Lead Management is Assumed
Most companies focus on lead generation to build a pipeline to hit their revenue targets. However, many companies don’t know or have forgotten that lead generation is only the first step in generating pipeline and they forget about the second step- lead management. Or worse, companies may assume that they already do “that”. In 30 years, I have not been in a company that does both well (at the same time), has Sales and Marketing synced and is generating the desired pipeline multiple for qualified opportunities that the company demands, consistently.
Why is that? I believe it is because there is not a managed repeatable process that has been optimized and integrated with Sales and Marketing. Why? Because there are a lot of moving parts and it requires process, discipline and continuous management.
For example, every company attends tradeshows, seminars or puts on some type of event. I would venture to guess that 90+% of companies do not have an optimized process for lead management to support the above mentioned marketing programs, the process is not effective or that the process is not practiced. Below is a sample of a lead management process that would effectively support said Marketing programs and produce optimal results.
Events are like painting. Everyone is concerned about the final finish but most are unfamiliar that the bulk of the work, the heavy lifting, is in the preparation—taping, filling and sanding. The same is true with lead management as there is a lot of preparation that is not obvious and is typically passed or glossed over—pun intended.
First, the event (theme of the event) should have been selected based on a topic that fits within the company’s value proposition. Next, lead management team needs to be trained on the product, industry and specific subject matter for the event and how the company dove-tails into that message. Furthermore, training is not one and done, especially if something was covered in less than a day at new hire training—whenever that was held. Markets move fast, technology faster and competitors fastest and there is a need for monthly delta training.
Next, the lead management team must be briefed by lead generation to understand the program/event. Lead management will then sync with Sales to develop a strategy for the event to target certain companies, titles, whether to focus on prospecting or cultivating, to refine sales messages, review FAQs and create compelling sales scripts (the Sales rep will eventually follow-up so the two have to be speaking the same language for effective set-up and knock-down).
Lead Generation & Lead Management Are Inseparable
Lead management needs to partner with the lead generation team to build a lead nurture plan before the event. Email subject lines, content for the email body, supporting digital assets that will be used in the 10 touch follow-up plan and most importantly, the sequencing of activities need to be solidified. It’s critical to build this plan before the event takes place as training and messaging are both top of mind and this will provide the necessary lead time to populate the marketing automation system.
The key messages for the program should be reviewed and it should cascade down from the value proposition but include specific strategic and functional messaging for the target titles/roles need s to be highlighted and understood. Lead management must be able to effectively communicate this in a sales conversation.
Now the lead management team can concern itself with driving attendance to the event, executing reminder communications (email and phone calls) and attending the event. Ideally, 1:1 meetings will be scheduled at the event or offsite.
Lead management needs to attend the event in order to make a face to voice connection, have a meaningful follow-up conversation on the phone about the topic, develop a strategy of how to bridge the company into the dialogue to effectively introduce the solution in context.
Post Event Follow-up
The real work starts after the event when the follow-up process is set into motion. A key part of the follow-up will be to leverage nurture paths that are jointly built with lead generation to support the calling efforts. It is key that the sales scripts and targeted emails have relevant and consistent messaging and content. It is also a best practice to create a nurture path to “Starburst” into additional contacts of the companies that did not attend the event but fit your target account profile.
Once a qualified opportunity has been created, then it has to be handed off to sales in a timely manner. The hand-off should include detailed account activity of what insight has been documented to date, what content has been shared, what the appropriate next step are and the corresponding timeline. From the hand-off of the qualified opportunity to closed won or lost, the lead management team needs to monitor progress with the sales rep weekly. Over time, patterns will develop around what qualified opportunities bear fruit and those that do not so adjustments can then be made to the qualification process to ensure quality.
Lead management is not rocket science but it does require some science. A managed, repeatable process, discipline and daily management will produce results superior to your competitors.
For more information about how to build an efficient and effective demand creation and/or demand management plan, please visit Go-to-Market Strategies & Tactics.