The ONE Thing Your CRM Can’t Track – That Matters Most


Most successful companies are using some kind of CRM (customer relationship management) tool …

And it’s making them miserable.

It’s making their jobs harder.

Using it to do a typical revenue pipeline review is an exercise in frustration and futility.

Stop the madness.

Activity does not equal results, and data does not equal connection.

In fact, the data that is typically entered into a CRM can lead to misinformation, frustration and confusion for the executive leadership team. They need to project cash flow, operational needs and the performance of their business development team – but CRM data doesn’t give them the whole picture.

There is a better way to track opportunities than entering data into a CRM.

Leading Versus Lagging Indicators

CRMs focus on lagging indicators – factors that reflect the success or failure of previous efforts. These include conversation recaps, sales results and goal outcomes.

These details are important to track. I am not suggesting that you get rid of your CRM or sales data-entry process altogether. However, there are other factors that most CRMs simply can’t track – and they’re equally as important. Those factors are leading indicators.

Leading indicators are factors that predict success or failure. They include things like the skills of your team members, and the business and political issues surrounding your target clients. Leading indicators help you plan for future success, and make your reporting much more accurate.

Where Lagging Indicators Steer You Wrong

Here’s an example of how focusing only on lagging indicators can lead you and your executive team wrong, and result in inaccurate planning and costly mistakes.

Let’s say your business development team does all the right things in your CRM tool. They enter each opportunity, the size of it, and the likelihood of landing that opportunity. They track the details of phone calls, emails and meetings where they discuss that opportunity with the prospect.

Now the executive leader looks at the CRM and sees several of these opportunities entered. He thinks the company has a lot of opportunities in the pipeline, and plans accordingly.

What the executive can’t possibly tell from the CRM data is that some of those opportunities are a lot more likely to come to fruition than others.

There are factors missing that could help the exec more accurately gauge the pipeline, report on opportunities and plan for the company’s future.

Those missing factors are the leading indicators. Many of those are emotional factors that are strong markers that you are truly connected to the opportunity and have a strong chance of winning the work. These factors include the business and political issues that the prospect is dealing with – and how your firm’s impact and value is connected to those issues.

CRMs Track Data – but for the Best Results, You Must Track Relationships

A CRM lets you and your team collect and track a tremendous amount of data. That’s a good thing.

But your prospects are not data.

Your prospects are human beings with emotions.

In addition to tracking lagging indicators, you must also track leading indicators. These are relationship factors like:

  • The multiple paths of connection your firm has to the company
  • The number of unsolicited proposal requests
  • The business and political issues the prospect is immersed in
  • The PDPs (project delivery partners) that could help you get a broader perspective on the client and their real needs
  • The ways your firm can impact a target client

The Bottom Line

A CRM is not enough on its own. You’ll never get an accurate view of your pipeline with only a CRM. To really do an accurate pipeline review, you must track leading indicators, too.

You can track these leading indicators in any tool you want – Excel, Evernote – but if you really want to stop wasting time on activities that get you nowhere, I highly recommend you check out the Connection Flywheel. This single tool allows you track both lagging and leading indicators, and helps you focus on the right pieces of information at the right time.


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