March 17, 2020

Sales Contact Management Best Practices

Every time a lead slips through the cracks in your CRM, your company loses out on potential revenue.

Having visibility into who’s responsible for working individual leads and whether or not they’re progressing leads through the marketing and sales funnel effectively can help prevent that from happening. 

Contact management enables you to store and source a contact’s information, making it easier for your sales team to identify which leads they should be reaching out to and allowing them to access all the data they need to conduct that outreach in a personalized manner.

Here are four contact management best practices to improve your team’s efficiency:

1. Organize Contact & Company Record Views

When you’re looking at a contact or company record in the HubSpot CRM, there’s a lot of information you can view and use for filtering. In addition to an in-depth activity history, you can also see all the company and contact properties you have data for. To keep reps from being overwhelmed by all the data available, you need to set a global view of what’s visible on each contact and company record.

Think about who is using your CRM and map out what pieces of information are most important for their day-to-day work. When doing this, also consider why they need that data and how they use it to help you determine the best way to organize the properties you leave visible. 

For example, a sales rep needs immediate access to a prospect’s lifecycle stage, lead score (which indicates likelihood to close), job title, email and phone number. Then, the next most important data points are those that provide insight into the prospect’s interests, like their recent conversion history, what content they’ve engaged with and qualitative data they’ve provided through forms.

Given the intended use case, the contact record should be arranged based on priority and frequency of access. Then, you need to know where to draw the line and stop including information. 

A sales rep doesn’t need to know what the ‘original source drill-down 2’ is. But, they do need to know what the last form a contact submitted was because that can help them develop their outreach approach.

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2. Filter Your Contacts and Use Those Pre-Set Views

One of the most powerful tools for sales contact management is filters, which allow you to use criteria to view a specific segment of your total database. People tend to view contact filters as a quick one-time resource to sort through their database, but that’s not at all the case.

Your saved contact filters can be used to keep track of the different categories of leads you’re working or prospecting.

Whenever I train a new rep on how to use HubSpot, one of the first things we cover is the different “buckets” or filters that you need to save for yourself, so you can keep track of where people are in your outreach process.

The goal of what you want to get out of having each filtered view is different, depending on your sales process and your reps’ daily routines.

Some categories you might have personalized filters for include:

  • New leads: Contacts that need enrichment and qualification

  • New MQLs: Slightly higher priority contacts than leads because they’ve been qualified by marketing already, but these contacts still need enrichment and sales qualification
  • Qualified MQLs with no outreach: MQLs that have been qualified by a sales rep but haven’t been enrolled in  an outreach sequence yet
  • Qualified MQLs in sequence: Contacts you’ve begun reaching out to.

As a rep works, they should be taking actions to progress contacts into the next categories. Once new leads and MQLs are qualified, they’ll be moved into qualified MQLs with no outreach. Then the rep can look at individual contact records to prioritize which MQLs should be enrolled in  outreach first and determine the best way to initiate a conversation based on the contact’s activity history. 

The final filter, qualified MQLs in a sequence, helps a rep and their manager keep an eye on how many contacts they’re actively reaching out to at a time to ensure the rep isn’t overextending themself (or worse, underperforming in terms of activity volume). 

3. Don’t Let Leads Get Forgotten

In addition to fresh leads that are currently in the sales pipeline, there are also older contacts in your database that might not be receiving attention. Maybe they were assigned to an overcapacity rep and went cold, booked a meeting but never attended or were closed-lost opportunities; those contacts should be organized in a way that enables reps to re-engage them.

Even if your sales reps don’t have the bandwidth to utilize that filter, your marketing team can assist with a re-engagement campaign and then re-enter those leads into the sales pipeline when they’re ready.  

You can also prevent some leads from ever reaching that stale point by putting limits on how many contacts a single sales rep can have assigned to them at a time. 

Reps can’t simultaneously work an unlimited number of leads effectively; instituting a lead cap and setting up a process for redistributing contacts from reps who have too many leads in their name can prevent contacts from sitting in your CRM unattended indefinitely. This will also help solve for the all-too-common feast or famine scenario sales teams will experience when having mismanaged contact databases and processes.

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4. Analyze How Leads Are Being Worked

Set up reporting dashboards to provide insight into how leads are moving through the sales pipeline, what reps own leads at what stages, what reps own unworked leads, etc.

From the contact management perspective, reports like these can help you identify gaps in your outreach and work to fix them across your team. It also holds reps accountable and helps them identify where they’re falling short.

Leads can slip through the cracks all too easily as reps juggle their daily workload. The more visibility reps have into their outreach, the easier it is for them to stay on top of their communications with all their leads. And, the more visibility sales managers have into where things are falling off for their reps, the more immediately they can course correct through coaching and process optimization.


A CRM can go haywire very quickly. The sooner you dial these contact management processes in, the better your sales team will operate in the long-run. Without a process for contact management, your CRM will turn into absolute mayhem, making it difficult for your team to source leads, understand who they’re supposed to be reaching out to and pass closed-lost leads back to marketing.

Even if you only have a one-person sales team, it’s best to build these foundations for your company as soon as possible so that your systems scale with your team.

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Beth Abbott

Beth is a Senior Manager of Revenue Operations at New Breed and specializes in optimizing how processes and platforms support revenue growth.


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