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Without a Sales Lead Management Process, Marketing Plans are Fantasies

IStock-669853862Manufacturing can’t produce products without a process, Sales can’t sell without a process, Engineering can’t define a product without a process, Accounting and Finance can’t manage without a process, and Marketing can’t market without a sales lead management (SLM) process. 

Of course, Marketing can create a yearly plan, but without an Sales Lead Management process the plan is a fantasy; Marketing can’t create qualified leads or measure results without a defined SLM process.

Without an SLM process, no one in Marketing is accountable because success isn’t measurable.  Of course the salespeople are held accountable, but without an SLM process they spend time on ‘garbage’ leads that suck the life out of their jobs and contribute to quota failure.

Today’s Marketing Realities:

  1. Marketing plans can’t produce a five-time return on investment unless Marketing investments produce qualified leads.
  2. Making bets on the most productive media can only be made by using a CRM system that reports real results.
  3. Competitive companies use marketing automation for follow-up and nurturing.
  4. Salespeople will never stop complaining unless they are making quota from qualified leads.
  5. Without SLM processes, the cause of success is guesswork and the reasons for the results are unknown.
  6. An SLM process defines the sources of prospects qualified to buy.

An SLM process defines the many departments, agencies and dozens of software systems used to create a predictable flow of revenue and a pretax profit. 

Why it matters

"Without a sales lead management process  your business resembles a lottery more than a business."

And yet, defining the sales lead management process is easy and simple:

  1. Define the steps Marketing and Sales must take to achieve a predictable outcome for marketing and sales spending.
  2. The steps must be in a logical progression; a defined list that Marketing and Sales will follow.
  3. There must be rules of engagement that each department agrees to.
  4. It isn’t difficult to agree to a SLM process, but it is more difficult to follow the process.

Why it’s Important:

"The Sales Lead Management Process measures results and prompts changes and adjustments in marketing and sales that allow you to sell more than your competitors."

 The SLM process includes, of course, the content sent to prospects, and the timing of communications and follow-up.  It includes the sales funnel (commonly used in a CRM system), and the actions of the different departments including the software programs that control the process.  It includes a rule for sales lead follow-up by salespeople. 

It’s a white board exercise that is boiled down to 6-10 SLM process steps and rules for engagement.  It will take just a few hours for Marketing and Sales management, including sales operations and marketing operations, to agree that the steps you have are working or create a sales and marketing process from scratch. 

Is 2018 the time for Marketing and Sales to sit down and define the sales lead management process (not just the funnel), and define the follow-up rules for both parties? 

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