Bridge Sales & Marketing Gap With Clear Lead Definition

Teamwork is essential in order to maximize ROI from your lead generation programs. Are you sending inquiries or qualified leads over to your sales team? 90% of the companies that I work with (I talk with hundreds each year) lack a clear definition (especially between marketing and sales) of what a sales lead is.

Successful lead generation must go beyond the marketing department. It requires a shared vision that involves all players. It begins with the holistic premise that everyone has something to gain or lose by your lead generation program’s success or failure.

What is a lead?
Companies that aren’t asking this essential question of BOTH their marketing AND sales teams will find that they are producing poor ROI from their lead generation efforts. Miscommunication leads to missed revenue targets, wasted budget dollars and possibly more distrust between marketing and sales.

Here are 6 Steps to help you mutually define a sales lead within your organization. This is referred to as a Universal Lead Definition or ULD.

1. Meet – Get ALL those involved in new customer acquisition in a room or a conference call. You’ll need a leader/facilitator who has “street credibility” because the premise of the meeting is that we’re all in this together. Also, it’s best if you can have sponsorship of a top executive. If you have team issues I suggest the book by Patrick M. Lencioni: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable.

2. Ask the question – What do you consider a qualified lead? Now shut up and listen. Everybody must play. What are the characteristics of the ideal sales opportunity? Who should we be contacting? Who’s involved in the buying process?

3. Confirm it again – Don’t stop with just one meeting. Summarize the notes from your meeting and have another meeting to clarify and make sure everyone is satisfied with the definition? You’ll need a strong consensus.

4. Publish – Publish the ULD everywhere that you can. The terms you use to rank and describe your leads must become part of your organization’s culture and shared language. Everyone must be on the same page.

5. Close-the-loop – Marketing and sales should meet often (maybe bi-weekly) to review the ULD for accuracy. I’ve found it best to do it as part of the regular sales meeting. Ask questions like this… Was X a lead? Did they enter the sales process? Why / Why not? What else would you like to have known about this lead? How can we improve? What should we stop doing? What should we start doing?

6. Edit and republish – The ULD is a living document, so it is not uncommon to see several revisions within the first few months of implementation.

Benefits of Universal Lead Definition

  • Higher qualified, sales-ready leads
  • Sales force has less frustration
  • Increased sales effectiveness
  • More accurate funnel management
  • Shorten average sales cycle
  • Meaningful ROI metrics that are consistent

    I’ll be sharing more on, How to Precisely Define a “Lead” Before Marketing Begins at the B2B Lead Generation Summit in DC and SF. Hope to see you there!

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