As a green-eared sales rep in 1996 my sales manager sent me to a Zig Ziglar seminar at Kansas City’s Bartle Hall auditorium. I was howling with laughter when Zig laid out this famous quote I had heard so many times from Ziglar’s cassette tapes:
Zig made an important point that rings true today. Substance of methodology comes first, and then increasing the frequency and effectiveness of that methodology is a distant second.
Automating an Idiot
When it comes to LeadGen many go straight to marketing automation without investing in lead management. Problem is that if you have a deprived program and you automate it, now you have an automated mess.
Marketing Automation vendors have prescribed automated solutions to deliver quality leads. It’s true that the rich functionality is synonymous with world-class LeadGen --- however, the biggest lift in your organization’s ability to produce quality leads resides in your process for managing leads. World class performance comes when you automate established best practices.
Boost Your 2012 Sales Number with Lead Management Best Practices
Impact your 2012 sale revenue by making adjustments to how you manage incoming inquiries. These Inquiries are prospects who have declared themselves by providing a basic level of information. Revew the best practices of Lead Management with your leadgen team and identify the major gaps. This assessment is your leadgen health check-up. Find out whether you are automating an idiot and take the necessary steps to increase performance.
Assess your Lead Management adoption of Best Practices and focus on the lowest hanging fruit.
Establish a common definition of a Lead – Clear expectations are set with unified acceptance of common definitions between sales and marketing. Feedback from the sales force to marketing is built on the foundation of the definition.
Integrated marketing & sales funnel – A single comprehensive view of the entire revenue lifecycle from Inquiry, through to Opportunity, and finally to Win/Loss decision.
Sales & Marketing SLA/SOP – A written agreement and process is in place to guide marketing and sales staff.
Adopt a repeatable lead management process – A documented process for the precise management of converting Inquiries into Leads. Prospects are are nurtured express sufficient interest to qualify the company as a sales-ready Opportunity.
Map lead process to buying process – The lead management process is mapped to the buying process. The end result is engagement that seeks to diagnose the prospect’s buyer stage and offer resources and next steps that are aligned with the buyer’s journey.
Establish conversion metrics by stage – There are typically 4-5 total steps between an incoming prospect Inquiry and when there is a qualified lead ready to be delivered to sales. Conversions are captured between stages to develop a baseline. This baseline is used to analyze performance against b2b/world-class averages.
Clear buyer-driven exit criteria – Stage movement shows the buyer advancing down the buyer’s process. This is known by observing the prospect’s action or capturing a prospect’s direct feedback. Exit criteria should be objective and never rep opinion.
Sales feedback loop – The sales field has a formal method to provide feedback on the quality of the leads they are receiving. This feedback should be administered through the CRM to track historical data.
Lead nurturing – The process of building a relationship with prospects who are not yet ready for a sales rep. Automated nurturing is performed primarily through sequenced email. 1-to-1 engagement is performed later in the buying process when the prospect has shown interest.
Offer content built specifically by buying stage – Prospects enters the buying process at all different stages. Offers should be developed to provide 2-3 offers per buying stage.
Create a dedicated Lead Dev Rep (LDR) role – A dedicated role is required to orchestrate the automated nurturing as the prospect progresses. The LDR begins 1-to-1 engagement to explain key concepts, diagnose need, qualify, and offer resources with the end goal a meeting with sales.
Lead Development Role (LDR) resides in marketing – While we have seen team’s success in both sales and marketing, in most cases the ideal fit is in marketing. The best practice is to analyze the best fit and make right choice for your organization.
Clear lines for lead routing – Rules of engagement are clear based on the clarity of account assignments within the sales force. Lead Generation staff are not wasting time researching lead routing.
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