What’s a Lead?
For example, my company recently was retained to develop a lead qualification program for a company whose marketing department was concerned that the sales department wasn’t acting on the inquiries generated (which marketing called leads). Marketing felt the sales process basically was a black box: No one except the sales team knew what was going on inside the black box until a proposal or sale happened. Worse still, many leads that went into the sales black box were never seen again. This made it particularly challenging for the marketing team when it was trying to measure its revenue contribution and lead generation ROI.
Ultimately, it was concluded that without the skill, desire and incentive, the sales team should not have been asked to pursue the activity of lead qualification, and a special lead generation/qualification program was adopted. The program also took into account the impact speedy lead follow-up has on ROI. First, all leads are centrally qualified via phone against the company’s universal lead definition within two hours and distributed to the field salesforce and sales channel, which then is required to follow up on Web inquiries within four to eight hours. The company generates 4,000 inquiries per year, mostly via its Web site, events and webinars.
If the qualified sales lead is not reviewed or followed up by the assigned salesperson within 24 hours, this salesperson can count on a call from his or her sales manager. Inactive leads automatically are flagged in the CRM system. If a sales lead goes more than 48 hours before being touched, the assigned salesperson risks having that lead reassigned to someone with more selling time capacity.
This might seem aggressive, but it works. The company has a lead conversion rate triple the amount of many industry peers, and it now knows exactly how many marketing-generated leads are being pursued by the sales team. Goodbye black box.