Mistake #1: You set the wrong business goals
Mistake #3: You treat all inquiries alike
In the old days, Sales fought with Marketing and Marketing fought with Sales. Sales chased the low-hanging fruit and complained that Marketing didn’t provide qualified leads. Marketing developed and nurtured everybody else and complained that Sales didn’t work those leads, leaving the CEO wringing his/her hands, wondering out loud, “Can’t we all just get along?”
That was then. This is now. In today’s account-based management-driven environment, Marketing had better treat Sales like a client, or the organizational goals will never be reached. That leads us to Mistake #4.
Mistake #4: You’re not getting sales force buy-in
This is a critical step. If Sales succeeds, your company makes money, your CEO is happy, your shareholders are happy, and everybody wins. If Sales doesn’t succeed, you’re all out of a job.
So how exactly do you involve Sales in the development of your lead management program? Simple. Give them a seat at the table right from the get-go. We recommend holding a workshop with select field sales reps. Put the topic of lead definition on the table to get their input. By making them part of the process, you’re giving them a stake in the success of the program.
After the criteria for a “lead” is jointly defined, next you’ll want to focus on the lead data itself, communications, and summary reporting. What criteria should be included on the lead form? How do you want to communicate with your sales team, and how should they communicate with you? How often? What kind of reporting do you both need?
Share your preliminary thoughts with your sales reps to guide them forward. You should not give them a blank slate, nor should you take one. This has to be a joint effort, and you want their input to help shape the final product. They know more than you do about your customers’ pain points, prospects’ sticking points, and what it takes to qualify a lead.
Next, think about ways to make it easy for Sales to provide feedback about each lead. Get their POV and their commitment. They need to understand that their feedback should be less about oversight and more about program assessment. When the two of you work together on this planning, you will both succeed.
And last, think about training. This is a good time to gain input about the kind of training that is needed. We’re often surprised by the lack of discipline around the task of handling and managing leads at the territory level. You’ll want to take special care to make sure that your rollout plan reflects this input. Prompt, efficient sales follow-up must be mandatory. A lead gone cold is a forfeited sale. By involving your sales team in the process of developing your lead generation program, you not only ensure compliance, you obtain buy-in through mutual understanding and respect for each other’s priorities.
Next Week: Mistake #5 – You let the existing infrastructure compromise your process. Stay tuned.
Jeff Cleary | Managing Director
Jeff, a University of Massachusetts grad, worked for others for many years. In 1990, Jeff teamed up with Mike Osborn to form Catalyst. Smart move. In his role as managing director, he continually strives to meet and exceed client expectations as well as his employees’, always ensuring a positive, productive workplace.