"The comments are really important," says Maneker, "because the lead may look well qualified, but the comments tell a different story, and vice versa."
Quantity vs. Quality
Depending on the needs of the sales force at the time, the criteria for determining a lead changes frequently.
"The objectives are set and reset depending on what [we] hear from the field," says Maneker. Martin has a full-time account person who serves as a go-between for Martin and SunGard. Depending on how busy SunGard's sales force is at a given time, the criteria for what constitutes a qualified lead is continually reevaluated.
"What might be a lead six months ago might not be a lead now because they don't need them," says Maneker. Sometimes, for instance, SunGard's sales reps only want to talk to companies with 15 or more servers, because they have more than enough leads that they're already working on. When the lead stream starts to dry up a bit, SunGard will perhaps be willing to talk to companies with just four or more servers.
"The pendulum swings back and forth as you try to balance [lead] quantity and quality," says Palermo.
So constant communication between SunGard and Martin keeps the sales force as busy as it needs to be at all times.
You've Got to Keep it Integrated
No marketing program would be complete in this day and age without a little integration, so SunGard has been experimenting with different media mixes with great success.
"Ideally we purchase lists from publications where we can advertise and we can also get an e-mail address," says Palermo. "It should come as no surprise that if we do an integrated campaign where we're actually advertising in the publication and then we e-mail prior to calling and we call within 48 hours, we see about a 50-percent lift in our response rate."