In this article I want to talk about your Lead Flow (or Sales Funnel). What I’m talking about in simpler terms is the process in which you keep track of the different stages of a lead…From Prospect to Deal and every step in between.
A good CRM will have a clearly defined lead flow. The advantage to this approach is it clearly defines where a lead is and what needs to happen next.
- A lead is in the follow up stage…you follow up
- A lead is in the make offer stage…you make an offer
- A lead is in the dead stage…stop contacting
First Things First…Good Design
Before I get into actually laying out the lead flow, I want to back up a bit and go over good database design. This will help you better understand my strategy and why I’m breaking up my Podio CRM this way.
There are basically 3 basic design strategies when it comes to databases.
- Flat File (Denormalized)
- Some where in between Normalized and Denormalized
I’ll briefly talk about each below to help you get a better understanding of proper design. Hopefully this stuff isn’t to boring for you, but I promise it will help you see why I setup my Podio CRM the way that I’m outlining later.
Flat File Format
Like I mentioned before, the Flat File approach is called denormalization. With this approach you are basically putting all things related to a lead in one spreadsheet/table/app.
This approach may have some advantages like…
- All data in one place
- increase speed
It is outweighed by the disadvantages…
- Lots of unused fields. All 6 contact fields (3 name & phone fields) are there regardless of how many contacts a lead has.
- It is not scaleable. If you need to add a 4th contact, you have to create another set of contact fields (contact 4 name and contact 4 phone). Such a waste of space to only handle a handful of leads.
- If you want to keep track of additional contact data, such as email address. You have to add an email address field for each contact. That could be 3,4,5 or more fields.
The Flat Format is just a very poor design strategy. While it seems simple at first, you’ll soon get overwhelmed with all the wasted fields and one off conditions. The better approach is called a Normalized Schema.
Normalized Data Approach
Normalization, when it comes to database design, is the process of breaking up your data into related chunks. You then take each chunk and create a separate table (or app…or spreadsheet). Lets make an example out of the Flat File example I showed above…There are 2 chunks of related data here, property address and contacts.
Once you identify the related data chunks, you create a table for each. Here is what that looks like…
Property Address (Leads) Table
This table holds all basic property information that all properties will have, plus a unique identifier..Lead Id. The Lead Id field is needed in order to link records from the contact table to the related property lead.
This is where the true advantage of this approach is realized. Instead of having multiple Name and Phone fields, like in the flat file approach, we only have 2 (plus the lead Id to relate it back to a property lead).
If a lead has…
- 3 contacts, there are 3 records in this table.
- 1 contact = 1 record
- 0 contacts = 0 records
There is no wasted space. And I can add as many contacts for a lead as I want (scalable).
Here is a diagram on how my Leads Table and Contacts table relate together.
As you can see they are related by the Lead Id of the Leads Table. This is called a Primary Id – Foreign Id relationship in the database world. To be more exact this is a 1 to Many relationship. Meaning that for each One Lead there can by Many Contacts
Adding More Data Fields
If you want keep track of any additional information, like email address, all you have to do is add a new field to the contacts table. Unlike with the flat file approach where you had to add 3 email fields, one for each contact field.
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Good Balance Approach
In many cases the best database design is some where in between Normalized and Flat file approaches. You can go so crazy with normalization that it becomes WAY to complicated.
Going crazy for a Real Estate Investing CRM is breaking out the phone number and email fields to separate tables. While it allows you to have as many phone numbers as you want it adds another level of complexity that is not worth it.
Just holds a name field now (plus the Id fields). VERY Simple table..almost too simple.
This will hold the phone number and type of number. This allows you to add as many phone numbers as you need. But how many will you really ever have…3?
This will hold the email address and type of email. Same thing as phone table…over kill!
How I would do it
I like this approach because I want to be able to see all of Jim’s contact information in one place. Having to go to another table for one bit of info seems over kill here.
Hopefully this makes some kind of sense to everyone. There is much more to normalized data then this, but I wanted to keep it as simple as possible.
Back to Lead Flow Stages
Podio, at the simplest level, is very easy to understand. In fact it’s very much like Excel. Each App could be considered an Excel Spread Sheet within a Workbook. Only difference is that in Podio you enter in information using a Form, while in Excel you would use the spreadsheet’s grid.
