What’s a Lead?
Step One: Define and Agree On What the Word “Lead” Means
I’ve spoken with hundreds of companies, and less than 10 percent have a definition of what a lead means that is clear, written down and unanimously agreed on by sales and marketing. Even in small companies, I can ask three salespeople, “What is a good lead?” and get three different answers. This question goes to the very heart of the lead qualification process. It seeks to identify the relative quality of a lead compared to a predetermined standard.
Companies that don’t ask this essential question are relegating their lead generation program to ruin. Failure to properly answer this question often leads to miscommunication, poor teamwork between sales and marketing, and ultimately missed revenue targets and wasted budget dollars.
For the lead definition to be useful in its application, it must be applied to all leads, regardless of source—e.g., teleprospecting, Web site, inbound calls, direct mail, event attendees. The need for the definition to apply to all sources is critical to implementing a lead management system. It sets a standard by which your lead generation efforts can be measured. Otherwise, you will just be comparing apples to oranges. Most importantly, the lead definition must be universally agreed on by both sales and marketing.
The universal lead definition is that standard against which every poten-tial customer is compared. Its priority is determined by where the customer
is in the buying process and delineated by its degree of sales readiness, regardless of source. Here’s how it’s done:
Meet. Get everyone who is involved with the lead generation program together and select a capable leader. Bring in a facilitator who is credible, speaks the language of both sales and marketing, and can “clear the air” if necessary. If everyone is not on board with this process, it will fail.