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Christine Donahe

By Christine Donahe

Jun 9, 2014


Sales & Marketing Technology
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Sales & Marketing Technology

5 Ways to Get More From Your CRM

Christine Donahe

By Christine Donahe

Jun 9, 2014

5 Ways to Get More From Your CRM

5_ways_to_get_more_from_your_CRMTime and time again, my dad has explained the concept of the popular puzzle, Sudoku to me. And if someone asked me, I could tell them exactly what it is.   

Now if you actually put a Sudoku puzzle in front of me and tell me to solve it, that is a different story. Sure, I could plug numbers into that little grid all day long but chances are I would be making more of a mess than actually solving the puzzle.

Too often, similar tales are told about Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems.  

Companies may have their CRM full of contacts, but more often than not, this is where the management of these contacts ends. A CRM is viewed more as a storage facility than for what it really is.

CRM systems offer businesses a way to manage and track business relationships and the information associated with them in one location in order to help you hit your goals.  

But when they aren't understood or implemented properly, they could feel like an expensive mistake rather than a useful tool.  

Small things can make a big difference in a successful CRM system, these 5 strategies will help you fine-tune your process.  

Lifecycle Stages

Lifecycle stages will help you to organize your leads and contacts based on the stage they are at in your sales cycle.

Your interactions with these leads and contacts vary depending which lifecycle stage they are in, so having a clear view of where they are in the sales cycle makes defining the next steps much easier.

Here are some common lifecycle stages you can try:

  • Subscriber - These are people who have opted in to hear from you periodically, usually people who have signed up for your blog or newsletter but nothing else.

  • Leads - Leads have shown more interest than subscribers and have filled out a form with more than their email address.

  • Unqualified Lead - Leads not worthy of direct sales follow up.

  • Qualified - Active Lead - These people are worthy of a direct sales follow up.

  • Qualified - Follow Up - Typically active leads who you have engaged with that tell you to contact them at a later date.

  • Qualified - Unsuccessful Connect - This is someone who you have tried to get in contact with on numerous occasions who hasn’t re-engaged with you.

  • Open Opportunity - Leads that have become a real sales opportunity.

  • Lost Opportunity - A lead that was an opportunity but did not make it  all the way through your sales process.

  • Client - A real paying customer!

  • Past Client - High Priority - A past client of yours that is likely to re-purchase your product or service.

  • Past Client - Low PriorityA past client that is less likely or you do not want to re-purchase your product or service.

  • Evangelist - These leads are huge advocates for your company but are not looking for sales follow up.

  • Friend / Family - A safe place where you can guarantee Uncle Mike won’t be getting sales follow ups.

Qualifying Process

Leads should be qualified in order to identify those still in the education process, and those who are more serious about purchasing your service or product.  

Qualifying leads gives your sales team a clear picture of who needs to be followed up with and how aggressively.

First and foremost, both sales and marketing teams need to have a joint understanding on what a good fit for you company looks like.

Go through some leads in your sales funnel together. Take a look at their job title, industry, company revenue and geography (if it's not criteria you usually ask for, look at their LinkedIn profile) as well as the pages they visited on your website and resources they downloaded.  Then ask yourselves:

  • Can you help them?

  • Do they want your help?

  • Is this someone you would want an ongoing relationship with?

When sales and marketing has agreed upon what qualities a qualified lead should have, you will know what behaviors and engagement with your website and resources a lead should mimic in order to be deemed qualified.

This is also where those helpful lifecycle stages come in.  As you go through leads and qualify or unqualify them, they will need to be immediately put into the complementary lifecycle stage.

Setting Priorities

So now your sales funnel is full of qualified leads, but how do you know who to follow up with first?  This is where setting priorities becomes critical.

Rating your leads will let you adjust your effort and better prioritize your prospecting activities.   

Rate your leads by taking a more granular look at the qualities that made them qualified.  

Set criteria for what would make them high, medium or low priority for your company.  So when you look at a lead, you’ll know what criteria they meet and how they measure up.  

Ask yourself questions like these:

  • What is their title? Are they the CEO or on the marketing team?

  • How big is the company?  How many employees do they have?

  • What industry is the company in?

  • What’s their location?

  • What is their budget?

  • Did they view a certain page on your website?

  • How many times have they visited your website?

  • How many forms did they complete?

  • How did they find you?

Sometimes you won’t be able to get all of this information from a simple form fill. That’s why priorities can and should be re-adjusted as the lead goes through your sales cycle and you find out more about them.

Real Time Notes

Now that your sales funnel is tidied up, you want to keep it that way. Especially when you have multiple people managing leads in your CRM.  

As you manage leads and interact with them, you want to make sure you are keeping updated notes that go along with your recorded tasks.  

Always record notes regarding:

  • Emails

  • Voicemails

  • Connect calls

  • Miscellaneous observations

There is nothing worse than someone else sending an email you just sent earlier that day, and with good note taking, that will never happen again.


Every month, your marketing team strategically puts campaigns into action with the main goal being to drive revenue. But sometimes, it’s hard to tie these efforts to your bottom line (especially if you have a long sales cycle.)  

Integrating your CRM with a marketing automation software, like HubSpot, makes tracking and attributing actual revenue figures back to your campaigns easy.  

Once you’ve created a campaign in your CRM you can attach it to the landing pages or forms inside of HubSpot.

Then after a lead converts on a specific landing page or form for a  campaign, that landing page or form will automatically become associated with them. Now, you can run reports to see exact numbers of leads, opportunities and revenue that each campaign is generating.

Using your CRM, you’ll now be able to run detailed reports giving you information like:

  • What campaigns you’ve run

  • How many responses, opportunities, and won opportunities each campaign has gotten

  • The ROI attached to each campaign

  • What leads are associated with a particular campaign

  • Attach values to each campaign based on engagement

By seeing what campaigns are generating the biggest ROI for your company, you’re arming yourself with the intelligence necessary to make more educated decisions for future campaigns.

Feeling Overwhelmed?

Thinking about all the things that a CRM can offer you be overwhelming and leave you wondering where you should even begin.  

Baby steps. Implementing these strategies are the first steps in making your CRM your new best friend.

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