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April 2010

Interview with one of the "50 Most Influential Sales Lead Management Professionals":M. H. (Mac) McIntosh

Company URL 

Who are your mentors and why?                                                                                                    

The late Mike Simon of Inquiry Handling Service was definitely ahead of his time. His company pioneered many of of the lead generation, lead nurturing, lead scoring and qualification tactics just becoming popular now. And that was more than 25 years ago.

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

Treat every lead like it was going to be your best customer until you determine otherwise.
What is the most helpful advice you can give to help others improve their businesses?

Marketing automation is a cost-effective and efficient tool for getting your lead generation, lead nurturing and lead scoring/qualification job done right. How did we ever survive without it? (Give me a call if you need help picking the right system or getting it up and running!)

How do you give back to the professional community? 

I donate my time and expertise to speak for free for non-profit marketing associations which are the training grounds of many of our next generation of B2B marketers.
What is your favorite business book? 

Right now it is "The BuyerSphere Project: How Business Buys from Business" by Gord Hotchkiss, CEO of Enquiro. It really helps B2B marketers understand how prospective customers are using the Web in their buying process, and what to do about it.

Which basic skills or process steps do you recommend in regards to Sales Lead Management?

1. Start by getting agreement with sales on the definition of a qualified, sales-ready lead.

2. Capture all inquiries in a database.

3. Follow up immediately with requested information and to determine if the lead is qualified as being sales-ready.

4. Use multi-touch lead nurturing campaigns to keep in touch with longer-term prospects, spoon-feeding them information about the benefits of your company and its products and services until they are sales-ready. (These longer term leads represent 3 out of four of your sales opportunities.)

In your opinion, the best book on marketing is:

Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind - by Al Ries and Jack Trout

Your reasons for choosing this book are:  It helps marketers understand that what your customers and prospects think of your company, product or service is all that really

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

Run! No, seriously, I'd tell them to call two customers or prospects every week. That is a great way to learn more about their needs and thoughts as they relate to your company, its products or services and your marketing-driven lead generation messaging, offers, etc.

Talking directly to customers empowers you to convince your bosses to do the right things by allowing you to say things like "I was talking to our biggest customer, Fred Smith at Framostats, Inc, and he thinks we should do XXXX."
If someone wants to nurture sales inquiries what process would you recommend

Develop ongoing, multi-touch, multi-media campaigns designed to share relevant information and make offers related to each different stage of the buying process. That requires having a deep understanding of your customers and their needs, developing messaging and content mapped to their buying process stages,
What steps would you suggest to measure the ROI for sales inquiries? 

I believe that ROI isn't only measured in terms of sales revenue.

The following are all indicators of ROI from sales lead programs:

� Marketing activities
� Marketing touches
� Inquiries generated
� Marketing Qualified Leads
� Sales Accepted Leads
� Sales Qualified Leads
� Close/won business from leads

White Paper Attributes Lack of Sales Lead Follow-up to Normalized Deviation

The Sales Lead Management Association connects Space Shuttle Columbia defects and Toyota recall issues to high rate of sales lead follow-up failure.

The Sales Lead Management Association has released a new white paper sponsored by Marketo  and LEADTRACK .  The paper offers an explanation and solution to the continuing issue of incomplete sales lead follow-up, which destroys the efficiency of 75% of most marketing campaigns.  

“Normalized deviation,” Obermayer contends, “is the culprit which has plagued lead generation marketing programs for 50 years.  Salespeople ignore many of the inquiries and leads they receive, and over time marketing and sales management accept a 75%-90% lack of follow-up as ‘normal.’  With today’s sophisticated marketing automation and lead management processes, the spotlight is exposing the severity of this issue.”

In this white paper entitled, “Why the Space Shuttle Columbia, Toyota’s Auto Recalls, and Inquiry Dormancy are Related,” Obermayer makes the case (referencing an LA Times article) that all three scenarios exhibit the ‘normalized deviation’ phenomenon.  The flaws and defects that were uncovered, became acceptable, and led to the destruction of the Columbia, and the issues facing Toyota’s recalls, are similar to an average corporation’s dilemma of a 75-90% lead follow-up failure rate.   Over the years it became normal, he writes, for salespeople to ignore all but the ‘hottest’ sales leads given to them.   Eventually marketing management too came to accept the 75-90% inquiry dormancy problem, instead of a much lower percentage.   Obermayer makes the case that this sort of behavior is NOT acceptable in manufacturing within the same companies that allow it to occur in marketing, where typically 2-20% of their yearly revenue dollars are spent.   

