What’s a Lead?
Ask. What do we consider a qualified lead? What are the characteristics of the ideal sales opportunity? What do we really need to know? What would be nice to know? Who should we be contacting? Who is involved in the buying process? What common needs are we addressing?
Meet again. Is there still consensus that all parties are on the same wavelength?
Expose. Widely publish the universal lead definition in the interest of integrating it into the organization’s culture and language.
Close the loop. Marketing and sales should meet regularly to review and reconfirm the universal lead definition’s efficacy with such queries as: Was a particular lead an actual lead? Did it enter the sales process? Why or why not? What else should be known about it? How can we improve on what we are doing?
Edit and republish. There is no reason the universal lead definition can’t be improved on, if required.
So, for example, a definition of a hot lead that should be passed on to the sales team might be:
* Talked with vice president of sales (economic decision maker);
* In the sweet spot (meets ideal customer profile);
* Clear business need/initiative for what we sell;
* Wants to fix the problem;
* Purchase decision made in less than six months;
* Has a formal budget of X or can find a budget; and
* Ready to speak to a sales consultant.
Ultimately, if everyone is consistent in the application of the company’s lead definition, confidence in the quality and viability of leads within your sales ranks will grow. Lead acceptance will be drastically increased, and salespeople then can focus only on those prospects who have a definite interest and need.
Step Two: Consolidate and Centralize Your Prospect Information
Leads come to marketing departments from a wide variety of sources: information requests from your Web site, demo downloads, event attendee lists … the list goes on and on. Sometimes the prospect data is sketchy, but usually you have at least a name, a company name, and either e-mail or phone contact information. You also have the source of the lead, which eventually will help you determine whether that inquiry source is a viable contributor to your lead funnel.