- One of the key issues hampering the growth of any organization is the failure of the lead management process
- We put a lot of emphasis on helping clients to identify issues in the lead management process that restrict their growth
- The SiriusDecisions Demand Waterfall® best encapsulates the lead management process
One of the key issues hampering the growth of any organisation is the failure of the lead management process. At SiriusDecisions, we put a great deal of emphasis on helping clients to identify issues in the lead management process that ultimately restrict their growth. The SiriusDecisions Demand Waterfall® best encapsulates the lead management process.
Clients that have implemented the Demand Waterfall, but who have not defined the rules and actions for lead hand-offs, often experience several common:
High lead volume caused by poor qualification criteria, leading to sales “cherry picking” the best leads. The remainder are often discarded!
- Poor communication between sales and marketing resulting in sales not being included in setting the rules and threshold criteria
- Poor identification of who is responsible, his or her responsibilities and the timeframe required for the completion of an action
- Lack of a measurement system
- Inertia – resistance to change
The rules and actions that together form service-level agreements or SLAs between sales and marketing are the key to a successful, efficient lead management process. It is crucial, however, that both sales and marketing sign up for their implementation.
Nobody ever said that it was easy to put SLAs in place, but the prize can be a significant and measurable improvement in conversion rates for companies that do. It’s not unusual to see a doubling of deals won when effective SLAs are in place.
The benefits of investing time and effort in deploying SLAs are clear. Organisations that have clarity around their lead management process see improvement in pipeline conversion rates, quality of leads, sales velocity, sales efficiency, productivity, utilisation and a measurable increase in marketing value (for both sourced and influenced leads).
Very often, simply getting everyone around a table and working as a team to agree to a set of binding SLAs is the hardest step. A carefully planned and executed SLA and lead qualification workshop is a great way to ensure that all teams (and regions) get around the table to meet, discuss and formalise agreements on how lead criteria and actions will actually work.
Here are five quick tips to consider when planning an SLA workshop:
- Conduct stakeholder interviews ahead of the workshop to gather requirements and issues
- Use an impartial moderator/peacemaker to ensure alignment and collaboration
- Make the workshop fully inclusive and interactive with cross-functional team exercises to enforce collaboration
- Formalise measurement criteria and governance going forward
- Communicate results to the broader organisation and bake into new-hire training
A shared vision and clear direction are a great start, but it’s crucial to agree on which specific criteria and activities will determine the qualification or acceptance of a lead. Most importantly, leadership must enforce this agreement through appropriate governance.
Want to learn more about the benefits of sales and marketing alignment? Register for our Summit Europe this 19-20 October. This must-attend event will feature cutting edge European research including the introduction of specialised sessions for Demand Marketers, Marketing and Sales Operations, Sales Professionals and spotlight sessions for Channel Marketers, Portfolio Marketers and ABM professionals.