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Understanding What Your Sales Manager is Up Against

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How do best-in-class Sales Lead Management techniques help your company become a Level Four company? The top Sales Priorities of leading companies utilize the following major tactics.  Read below and learn how to become a Level Four company.

Major Tactics:

  1. Optimize lead-generation programs
  2. Revise sales process   
  3. Align sales and marketing more closely
  4. Evaluate and implement CRM software tools

Optimize lead-generation programs

The study highlighted declines in the percentage of leads resulting in initial meetings, those leading to formal presentations and presentations resulting in sales. Additionally, the article cites the ability of buyers to effectively use the Internet to perform preliminary research so that “the buy cycle is often well underway before the seller is even aware there is a cycle.”

Effective Sales Lead Management techniques and leveraging the use of Sales Force Automation (SFA)-Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software can give the seller a much better chance of discovering the buying intentions of both customers and prospects alike. The key is creating a comprehensive Account Profile to segment/target customers and prospects, and customizing sales/marketing communications to each identified group. Once this segmentation has been accomplished, communications to each group needs to be consistent, relevant and compelling. With this regular and relevant communications plan in place, buyers will identify themselves and contact the company sooner in their buying cycle.

Revise Sales Process

The article states ”…But having a process is not the same as using a process.” Effectively customizing the SFA/CRM software and reinforcing management insistence on using it in a disciplined manner is one of the fastest, easiest and cost-effective ways to get a sales force to use the established sales process.

Most mainstream SFA/CRM packages can be customized to address this issue in two ways:
  1. They can incorporate a company’s sales methodology to identify the approved steps to follow in the sales cycle and create accurate and real-time sales forecasts.
  2.  Also, they incorporate the ability to define and implement Automated Processes. For instance, once a sales inquiry has been qualified and sent to sales, a task to call the prospect can be automatically set for the assigned sales rep for one day after assignment. Or, after a sales demo, the software can initiate a literature request and schedule a follow-up call.

Align sales and marketing more closely

There are several important areas in which sales and marketing need to learn to work together more effectively.  Certainly effective Sales Lead Management can help in the following ways:
  1. Marketing qualifies leads based on sales input; it’s not a lead unless sales says it’s a lead
  2. Marketing codes all leads by Lead Source and delivers the qualified leads in the SFA/CRM software
  3. Sales uses their SFA/CRM software to create their forecast information and marketing has access to the system

When these actions become standard operating procedures, then sales will increase along with sales productivity and marketing can accurately track the ROI for each of their lead–generation programs. When this new process takes hold, marketing and sales develop mutual trust and each organization stands a better chance of meeting their goals. The two departments become more aligned and more successful in reaching not only their individual goals, but overall corporate goals as well.

Successfully implementing SFA/CRM systems

Important keys to successfully implementing the CRM systems include:
  • Obtaining and maintaining top management support for the initiative
  • Clearly identifying and prioritizing the goals for the program
  • Setting a realistic timeframe for implementing the program
  • Ensuring comprehensive planning to incorporate all the company’s unique sales processes and data requirements. Ensuring to include top-performing sales and marketing representatives in on the planning.
  • Verifying that the software supports the sales person’s ability to be more successful without making it difficult or time-consuming to use.

By implementing these Sales Lead Management techniques and recommendations, you will start your journey towards becoming a Level Four company and start significantly out-performing your competition.

Mark Friedman
© 2010

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