In this second blog of our 10 part series on Top Tips for Progress Your Leads, our VP Sales, John Macleod explores the next step in maximising the returns from your marketing efforts, and progressing ‘sales ready leads’ through the sales pipeline. The second step: Create a Lead Handover Process.
In my previous blog we looked at the importance of Agreeing a Lead Qualification Criteria, and how it is imperative that sales and marketing are completely aligned in agreeing the definition of a sales qualified lead.
So, once that all important prospect has made its way through the journey from viewing your content, resonating with your message, engaging with your organisation – and they have been qualified in as sales ready by your marketing team, what happens next?
Well – now comes the part where the lead is handed to sales to engage with and progress, hopefully converting the lead into a valued customer. It is in this vital step that a formalised process needs to be implemented to ensure that the sales consultant recognises that a lead has been assigned to them, and that both marketing and sales management have visibility of what happens with the lead from here on in.
So what does best practice look like when assigning a lead to sales?
1. Record the Lead Source
The lead source is a vital component of measuring the success of your marketing activities. Without a lead source you will have no way of discovering in months to come where the lead originally came from when that lead finally converts into a customer. There are probably many different sources of leads feeding in to your marketing pipeline, some of which may make up a considerable portion of you marketing spend. By recording the lead source before you pass the lead across to a sales consultant, you can avoid any confusion of where the lead originated from, and who was responsible for generating it.
2. Assign the Lead in CRM
We all know that sales people do not have the best reputation for keeping their CRM up to date. We shall address that particular challenge later, however before the lead is passed across to sales, ensure that the lead is created in your CRM, staged at the appropriate level, and formally assigned to the sales consultant who now has the responsibility of converting that golden lead in to a delighted customer. Without a formal process in place where the lead is visible to marketing, sales consultant, and their manager, it becomes very difficult for everyone to know what stage the lead is at, who now has ownership of the opportunity, and what the next steps are.
3. Hand Over ALL Information Captured
In the blogs that follow we are going to investigate the role of the sales consultant in progressing the lead from this all important stage of ‘sales qualified’. However in order for sales to be most effective in their efforts to successfully engage and progress the opportunity, they must be armed with as much information as possible. What constitutes as a ‘sales qualified lead’ will already be defined if you have followed tip 1 in this series, so this should mean that a sufficient amount of data has been captured on the lead in question, including the Contact Profile (with full contact details), Company Profile, Need, Timescales, Budget, Authority, Next Steps etc.
What is also useful for the sales consultant to know is what information the prospect has received so far regarding your proposition and offering. This can include the piece of content that originally resonated with them that resulted in the initial engagement. Leave no stone unturned. Whether the information is captured on a lead sheet, call recording, web form, or CRM – make sure ALL information is handed across during the process.
4. Implement a Notification Process
Working for a marketing organisation whose primary function is to provide qualified leads for our clients, I have been shocked by how many instances have arisen whereby a lead has been somehow missed by the sales consultant, and no action has been taken to engage with the prospect.
How can this happen?
Well it all comes down to an insufficient notification process. What can often happen is that a lead is assigned to a sales consultant on CRM, or they’re sent an email, or maybe they need to log in to a shared drive to access the lead; however this can easily be lost within a busy workload. It is important that a standardised process is implemented so that the lead can be found in the same place every time, the sales consultant is alerted to the fact that they have a new lead, but also that they acknowledge receipt. That way if no acknowledgement is received, the person handing over the lead can double check that it has been picked up and actioned accordingly.
One lost lead may result in a lost sales opportunity that you may never be able to recover. One lost opportunity may result in one less customer, and that may result in your business objectives and targets being missed.
Stay tuned for our next blog in this series of 10 top tips for maximising marketing leads through sales.
Don’t want to wait? Download our free eBook now to get your own copy of all 10 steps.
Top Ten Tips for Progressing Marketing Leads