The huddle is crucial to the success of a team in most team sports. While in the huddle, the team looks at their performance on the last play, including what worked and what didn’t, and then uses this feedback to decide their next play.
Sales and marketing can learn a lot from the team huddle. Lead generation is an iterative process that requires consistent closed-loop feedback. Closing the loop on a regular basis allows you to constantly learn from each interaction.
What is closed loop feedback?
I define closed-loop feedback as the principle of eliciting a continuous flow of pertinent information from the sales team that tracks each qualified lead from start to end, whether to sales close or to rejection.
By using closed-loop-feedback, Nortel Networks, watched their revenues from sales leads double every quarter for six consecutive quarters. Also, their close rate on sales leads has increased by 500 percent since they kicked off the program.
Next, I’m going to share tips and the process that my team uses to conduct closed-loop feedback meetings with our clients. It works wonders!
A typical closed-loop feedback meeting will include or address:
Attendees to invite
– Program manager and program expert (internal or outsourced)
– Lead generation specialists/Inside Sales/Teleprospectors (internal or outsourced)
– Sales team
– Interested observers (managers and leaders)
Tools you need Need
– Summary of the month’s activity
– Export of leads into sales stage
Agenda for sales and marketing
- Status of leads in the sales process
- Feedback on each lead if available
- Leads active and moving forward
- Inactive leads
- Incorrectly qualified?
- Further follow-up?
- Leads for nurturing.
- Wins that can be celebrated
- Things being done right
- Things that can be improved
Questions that work to close the loop
The effective closed-loop feedback meeting is structured by the open discussion of all attendees, generated by such questions as:
- Have you been satisfied with the number of leads that have been generated?
- Are some salespeople getting too few leads?
- Should there be a special focus on individual sales people or industries?
- Do database record notes contain enough information to prepare for the next steps?
- Are the notes clear and understandable?
- Do the notes reflect what you hear when you call the prospect again?
- Are there other questions that would help you better prepare for the next action?
- Our current lead criteria adequate for qualifying prospects?
- Are there upcoming events that should be promoted when calling?
- How many calls does it take to reach the prospect?
- How many days after receiving the lead does follow-up begin?
- How many leads have turned into customers?
- What are the names of prospects who became customers?
- Is there anything unique about the leads that went into the sales pipeline or were closed?
- Are there prospects and/or customers who should be discussed specifically?
It is important to note that this process works best when you’ve developed a universal lead definition to assure buy-in from all stakeholders first. Otherwise, you’re dealing with to much lead quality variance.
Companies that make closed-loop feedback work have higher lead-conversion rates than those that do not. Ultimately, companies that “huddle” more frequently improve all phases of the sales and marketing continuum and their return on investment.
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Excellent pointers here. Marketing gets carried away with trend graphs of leads, metrics without getting into a regular huddle with sales closing the loop. The huddle gives both teams an appreciation of the work being done and how they can tango to the finish line, every time. Sales wants opportunities, not leads is the perfect way to put it.
as always I thoroughly enjoying reading your wisdomBrian. For your audiences interest youinspired us to start a very cook think tank blog and already we have a nice Global audience. here’s a taste
So you have a Lead Great! Now close the business!
I spent the last couple weeks conducting extensive research into a wide selection of blogs that focus on Leads and sales. During the exercise I gleaned some fabulous perspectives and learned a lot about how companies regard their marketing departments
A lot of blogs deal with the way and means of setting the criteria for leads, like ours at http://blog.technologyevaluation.com/tecinsights/ or Lead generation. Needless to say a countless variety of blogs focus specifically on the category of sales and every aspect of sales. One of the better sales blogs comes from renown author and sales guru Dave Stein who shares his wisdom at http://www.DaveSteinsBlog.com, a blog worthy of being entered into your favorites.
All in all the blogs bring information/education enlightenment for which we are all very thankful.
Frankly our interest is in helping people close more deals faster and we are not at all interested in setting a reader up to subscribe to a paying service.
The TEC-Insight blog is all about helping people recognize a solid lead and to help them pursue it successfully ASAP.
Therefore this new blog series will be a learning exercise to assist one and all on the way and means to close a lead.
if you’d like to join our global Think tank-welcome
Clear thinking and a scientific approach that recognises how people work in organisations — not just how leads flow through a system.
I couldn’t agree more. My company, http://www.getbiz.co.uk specialises in outsourced lead generation, and for us its essential that everyone works together and abandons any sense of ego.
Some management teams don’t help here of course, by purposely creating an aggressively competitive environment within their sales teams. This in turn greatly discourages such huddling!
Thanks for those excellent tips, Brian. If people check their egos at the door, avoid the blame game, and resist the temptation to beat up on each other, closed-loop feedback could indeed make a big difference.
We’re all in this together.
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