Of course, marketing has many facets, from product management to lead generation, digital marketing, content marketing, PR, event marketing, and marketing operations; every discipline is important for the entire marketing machine. But the one discipline, above all others, that makes it all work is the sales lead management process.
Without a defined sales lead management process companies either fail outright or fail to be profitable and competitive. A defined SLM process is necessary because the working parts of the SLM process are cross-departmental, cross-software applications, and cross-vendor driven, which is a recipe for confusion and chaos if there is no defined process.
Why It’s Important
Sales departments need a sales process and a company’s failure is often tracked back to the lack of a sales process. Manufacturing, finance, purchasing and quality departments must also have a process or they fail. For some reason, however, marketing has gotten away without a sales lead process document describing in detail how a sales lead is processed, the tools used to process it, and the departments that cooperate with each other in order to fulfill the needs of the prospect.
Without an SLM process, outside vendors do one-off programs to improve the qualification of the inquirer, but their actions need to be understood within the framework of an SLM process. Content management is a vital part of the process in supplying the right information to the prospect at the right time. Marketing operations departments are becoming common to overcome the chaos that results from everyone’s best intentions carried out with little forethought.
Chart it Out
Identify the players, inside and out, the software, inside and out, and the rules for engagement; then chart out the process. Codify it in the various CRM, marketing automation and marketing intelligence applications. Test it, get stakeholder buy-in (sales management and salespeople come to mind), and continually review and refine the process as new digital lead generation applications and opportunities arise.
Why it Matters
“Without a sales lead management process, you have well-intentioned marketing people haphazardly managing sales leads, which are the most valuable company assets (aside from its products), while salespeople wander about on a self-imposed pursuit of unqualified buyers.”