Let's start with a scenario to better understand why collecting key information about our leads is so helpful.
Suppose we went out and researched 100 potential clients for our website design business. We looked through their websites, got to know their current vibe and took down the website address of those we felt had the most promise (say, 60 out of the initial 100).
Now let's imagine that the website address was the only thing we took note of.
A week later, we're ready to on-board a new project, so we return to our list of 60 websites. What we see is... well, a plain list of 60 website addresses.
Some of the names look slightly familiar, but we're not entirely sure which was which.
Was that the startup out of London? Or was this the eCommerce store with a massive catalog?
Wait--was this the guy I wanted to reach out to for a potential partnership? Or was it that potential customer for the digital product I'm building...
Collecting lead information is about making life easier, later.
When we do a good job of collecting key information about potential relationships for our business, we are better able to:
While 'the more the better' is an admirable approach to collecting lead information, it's best not to overwhelm yourself--precisely how much information you collect should be specific to your business, how valuable each lead is and how much time you can afford to spend researching and prospecting.
As a starting point, we've outlined some of the key areas and fields of information that are generally helpful to take note of.
These are also the fields that are pre-built into our customizable Notion CRM--which you can duplicate here.
Give the name of your contact at the identified business.
If the contact has a business website, link it here.
Provide the contact details you'll use to get in touch with this individual—that might be an email address, a phone number, an instagram profile or LinkedIn page.
The association (or entity, such as a company, group, institution or non-profit) that's most relevant to your contact in the relationship you'd like to engage with.
If you have a clear idea of the industry, vertical or key segments you'd like to target, you can change the multi-select options in this CRM to suit your business' target segments more accurately.
Partners help your business grow. Whether that's a company with a complimentary offering to your own (say, a 'copywriting company' that could partner well with your website design agency) or a larger organization which may offer an official 'Partner Program' (e.g. an affiliate program)--keeping track of your prospective partners as you come across them is a natural way to build a list that can be tapped into when ready.
Clients are seeking your services, advice or tailored solutions. Typically, most freelancers, consultants and contractors are seeking client leads.
Influencers are individuals or channels that are highly relevant to your target segments. Keep track of those that may be interested in promoting your products and services with the influencer tag.
Loosely speaking, customers differ from clients insofar as they are looking to purchase a product or service that is predefined. ECommerce sellers, digital products, online courses and retail are examples of businesses seeking customer leads, primarily.
Membership businesses are seeking leads that will give repeat or recurring business. This is most common for SaaS products, apps and many modern software-based solutions.
If you're building a business, you may seek out some additional help, expertise or advice. Advisors, mentors, coaches and experts can be valuable to track in your CRM, also.
If you have a product, service or content that you want to distribute via publication or popular blog, these are relationships that can also be developed. Keeping track of publications that are active in your industry or field, along with any relevant press, reviewers, commentators or associations, is another lead-generating activity to stay on top of.
Inbound leads that sign-up through your website—perhaps to a mailing list or in response to a piece of content published—should be counted in this group.
Marketplaces like Upwork, Toptal, Fiverr, and many others are an excellent place to source leads—especially when getting started.
For clients that are passed along from previous clients, friends or contacts, you can label these leads as 'referrals'.
Whether that's an outbound lead (someone you reach out to on social media) or inbound (someone who responds to your content/profile), social media leads are those acquired across all major social platforms.
Depending on your target segments and profession, online communities can be excellent place to find highly engaged, relevant leads. If you are using online communities as a lead generation channel, feel free to use this tag.
Person-to-person events have reduced significantly in recent years, but they can still be a valuable lead generator. Further, online events are rising in prevalence—this tag is for any and all networking efforts.
Today, there are also a wide range of powerful prospecting and research tools available. These can help find an email, to learn more about a business or simply to uncover related businesses and contacts in a niche—a shortlist of such tools can be found from the homepage of this Leads Ability Stack.
Alongside the more 'objective' fields to collect on your leads, it can also be helpful to give some subjective flavor.
A good fit rating is simply a score given from 1 to 10 which factors in anything from the style of the business; the size; location; vertical; personality; the content they produce; the values they hold—anything that suggests this prospect would resonate well with your offering.
This is preset as a rating from 1 - 10 in the provided Notion CRM, but you can adjust this scale as needed.
Your wins history captures any past transactions won with a client, customer, partner or contact. This history can help you sort your CRM based on 'Past customers' where the Status function won't quite capture it.
Collecting key information about our leads and prospects is about making life easier, later. Take a moment to consider which pieces of information will be most useful to you in your business, then feel free to duplicate and customise the linked Notion CRM to your needs.
This template is part of our integrated solo business workspace: Clarity OS.
No more flipping between tabs, repeating entries and losing track of how it all fits together--keep your business in one place with Clarity.