Just for a moment, let’s revisit the GAO’s definition of best practices described in the introduction to the series:
“Best practices are the processes, practices, and systems identified in public and private organizations that performed exceptionally well and are widely recognized as improving an organization’s performance and efficiency in specific areas.”
In this seven-part series, we’ve taken an in-depth look at the “processes, practices and systems” that are widely recognized as “improving an organization’s performance and efficiency” in the area of sales and marketing lead generation. Following is a summary of these best practices grouped by blog article.
Part 1: Agree on Lead Definition
- Sales and marketing must agree on the criteria for a lead to be qualified for hand-off.
- Ideally ten criteria including the traditional BANT subset will be addressed.
- Consider SiriusDecisions’ lead categories of MQLs, SALs and SQLs.
Part 2: Segment & Test Your Market
- Append data points like SIC code, revenue and employee size to contact records.
- Segment your market database into testable sample cells.
- Test the cells to determine high-value and most-likely-to-buy segments.
- Deploy a full court press against segments with the highest lead rates.
Part 3: When to Use Outbound & Inbound
- Use outbound to assure C-level executives and late adopters are covered.
- Use outbound to uncover immediate sales opportunities and assure timely coverage.
- Use outbound to discover complex internal buying landscapes.
- Use outbound for long sales cycles and high-investment solutions.
Part 4: Dedicate Qualifying Resources
- Use internal or external dedicated resources for lead qualification and lead nurturing.
- Heavily integrate the use of the telephone into the qualifying and nurturing efforts.
Part 5: Multiply Touches/Media/Cycles
- Use multiple touches to connect and engage with decision makers.
- Use a smart mix of multiple media: outbound calls, voice mail messages, email and more.
- Extend contact over several weeks and across multiple sales cycles.
Part 6: Fewer Leads Are Better
- Focus on qualifying and developing leads more thoroughly prior to hand-off.
- Deliver fewer of these more highly qualified leads to sales representatives.
Part 7: Measure Beyond Cost-Per-Lead
- Focus measurement on opportunity quality, conversion ability and revenue generated.
- Use cost-per-opportunity and cost-per-deal as measurement indexes.
- Measure the percentage of MQLs that become SALs and SALs that become SQLs.
Applying these best practices goes a long way toward assuring a rich array of benefits:
- Sales and marketing will be more tightly integrated and more fully aligned.
- Sales and marketing resources will operate more efficiently.
- Lead and close rates will improve.
- Sales and marketing costs will be reduced.
- Return on marketing and sales investments will increase.
- Your company will gain new customers and drive additional revenue.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the Lead Generation Best Practices series and welcome your comments and feedback.