Leads, every manufacturer wants them. In fact, every manufacturer I've ever talked to wants more. If only the marketing team could generate more leads, business would be better. But it doesn't end there. Marketing says they generate plenty of leads and Sales won't follow up. Sales says all the leads Marketing sends over are craptacular so they just ignore them. Where does it end?
Here's a 7 step framework for lead management that will get your Sales team to salivate for that next marketing lead and will have your Marketing team sending nothing but high quality leads to Sales.
Step 1 - Agree on the definition of a lead - This is usually the single biggest problem that causes the misunderstanding between Sales and Marketing. Each team has a different perception of the term 'lead'. Collaborate and agree on a specific definition.
Step 2 - Create a written Service Level Agreement (SLA) - Create an agreement that specifies the responsibilities of each team. Include the definition of a lead (see Step 1). State clearly what, when and how Marketing will deliver a lead to Sales. State exactly what Sales will do with the lead, when they will do it and what happens if they don't do what they agreed to do.
Step 3 - Agree to the KPIs or metrics that will be used to determine success or failure - Some common KPIs are:
- Percentage of leads Sales accepts as qualified
- Average time from qualified lead to opportunity
- Number of leads created by Marketing
- Number of leads worked by Sales
- Percentage of marketing qualified leads that turn into opportunities
- Percentage of marketing leads that convert to revenue
Step 4 - Hold both teams accountable - Team leaders must hold their team members to the SLA. If either team is not meeting their obligation, collaborate to figure out what is going wrong.
Step 5 - Hold joint team review sessions - Hold these meetings on a regular basis at least quarterly. It is best to hold monthly meetings when the program is getting off the ground. Don't skip the meetings because they are crucial to developing a well aligned revenue team.
Step 6 - Review and revise the SLA as needed when needed.
Step 7 - Revel in your success - Watch your Sales and Marketing teams go from separate silos and not understanding each other to becoming a well-aligned lead generation and closing machine.