I’m amazed that 90% of the companies I’ve talked with over the last six months lack a clear definition of a sales lead really is – that is their sales and marketing departments don’t agree on a universal lead definition. By not asking and answering a few critical questions, these teams are working inefficiently, wasting time and money, and in effect, crippling the bottom line. Teamwork is the only way organizations can achieve maximum ROI.
To get your lead generation program on track, I recommend that your organization start by creating a universal lead definition. By following these five steps, you’ll create a definition that not only works but that gets better over time.
Steps for defining a universal lead definition:
1. Meet – Get those who are marketing and those who are selling together in a room or on a conference call. You need a leader/facilitator with “street credibility.” The premise of the meeting is that we’re all in this together.
2. Ask this question to sales team: “For us to be 100% certain that when we send you a lead that you will act on it and provide feedback on 100% of the time, what do you need to know? At what point do you consider a lead qualified? Now shut up and listen. Dig. Dig. Dig. Everybody must play.
3. Don’t stop with just one meeting. Summarize the notes from your meeting and have another meeting to clarify and make sure everyone is satisfied with the definition. You need to have a strong consensus.
4. Publish the Universal Lead Definition everywhere so people who are involved in new customer acquisition are reminded often about their target and objective.
5. Close-the-loop via huddles before leveraging software. Sales/Marketing should meet bi-weekly to review if the lead definition is still accurate. Ask questions like: Was X a lead? Did they enter the sales process? Why or why not? What else would you like to have known about this lead? How can we improve? What should we stop doing? What should we start doing?
It won’t take long to reap the benefits. And, I guarantee you that improved ROI won’t be the only one.