George was a new sales representative with the company. As part of his on-boarding he noticed in his job description and in the briefing from his sales manager that when it came to sales leads there were expectations of him as outlined in the Rules for Sales Lead Management. “Well,” he said, “I’m not used to it but the rules are spelled out, I have to follow-up and report on every lead as a condition of employment.”
Something similar happened to Jessie who started in marketing a week or so later. She was surprised to read in her job description that the company had rules which stated that in order to maximize the return on marketing’s investment she would have to forecast the sales results for a campaign before the campaign launched and measure the results afterward. She agreed to it, although she remarked to her manager that she’d have to learn how to do it.
Both of these new employees experienced a set of sales lead management rules for sales and marketing that were designed by someone in the company to maximize the efficacy of the sales process.
Without a sales lead management system and rules a company’s sales and marketing process are not well defined, feeble in execution and the closing ratio of leads is 300% lower than the company’s potential.[i] Sales lead management, for the uninitiated is more than a CRM system, or even a marketing automation system. These are tools, but without a clearly defined process of how the tools will be used, salespeople will be at a disadvantage, revenue will never reach its potential and marketing will continue to put money into inefficient choices.
Why it’s important:
Without a sales lead management system and rules, a company’s sales and marketing process are not well defined, feeble in execution and the closing ratio of leads is 300% lower than the company’s potential.
Sales Lead Management is a rule agreement (versus the tools of CRM and Marketing Automation Systems) that defines the roles and responsibilities for marketing and salespeople in the creation, follow-up, management and reporting of prospects known as sales leads.
Sales lead management rules that sales and marketing people follow will yield the greatest return on marketing’s spending and the salesperson’s opportunity cost. The rule set is an agreement between sales and marketing that drives the sales process, this is an example of some of those rules:
- 100% of the sales leads are followed-up by the salespeople (versus 10-25%).
- All sales results by sales rep and campaign (good or bad) are reported in the CRM system.
- Marketing will forecast the ROI for every lead generation campaign that it spends money to create.
- Marketing measures the results of every lead generation campaign and reports on the return on investment.
- Marketing buys those tactics that create the most qualified leads to increase the efficiency of the sales organization.
- Over time, marketing will avoid marketing expenditures with the lowest returns or those that fall below the minimum accepted level of return.
With these sales lead management rules, a company can purchase the CRM and marketing automation tools that will allow, report on, and nurture prospects to bring in a better yield, dollar for marketing dollar, than its competitors.
To create rules for sales lead management:
- Marketing and Sales Management must meet face to face.
- The rules should not be more than one page long.
- The rules spell out the responsibilities of both departments.
Yep, it is as simple as that; funny thing about the word rules.
- People hesitate to break rules.
- Rules are accepted as policy.
- Rules have a long life as it takes some effort to change the rules.
- Rules are not argued about, but accepted as part of job descriptions.
To create the most efficient sales process, the sales lead management process and rule set for marketing and sales must be created. Ready to start? As George Elliott said, 'Its never too late to be what you might have been."
[i] James Obermayer, Managing Sales Leads: Turning Cold Prospects Into Hot Customers, (Mason, Ohio, Textere an imprint of Thomson/South-Western, 2007), and Racom Books, Page 10