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Denise A Practical How To Guide to Marketing Software Vendor Selection


The Practical Approach to Requirements Definition

Now let's apply these principles to a function within the Marketing organization: lead distribution.

In our scenario, we have a company where leads come in from multiple sources, and are forwarded to an inside sales team of 5 people. They qualify each lead, perform the appropriate triage, update relevant information about the lead and send sales-ready leads to the field reps.

Step One—Draw a Picture

Based on a request from Lynda, the marketing software selection team Project Manager, the five Inside Reps come together over a white board session and discuss how leads come to them, and how they handle them. There are variations but they are able to reach a simple diagram that they all agree tells an accurate story. One of them takes a cell phone photo of the whiteboard and emails it to Lynda.

Marketing Process

Step Two—Create a Process Narrative

Lynda prints out the diagram and creates a business process narrative that describes it. She uses blue type to indicate an Actor, red type to indicate an Action, and green type to indicate an Aftereffect.

  1. A lead comes in from a variety of sources.
  2. The Inside Rep enters the information into a spreadsheet.
  3. The spreadsheet is exported to a sales tracking database.
  4. Inside Rep takes the call and marketing qualifies the lead.
  5. Inside Rep sends out any information requested and call ends.
  6. Inside Rep records the event in a spreadsheet.
  7. Inside Rep alerts the Field rep of the lead assignment.
  8. The Field rep calls the lead.
  9. Inside Rep updates a status document for management visibility.

Step Three—Create a Summary

Lynda writes a brief summary of the function. Inbound leads are handled by an Inside Sales Rep, who marketing-qualifies the lead, records it, passes it on to the appropriate field rep, and updates a lead management report.

Step Four—Identify Technologies

Based on a request from Lynda, the technical team assigned to the selection project lists both the current technical infrastructure, and any other requirements or IT preferences they may have.

Step Five—Business Impact

As the individual functions are run through this process, it becomes clear where the impact they have on downstream processes occurs. First, entering information into the sales tracking report impacts sales statistics. Second, and more importantly, this impacts the Field Rep, who now must contact the Lead.

Step Six—Identify the Metrics

Based on the Action-Actor-Aftereffect analysis of Lead Distribution, the selection team determines that they want to see improvement in both task elements and process elements. Specifically, they want to see a reduction in the time and cost of handling the inbound lead, and they want to further streamline processes to reduce the amount of leads lost due to a variety of reasons. They've analyzed both and established goals of:

  1. 15% reduction in the cost of handling leads; and
  2. 50% reduction in lost leads.

To determine what each vendor can commit to, they provide them the basic metrics they used to set their goals.

Duration in Minutes
Cost (@ $.43/minute)
Receive and process the lead
Interact with the lead
Assign lead and alert rep
Record the event in a spreadsheet
Record the event in the sales management system
Lead distribution Cost Per Lead

Lead distribution has an operational impact as well. A poor distribution process results in lost or poorly tended leads. So in this case we're going to add another set of metrics: these focused on lost lead analytics.

Lost Leads
Total leads per day:
Number of leads handled:
Number of leads mishandled:
  34% lost;
  33% followed up on too late;
  33% endless phone tag.

Next - Software Requirements Document >>

Best PracticesVendor SelectionRequirements DefinitionRequirements Document





This How To Guide provides an illustration and focuses on the specific steps and actions necessary to properly define marketing software requirements.


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