In the spirit of the fall harvest we thought of how companies specifically harvest their best lead opportunities. Many of our conversations with clients and prospects form around what the marketing team wants to hand to the sales team and what sales expects. Sirius Decisions shared a few years ago that this step in their demand generation waterfall could be one of the most “important and overlooked” steps in the process. https://www.siriusdecisions.com/Blog/2012/Aug/Sales-Accepted-Leads-The-Most-Important-and-Most-Overlooked-Step-in-the-Demand-Creation-Process.aspx
Often there is surprisingly quite a bit of alignment these days and we think Marketing is doing a pretty good job of working proactively with Sales on defining and scoping outbound campaign models before implementing them. When you think of harvesting leads and harvesting in general think about all of the work, steps involved, time and care that went to get that lead to Sales Accepted. It could have been a five month process, two years or 100 calls and touches to develop that prospect into someone now willing to advance with the sales team.
Vice President and Group Director, Demand Jay Gaines from Sirius Decisions mentions in his blog post on this subject that “The Sales Accepted Lead stage is typically overlooked because it is viewed as unnecessary and cumbersome. However, it should take no more than a few minutes of sales time, and it’s the best thing an organization can do to ensure that the budget, effort and resources devoted to lead generation are not wasted.”
The unnecessary and cumbersome flies in the face of all of the work put to get that prospect tot hat point. Here are our favorite ways to determine and harvest Sales and Marketing Alignment when it comes to Sales Qualified leads before we even start a project.
- Has sales vetted and approved the list?
- What is sales view of a good lead? A great lead? A long-term lead?
- How would sales take and handle a good, great or long-term lead?
- How much time can sales spend preparing for the call? Would they want more than these three qualifiers that we discussed?
- What criteria or approval does sales have in persona’s that they want to meet with?
- How many people are involved in the decision when it comes to purchasing how does or has that unfolded in the past?
- How do you review the discussion after sales talks with the lead?
- What is your process for getting approval from sales on appointments set?
If you can get those questions answered you are probably close to defining and setting expectations around Sales Accepted Leads from a position of strength. This can create a collaborative approach that develops agreement in the beginning and somewhat sets the rules.
Think of all of the brain power, effort and energy that went into executing a multi touch campaign, involving multiple tactics, tools and the amount of resources involved in getting to that point. As mentioned harvesting food right now is the fruit of a lot of labor, effort and focus for the past five to six months in many cases. So why not implement this type of approach to make sure you actually deliver Sales Accepted Leads. Enjoy your harvest!