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Have Sales Leads? Here's How to Increase Your ROI With Salesforce. Hello, customer relationship management doesn't have to be complicated.

By Sherice Jacob

entrepreneur daily

This story originally appeared on KISSmetrics

Customer relationship management (CRM) doesn't have to be complicated. If you're using a cloud-based tool like Salesforce, you may be wondering how to gauge the effectiveness of your lead generation efforts. As a marketer, we're always asking ourselves, "how can I get more ROI out of these leads?"

Using Salesforce and accompanying tools like Pardot, you can actually measure the ROI of your leads, no matter which campaign they came from. What's more, with Salesforce's AppExchange, you can also uncover some hidden gems that will simplify and streamline the process even more. We're going to learn how to do just that, but first…

Why Use a Marketing Automation System?

Salesforce and its plethora of companion products and add-ons are just one of many marketing automation tools designed to help marketing and sales more effectively capture and nurture their prospects.

According to Salesforce and Pardot's own study, companies who use automation have 53% higher conversion rates from responding to qualified leads, and achieve a 9.3% higher sales quota.

Have Sales Leads? Here's How to Increase Your ROI With Salesforce.

With so many positive numbers behind CRM solutions and marketing automation, you may be wondering how to best put them to use. Let's start with the basics:

Creating a Campaign, Filling it with Members and Assigning Member Status

First, you'll want to create a Salesforce campaign. You do this by going to the Campaigns tab and clicking New to fill out all the relevant information about your campaign.

Now, creating the actual campaign does nothing except give you a foundation. You still have to add prospects to it. The only field you're required to fill out is the name, however it's a good practice to be as specific as you can – like Acme-Widget-Conference-January-2015 instead of just "Conference". You'll then want to assign that campaign to a category, so that you can later generate reports and filter specific campaigns.

You can add members (prospects) to a campaign either manually, by way of the Add to Campaign link under Campaign History, or set up your web forms to pre-populate campaigns with referral information. There are a wide variety of email marketing and automation systems with third-party plugins and APIs that play together nicely with Salesforce.

Then comes the most important part – assigning your prospects with Member Status Values. Going back to our Conference example, you could assign status values of "Attended", "Registered" and "Downloaded" to assess where prospects are in their decision-making process and gauge their interests. The best part is, you can Clone this campaign to rapidly create other, similar campaigns in the future.

Running an ROI Report

Have Sales Leads? Here's How to Increase Your ROI With Salesforce.

How to Run an ROI Report in Salesforce

To run an ROI report, you'd simply sign in to Salesforce, go to the Campaigns tab and click the Campaign ROI Analysis report in reports, while filtering data as needed. This gives you the scientific numbers behind your ROI, but in many cases, there are several things that go into a buyer's ultimate decision. It may not specifically be your tantalizing email, your incredible coupon, your amazing webinar, but rather a combination of those things.

That's where Campaign Influence Reporting comes in.

To enable Campaign Influence reporting, you simply sign in and go to Setup > Customize > Campaigns. Click to enable the reporting and specify a time period between when the campaign was first associated with the prospect, and when the opportunity was created. You can also associate the lead with specific rules, with the Campaign Member Status we discussed above.

Have Sales Leads? Here's How to Increase Your ROI With Salesforce.

Click on the image above to see an enlarged view

Even if you can drill down and learn what specific touch-points affected the user's decision at various stages in the process, you'll still need to know which leads are worth acting on, and which are lukewarm, or downright cold.

Lead scoring can help you understand which referrals are worth acting on.

The Importance of Lead Scoring

Salesforce measures ROI as the net gain (total value won opportunities minus actual cost) divided by the actual cost.

Have Sales Leads? Here's How to Increase Your ROI With Salesforce.

The Total Value Won opportunities is the calculated amount of all opportunities closed or won, where the campaign is the primary Campaign Source of the opportunity. In order to increase this number, you'll want to make sure you're working with your best prospects first. Lead scoring will help you do just that.

Salesforce Labs has created a basic lead scoring app that's free to download and will score leads by using lead rules that you define (up to 200 rules). If you're trying to wrangle a lot of data, and the basic app just won't cut it, you can automate much of the process through third-party programs like Infer which uses predictive lead scoring algorithms to help you make more informed decisions about which leads are the most promising based on a variety of criteria.

Have Sales Leads? Here's How to Increase Your ROI With Salesforce.

An example of Salesforce's Lead Scoring App

What Else Can You Do with Salesforce Lead ROI?

Through Salesforce's AppExchange, you'll find a wide range of downloads, plugins and tools (both free and paid) that will enhance the core functionality of the SaaS suite. Here are a few worth considering:

SEO for Salesforce

Have Sales Leads? Here's How to Increase Your ROI With Salesforce.

SEO for Salesforce (Free) lets you see which keywords are bringing you the most revenue while also letting you track your keyword rankings and compare your organic search to your paid search performance. You can also integrate your social media campaigns and get detailed recommendations on where improvements can be made.

You'll need to use Salesforce's Web-to-Lead functionality as well as Google Analytics for proper lead capture and tracking.

Value Projectizer

Have Sales Leads? Here's How to Increase Your ROI With Salesforce.

Value Projectizer ($20/month, discounted for non-profits) is an invaluable took for project management. Not only can it help present a visual indication of your ROI, but also provide you with alerts and automation of various business processes including revenue/cost accounting, scheduling, payment monitoring, life cycle management and more.

Visualize ROI

Have Sales Leads? Here's How to Increase Your ROI With Salesforce.

Visualize ROI (Free) is a helpful tool that incorporates tracking and analytics to help you better see your ROI across product marketing, sales, channel management and more. It provides a detailed overview and individual visual reports to help you see, at a glance, how your initiatives are performing.

But Don't Forget…

It can be incredibly exciting to learn all the details about your customers through proper CRM software and tools. However, don't forget that these are simply tools and can't replace the genuine human factor of the marketing process. Now, more than ever, the real ROI isn't purely measured in numbers but in relationships, loyalty and other intangible points.

Having the best of both worlds is a delicate balance that marketers are always striving for, and having the right tools and knowledge on your site can help you reach those goals – both the tangible and intangible ones.

About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps businesses improve website design and increase conversions with user-focused design, compelling copywriting and smart analytics. Learn more at iElectrify and get your free conversion checklist and web copy tune-up. Follow @sherice on Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+ for more articles like this!

Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversion rates through compelling copywriting, user-friendly design and smart analytics analysis.

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