The keys are identifying the largest, most targeted market possible and then segmenting and testing to identify prospects more likely to buy at higher deal sizes.
3. Agreement on Lead Definition
Movement of prospects through the funnel and accountability of resources involved should be addressed in the lead framework, and these criteria are addressed in the following definitions:
- Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL): Qualified and delivered by marketing
- Sales Accepted Lead (SAL): Reviewed and accepted by sales
- Sales Qualified Lead (SQL): Contacted and further qualified by sales
In the SLA, sales and marketing must agree on the qualifying criteria—decision making authority, compelling need, sense of urgency and budgeting process—linked to each of these three stages.
The BANT framework (budget, authority, need and timeframe) tends to rule out high-value opportunities that will buy in the future because sales reps will not fully pursue them. However, authority and need are key qualification factors as they imply timeframe. Need should be supported by a compelling event linked to finding the solution to a problem within a specific timeframe. As budget is also driven by need, it's more important to focus on the process and players.
4. Agreement on Desired Metrics
Regarding expected metrics, measure the percentage of MQLs that become SALs, SQLs and closed deals. Perfection means 100% of MQLs become all three, but progress occurs the closer the percentages get to 100%.
Shift from measuring results on a cost-per-lead basis (which incorrectly incents volume) to a cost-per-opportunity or cost-per-deal basis. Benchmarks should be opportunity quality, conversion rates and revenue generated on program investment.
5. A Dedicated Group of Professionals Using the Telephone
Neither marketing resources nor sales reps are the correct resources to do lead generation, lead qualification or lead nurturing. These activities should be assigned to either an inside sales team or an outsourced teleservices provider that uses the phone and proven skills to qualify prospects and then hands then off to sales as real opportunities.