Sales people are always looking for the “good leads”. In the movie Glen Gary Glen Ross the “Leads” were wrapped up with a bow and paraded in front of desperate lead starved Salespeople. Lets talk about what a lead is. In common Sales Speak it is anyone who has or may have some how given an indication how ever slight that they may want to do business with us. It can be a new or existing customer. Oddly enough according to the folks at Sandler Sales approximately 90% of Trade Show leads are Never Followed up on. I can vouch for that having attended many shows and had my badge scanned ad nauseam, yet with scant little follow up. Which is endlessly frustrating for the marketing people who set up the show, ad campaign, literature etc. Well at least until covid is over wasted Trade Show leads won’t be a problem.
We can use Salesforce to get a better handle on this situation. In Salesforce Speak a Lead is a Company or Person who has Never Done or Attempted to Do Business with us. We know little about them, usually their contact info, their industry and what type of interest they expressed. If the lead lacks this basic info it is not a Qualified Lead either fill in the blanks or delete it. Yes Delete it I have seen folks desperately clutching on to leads that were nothing more than a name and a bad address. I asked what are you going to do mail them a post card? Even better leads that are 18,000 days old and did not buy or get much follow up hmmm.
You won’t find Sales People clamoring to do the footwork to clean up those leads. There are a few online services with will match names to companies but you need at least that info. Define the information you need to make it a Qualified Lead. Refuse everything else. So is it a Lead when an existing customer wants to buy…..NO. That in Salesforce speak is an Opportunity that is associated with an existing Account and Contact. Is it business that is a credit to the sales person Yes, track it as an opportunity. When do we convert a Lead into an Opportunity with an Account & Contact. Good question, when we have defined that there is an Opportunity (Product or Service) that we can Quote, or Measure in dollars and cents. Some companies require a Quote go along with the Opportunity, others merely that we have some idea of what they want. Along with that we estimate the probability of success and what stage it is in our sales funnel.
How can we help Sales, by providing them with qualified leads. Define for your organization what that means. For example: Full Name, Title, Company, email or phone, maybe address, what they are interested in or are likely to be interested in. We can warm them up by using our inside sales team to do an initial screen. With covid most all teams are exclusively inside sales teams. In many companies these leads are warmed up using marketing tools like: Pardot, Marketing Cloud etc. By using a customer journey through a series of emails, engagements, offers, downloads and more. So we can winnow out the tire kickers and get the Good Leads in the hands of the Sales Team.
Now that they have the “Good Leads” now what? Tracking those leads is critical. Many companies spend a huge amount of money to aquire new customers yet can not quantify the cost of acquisition. You can not even try to control something you do not measure. By tracking and back tracking the successes you will know where to put your time and efforts.