What Great Lead Management and Great PR Have in Common by Christel K. Hall, APR CBC
What Kirk the Handyman and his Stranded-On-A-Deserted-Island Tool has to do with Marketing!

An Interview with one of the "50 Most Influential Sales Lead Management Professionals": Jay Hidalgo, Annuitas Group

Company URL  http://www.annuitasgroup.com/ 

Who are your mentors and why? 

Jim Woodcock. A friend, and seasoned marketing and sales executive, Jim also has keen insight into the interpersonal dynamics that drive business. Jim listens, then asks question in such a way that drive me to find the answers on my own. Also, David Beighley. David's counsel over the past 7 or so years has been invaluable, helping me to look objectively at my strengths/weaknesses and how they affect my relationships, including my business relationships. 

What is the most helpful advice you've received to improve your business? 

A friend and business colleague told me, "The best way to make money is not to spend it". That mantra drives us to seek efficiency in all we do.

What is the most helpful advice you can give to help others improve their businesses? 

A borrowed idea from one of my mentors: Ask yourself, what's the next right thing to do. Then, do it.

How do you give back to the professional community? 

We spend time with small business, independents, non-profits, providing counsel and service. These entities usually have some kind of lead management need, but not necessarily the resources. So, we help out where we can.

What is your favorite business book? 

Leadership and Self Deception put out by the Arbinger Institute. Also, almost anything by Pat Lencioni. 

Which 4 basic skills or process steps do you recommend?  With regards to Sales Lead Management:

1. Perform an audit of your existing Lead Management processes (or lack of process. Seek to identify gaps in the process, and
document those gaps and their impact on your company.

2. Develop recommended fixes for each of those gaps. Document, from a process based approach, the most effective solutions for closing the gaps you identified in step 1.

3. Implement the recommended fixes. Begin making the changes in the broken process, prioritizing whereby large impact fixes are implemented first. And, incorporate measurements to monitor the effectiveness of the changes.

4. Where possible, automate the process.
 
In your opinion, the best book on marketing is:


Good to Great by Jim Collins

Your reasons for choosing this book are: 

It was more of research study than one author's opinion. More than any other book, I've seen the concepts in Good to Great play out on a regular basis in the companies with which we work.

What would you say to someone who asks what to do first in managing sales leads? 

Make sure marketing and sales are aligned on the initiative. When implementing lead management programs for companies, we usually suggest that marketing "reach across" to sales to begin the discussions on how to develop a more effective process. Areas of discussion should be assessment of current lead management processes, standardizing definitions, lead qualification practices, lead scoring, lead nurturing, lead routing, metrics, etc. If marketing and sales are not together, effective lead management process will be short lived.
 
If someone wants to nurture sales inquiries what process would you recommend? 

First, decide which prospects are going to be nurtured (not all prospects are worth keeping). Then, segment the prospect list appropriately for your business: Industry, geography, pain point, buying cycle stage, etc. From there, develop your communications schedule for each segment.

For example, those later in the buying cycle might receive more personalized, high touch communications. Conversely, those earlier in the buying cycle can receive more "mass" communications. Vary communications messages.  Balance "sales" messages with useful content. Also, integrate multiple methodologies: email, phone, sales call,etc. Finally, once the plan is developed, determine what resources (technology, call centers, etc.) will help to enhance the process. Doing this effectively will allow you to develop those long term relationships with prospects, and eventually customers.
 
What steps would you suggest to measure the ROI for sales inquiries? 

We advocate using a "start with the objective" rule of thumb. The process goes like this:

First, marketing needs to work with sales to determine annual revenue objectives and projections.

Next, marketing and sales should determine how much of that total is expected to come from new customers (as a result of marketing's efforts), versus how much is expected to be generated from existing customers. The "new" sales number becomes marketing's main objective.

Next, use historical data to determine the revenue for the average sale, lead to close ratio, and cost per lead. These three numbers will allow you to determine how many leads are needed to arrive at the sales goals, and what it will cost to generate them.

Finally, using those costs, marketing and sales together should determine (using historical data) which marketing communications methodologies will generate the number of leads needed to arrive at the agreed to sales objective. Then, allocate spending to each of those methodologies proportionately. That spend relative to revenue will give you the ROI.

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