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Chuck Schaeffer Lead Transfer Best Practices


Lead Distribution Best Practices to Decrease Lead Leakage & Increase Top Line Revenues

  1. Use Inside Sales Verification. Deciphering exactly when a buyer is ready to buy based on demographic attributes and online behaviors is a difficult process. Having inside sales or an equivalent role perform an outbound qualification upon reaching a lead score threshold, but before distributing the lead to sales, will add human intelligence to the lead profile, deliver more qualified leads to the sales force and improve the SAL rate significantly.

  2. Include Lead Intelligence. According to a CMO Council report titled, Closing the Gap: The Sales & Marketing Alignment Imperative, only 12% of sales and marketing professionals say they have access to a well-integrated, real-time view of customer interactions. This compliments IDC research which shares that approximately 25% of sales’ time is spent on unproductive prospecting. Marketers shouldn’t just send lead records from the marketing automation system to the CRM system and hope for the best. Sales people want content and context that will spur opening conversations and help them engage with new prospects. Be sure to include the lead score(s), activities and behaviors with lead transfers so that sales reps can see what content the lead consumed over what channels and periods. While marketing automation systems vary in their integration approaches to CRM systems, they pretty much all support a seamless, bi-directional transfer of lead data, correspondence and KPIs.

  3. Setup Alerts and Notifications. You’ll want to define the actions and methods to alert sales people of new leads or changes in lead behaviors. When a new lead is assigned to a sales person in the CRM system, it’s a good idea to also send an email notification. This is standard functionality in most marketing automation systems. Additionally, marketers will continue to monitor lead behaviors and should alert sales if any of their prospects' interactions suggest an indicative action. This may include the prospect downloading a white paper, reviewing the website pricing page or requesting a demo. Several marketing software systems deliver daily digest emails which highlight each salesperson’s most active prospects and the activities they’ve performed in the last 24 hours. Other marketing systems create Hot Lists of the most active or highly scoring prospects for each sales person. This type of information shows what prospects are active in their buying process at any given time and allows sales reps to strike while the irons hot.

  4. Create an SLA. Sales and Marketing Service Level Agreements (SLA) codify each group’s objectives, responsibilities and performance measures. Typically, marketing agrees to deliver a fixed number of SALs and sales agrees to respond to each and every lead pursuant to agreed upon processes – which should include the timing, persistence, messaging and measured progress applied to distributed leads. For example, I often find it helpful to require each distributed lead be accepted or rejected within 12 hours (or it automatically reverts back to marketing for continued nurturing or redistribution) and be advanced to an SQL within 3 days (or again, it reverts back to marketing). Sales should also commit to returning stalled leads to marketing for continued nurturing (more on this in the lead recycling step). It’s critical that if either side doesn’t meet their SLA objectives, a meeting ensues and a remediation plan is quickly implemented.

  5. Lead Response Collaboration. Sales people should be the eyes and ears for lead behavioral responses and a process should exist to funnel this information back to marketing. Lead reactions will reveal what points of differentiation resonate and what messaging falls flat. Sales reps should invite marketers to listen in on prospect discussions and experience firsthand the trials and tribulations of winning business if they expect marketing to aid their sales pursuits. In an Aberdeen research report titled Sales and Marketing Alignment, the firm found that two-thirds of top performing sales organizations have a formal process which brings marketing staff into active prospect selling situations. This participation is influential in helping marketing understand what customers want and how they can better assist their sales colleagues. The same report shares that top performing companies are 29% more likely for sales and marketing to jointly perform win/loss reviews. Don’t let lost sale opportunities go to waste. It’s been my experience nothing changes people and processes faster than the loss of a heart-felt and significant sale opportunity.

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The crucial aspect of lead hand-off is too often bundled and dropped."

—Aberdeen Group

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