate resources.

One of the most important things to ask potential clients is how they found your service in the first place. Over time, you’ll learn the best ways to generate leads.

For example, an agency could notice that leads coming from Google reach the proposal stage at a higher rate than those from other sources. What does that reveal? That Google is a quality lead generation method, definitely worth investing in.

As part of your lead tracking process, Noah suggests evaluating the quality of the leads themselves. He does this using Troy Dean’s model, by which a potential client is given a score out of 10 on each of these three criteria:

  • How convincing their budget is
  • How well their project aligns with agency objectives
  • How respectful they are of the agency’s process.

The maximum score is 30, and Noah recommends only actively pursuing leads that score 12 or over. This system can help you avoid wasting time on undesirable or improbable leads, allowing you to focus exclusively on those that will benefit your agency.

Maybe your agency is spending a substantial portion of its marketing budget on Instagram advertising. However, the leads that come from this source are of a consistently low quality. By comparing the lead’s score with its source, you can redirect funds toward the most effective marketing campaigns.

Jim Carrey as Ace Ventura says good call

It informs your short and long-term planning.

On a short-term basis, tracking your leads supports you in planning your day. Rather than jumping from lead to lead at random, you can adopt a more methodical, comprehensive approach. When you access your tracking system, you’ll immediately see where each lead is in the sales pipeline and what action should now be taken.

No more checking scribbled notes for your next steps!

Gravity Falls boy pretending to write something

When you optimize your CRM, this reveals how long it takes on average to move a potential client through the sales pipeline to the point of closure. Once a new lead has arrived at the agency, your team will have a clearer idea of when they should expect to begin work on a project.

The more clients you track this for, the more confident you will become when making plans for the future.

You can also record how much money each client eventually brings into the agency. By measuring that figure against marketing expenses and time spent, you will understand the cost per lead and cost per sale. This information helps you strategize. It tells you how much you can afford to invest in future marketing efforts and still keep your agency financially sustainable.

The overall impact of improved confidence, data-driven decision making, and more efficient planning? Increased conversions, of course!

This is how tracking your leads takes the stress out of sales.

Tips to optimize your CRM

Design your system to meet your needs.

“The best system is the one you use.”

Noah uses Airtable, but his goal isn’t to promote any particular tool or approach. Instead, he wants to emphasize the importance of lead tracking, whichever way your agency chooses to do it. Consider the data you’d really benefit from and build your system around that.

It doesn’t have to be detailed.

“If you start with just four fields today, you’re still going to see a difference.”

Recording this information can be super straightforward. All you have to do is create a custom form to easily input answers during the conversation. You only need to consider automation and integrating systems if you’re dealing with very high volumes of data.

You can make changes to your system as you go.

“Take imperfect action now.”

Practicality is preferable to perfectionism. While you wait for the ideal system to be designed, valuable data is going down the drain. A simple spreadsheet can be created in seconds, and you can always improve it at a later stage. Take this as your sign to begin lead tracking today!

riverdale cheryl

Watch on the DAO group the webinar that was originally posted in October 2021 for more ideas.


Sarah Rogers-Barbosa

Sarah Rogers-Barbosa

Sarah is a Copywriter at GoWP. Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, she now lives in Bogotá, Colombia with her husband. In her free time, you'll find her on the yoga mat, on her rollerskates, at brunch, in the park, or relaxing with a book and her beloved sausage dog, Rudie.

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