In team sports, the huddle is crucial to the success of the team. While in the huddle, the team looks at their performance on the last play, including: what worked and what didn’t, and then uses this feedback to decide their next play.
Those of us involved in the complex sale can learn a lot from the team huddle. Lead generation is an iterative process that requires consistent closed-loop feedback. Closing the loop on a regular basis allows you to constantly learn from each interaction.
I define closed-loop feedback as the principle of eliciting a continuous flow of pertinent information from the sales team that tracks each qualified lead from start to end, whether to sales close or to rejection.
By using closed-loop-feedback, Nortel Networks, watched their revenues from sales leads double every quarter for six consecutive quarters. Also, their close rate on sales leads has increased by 500 percent since they kicked off the program.
Next, I’m going to share tips and the process that my team uses to conduct closed-loop feedback meetings with our clients. It works wonders!
A typical closed-loop feedback meeting will include or address:
– Program manager and program expert (internal or outsourced)
– Lead generation specialists/Inside Sales/Teleprospectors (internal or outsourced)
– Sales team
– Interested observers (managers and leaders)
– Summary of month’s activity
– Export of leads into sales stage
– Status of leads in the sales process
– Feedback on each lead if available
– Leads active and moving forward
– Inactive leads
– Incorrectly qualified?
– Further follow-up?
– Leads for nurturing.
– Wins that can be celebrated
– Things being done right
– Things that can be improved
Questions that work
The effective closed loop feedback meeting is structured by the open discussion of all attendees, generated by such questions as:
- Have you been satisfied with the quantity of leads that have been generated?
- Are some sales people getting too few leads?
- Should there be a special focus on individual sales people or industries?
- Do database record notes contain enough information to prepare for next steps?
- Are the notes clear and understandable?
- Do the notes reflect what you hear when you call the prospect again?
- Are there other questions that would help you better prepare for the next action?
- Are current lead criteria adequate for qualifying prospects?
- Are there upcoming events that should be promoted when calling?
- How many calls does it take to reach the prospect?
- How many days after receiving the lead does follow-up begin?
- How many leads have turned into customers?
- What are the names of prospects who became customers?
- Is there anything unique about the leads that went into the sales pipeline or were closed?
- Are there prospects and/or customers who should be discussed specifically?
It is important to note that this process works best when you’ve developed an universal lead definition to assure buy-in from all stakeholders first. Otherwise, you’re dealing with to much lead quality variance.
Companies that make closed loop feedback work have higher lead-conversion rates than those that do not. Ultimately, companies that “huddle” more frequently improve all phases of the sales and marketing continuum and their return on investment.