Most sales reps and managers have a love/hate relationship with leads.

While most marketing teams are measured on lead quantity, sales teams — and really, the rest of the business — are compensated based on the leads they turn into customers, so quality is more important to them. The result is a complex and sometimes tense lead management process, with sales and marketing often at odds over who should have more credit for doing their jobs best.

Leads are the crucial link between prospects’ first interactions with the company and their relationship throughout the buying journey. That’s why we created the new e-book Get More From Your Leads: to show you how to get more from every lead that enters your pipeline, routing them effectively and measuring every step of the way.

Leads are one of the most important components in a salesperson’s job. Here are three ways to get more from them (and learn much more in the complete e-book).

#1. Reduce response times.

For the portion of leads that contain usable data, companies struggle with managing them effectively. InsideSales found that only about 27% of leads ever get contacted — and worse, the average response time is over 61 hours.

To grow faster and sell smarter, sales teams need to focus on reducing response times at every stage, including during:

  • Prospecting
  • Routing and scoring
  • Qualification
  • Tracking
  • Conversion

In today’s world of immediate solutions, customers are looking for quick and personalized responses from salespeople or they’re going to take business elsewhere.

#2. Set a higher standard for lead quality.

Clearly, quality leads are the end goal. But what comprises a quality lead, and do companies have to sacrifice quality for quantity?

Usable leads boil down to complete and accurate data. Considering where most leads come from, reaching that standard can be a hefty challenge. Ask yourself:

  • How do leads make their way into your systems?
  • What portion of your leads come from web forms with manually entered information from sales-averse window shoppers?
  • How many leads come from marketing tactics like event lists, lead programs, webinars, or third-party lists?
  • Are your reps scouring social networks like LinkedIn, collecting business cards, or using personal contact lists to enter data into your CRM?

Most of these sources suffer from data deficiencies. We aren’t recommending you scrap any of these lead generation efforts. But you should consider improving the quality and management of existing leads and discovering new, valuable sources for high-quality leads.

Have a solid understanding of your existing best leads so you can recognize the next-best similar targets.

#3. Spend more time measuring success.

Whether you’re a sales rep or a sales manager, you need to rely on data to better manage and prioritize leads — and ultimately measure your success. You need to be able to closely monitor lead volume, conversion rates, lead stage SLAs, time to follow-up/ convert, logged activities, and more.

Can you easily check your team’s numbers on closed/ won business, expected to close, forecast, quota, and more? If not, you may be missing critical insights about your lead generation and sales process.

Make sure you’re consistently answering these questions with data:

  • Who is my next big customer and which segments should we target?
  • Which existing line of business should we grow?
  • How are revenue streams performing compared to previous months/quarters/years?

Wherever business takes you, let data take you to the next level, staying flexible so you can add greater coverage to the areas that need it most.

By employing best selling practices and with the right technology, it’s possible to have more and better leads. Get more selling tips on lead management in Get More From Your Leads, the new e-book from Salesforce.