Obermayer asks, “How can the waste of billions of marketing dollars each year be accepted as normal?”   The solution, he contends, is to place a spotlight on the issue, establish a 100% follow-up policy for company salespeople, and institute a marketing automation program which contributes to the 100% follow-up rule. 

The white paper can be downloaded at Sales Lead Management Association, or at LEADTRACK or Marketo.

About the Sales Lead Management Association
The SLMA is an association with the mission of helping companies become successful in the critical business process of managing sales leads.  It has 2,400 world-wide members.  Membership is free.

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Media Contact:  Sue Campanale

Research Project from Info-Tech Research Group: Lead Management Automation

Editors note: Seems like a worthwhile project and you'll get a copy of the results.  Take 3 minutes. 

Info-Tech Research Group is currently in the midst of completing a research project focused on vendor selection within the Lead Management Automation space. The study aims at narrowing down the drivers consumers use when comparing vendors against each other and, to a greater extent, the experiences consumers have with selected vendors.

If you or your organization has participated in a vendor selection process for LMA software, Info-Tech would greatly appreciate your insight on the following survey. The survey should take roughly 3 minutes to complete, and all participants will be provided with pre publication materials of the finished product.

Take the 3 minute Survey by Clicking Here.

Sales Lead Management Association Declares October 10-16, 2010 To be Sales Lead Management Week

Companies Challenged to Fuel Business Growth through Lead Management Focus

Los Angeles, CA—April 8,  2010- James W. Obermayer, executive director of the Sales Lead Management Association, announced that SLMA declares the week of Oct 10-16, 2010 as Sales Lead Management Week.     Obermayer stated “The drum beat of sales lead generation and the proper management of inquiries is what fuels business growth and propels companies out of stagnation.  By having a week dedicated to the management of sales leads we encourage industry leaders to challenge themselves and their employees to move toward increased marketing and sales accountability (ROI) through proper lead management.   It is time that customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation programs no longer are hamstrung by corporate managers who allow 75-90% of the inquiries generated to be ignored by salespeople.” 

SLMA Challenges Corporations
Susan Campanale, vice president of the SLMA said, “Traditionally, this has been a week for webinars, seminars, podcasts, speeches and blog entries that discuss the importance of lead follow-up and ROI reporting for lead generation.  The SLMA site has many ideas for companies that believe it isn’t enough to generate the lead, it must also be managed.   The SLMA challenges marketing and sales officers to create events around the topic of lead management.”

 Support for National Sales Lead Management Week

Steve Woods, co-founder and CTO of Eloqua said, “Better lead management is one of the shortest paths to increased revenue.  Correct identification, prioritization, and follow-up of leads improve sales effectiveness and efficiency.  Sales Lead Management Week is an ideal way to call attention to this critical business initiative.”

Dan Rogers, chief executive officer of SmartLead by AdTrack, which provides lead management systems and services, stated “Recent research shows that marketers are under pressure to increase market share, lower costs, prove ROI and directly contribute to revenue growth. Lead management systems and best practices enable marketers to cost-efficiently achieve all of these goals.  Sales Lead Management Week is a great time to spotlight the growing importance of inquiry and sales lead management.”

Carlos Hidalgo, president of The Annuitas Group, added “More than 50% of organizations state that lead generation is their biggest marketing challenge.  This number will grow larger, however, as companies look at going beyond traditional lead generation and move into lead management, which is a must.  Organizations that want to improve revenue make sales more effective and respond to the changing needs of the buyer must adopt a lead management process.  They should use Sales Lead Management Week as a platform to make the case for addressing these issues and gaining executive sponsorship and buy-in.”

About the Sales Lead Management Association
The SLMA is an association with the mission of helping companies become successful in the critical business process of managing sales leads.  Membership is free.

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Media Contact:  Sue Campanale