In Podio you can even view your App data in grid view (or spreadsheet view). If you want to add more data points in excel you add a column, in Podio you add a field to the App Template. Same thing.
At the end of the day an Excel Spreadsheet or a Podio App is just a database table. A database table is a place where you store items that share the same attributes. All Motivated Seller Leads share the same basic data points at their initial level.
Leads will progress to different stages. Each stage represents a new chunk (remember from above?) of information that I’ll need to keep track of. This logically makes stages a great way to break up my Podio Apps.
This is where ALL leads enter into the system. I keep only basic information...anything I get from my lead source. You could add # of Beds & Baths and similar information here, but I chose to put that in my next stage. My thinking was that property details are gotten after a lead has responded.
Fields: Property Address, List, Source, Date Entered, Status, Google Map, Zillow Link.
Any lead that response (calls, emails or fills out my web form) gets a record here. This is basically my questionnaire form and where I find out the motivation of the seller.
Fields: Beds, Baths, Square Foot, Garage, Why are they selling, how much they are looking for...are the types of information that I record here.
The next stage in the process is for leads that are motivated. This is where I want to keep track of all my due diligence on the property. This helps me almost have a checklist of what to do.
Fields: comps, getting detailed house information, repair estimates and any other information that I need to make an offer.
If I make an offer on a house, that offer information is recorded here. Offers is a separate stage because I want to be able to record making multiple offers on the same property.
Fields: Offer Amount, Date, Status, Attach the Offer Letter, and any notes.
When a house is put under contract a record is entered here for the lead. Just like the due diligence App, this provides me with a sort of check list have items that must be done.
Fields: names of potential buyers, contract terms, purchase price, for sale price and Status. I also attach the signed contract to this record.
All leads where I close the deal and get paid get a record in this app. This completes the full cycle lead flow. The Deals App gives me a good place to go for historical purposes and at tax time. I also can quickly create a report of which buyers bought what from me.
Fields: Closing Date, Sold Price, Profit, referral contracts, buyer, notes.
Linking Lead Data Between Stages (apps)
In Podio there is a Relationship Field type. This field allows you to link records between apps. So in each stage, I’ll have a relationship field where I will select the lead that relates to it. This is a beautiful thing! Let me show you why…
Relationship Field in Each App
For each App that you create for your stages you’ll add a Relationship Field that links to your Property (leads) App. The idea is that when you get a call from a lead, you record it into your Responded App and then select the Property that relates. It will look like this…
Related Items in Property App
Every time you relate a property to a responded record or a offer record or any other app record you’ll see a note of that in the Property App record. Take a look at the example image of one of my Property Lead records below…
You can easily see that this lead responded (on 8/5/2015), I did my due diligence, made them an offer (of $54,000) and finally got it under contract (for $53,000 somehow). Again, all this information shows up automatically in a Related Items section of a record.
Now if I want to see some more details about my contract with the seller, I can just click on the Under Contract item and it brings me to the details. It’s pretty slick!
Here is a quick video showing you related items in action…
Auto Updating Status of Lead
While the Related Items give you a good idea of the status of a lead, I prefer to have a dedicated Status Field for each one of my leads in the Property/Leads App. The reason for this is because I want to be able to filter and create reports based off the statuses.
My Lead Status field will pretty much match my stages exactly. With only the addition of a Dead option.
Updating the Status Field
There are two ways you can go about having the Lead’s Status field updated. (1) Manually or (2) us a WorkFlow. Even though you’ll have to either upgrade your Podio account to a pay version or sign up for Globiflow, I recommend setting up a Workflow.
The reason for using a workflow is because the less I have to do manually the better. I’ll forget to change the status from time to time if I do it manually for sure. Besides I will be using Globiflow for so many other workflows that it’s totally worth it.
Here is how it will work…
Let’s say a lead calls you in response to one of your letters. You go into the your Responded App in Podio and create a new record…linking it to your lead.
A Globiflow WorkFlow will then be triggered that will update the linked Lead/Property record’s Status value to Responded
Here is what the GlobiFlow process looks like…
I have created one of these GlobiFlow processes for each of my 6 stages. It couldn’t be easier and takes very little time to do.
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