It's not quite at the level of Web 2.0, but Lead Management news seems to fill my inbox daily. I just finished listening to the AMA's "Achieve a Closed-Loop System for Sales Lead Generation and Management" webcast; Forrester's Laura Ramos recently wrote a series of notes on the topic; Sirius Decisions published "Effective Lead Management: SAL to SQL" earlier in the year; Aberdeen just published Optimizing Leads: Mid-to-Large Enterprise Affinity for Best-in-Class Practices; and blog articles abound.
In these articles and notes you'll find best practices, frameworks, tips on sales and marketing collaboration, volumes on the importance of reporting obsessively, and peer survey data.
In general, I view a lead management solution in part as a configurable set of business rules which managers can leverage to modify sales and channel behavior to increase close rates. While different rules work for different firms, lines of business within a firm, or even individual departments, some of the more advanced or unusual techniques include:
- Routing leads based on part on the performance of the individual sales rep or channel partner with better performers getting better leads. In other words, it's the "Glengarry Glen Ross" approach.
- If you're ready to route a lead to a rep who's at capacity, nurture the lead in marketing a while longer until capacity frees up.
- Automatically warns reps when one of their leads has not been acted upon quickly enough. If that doesn't work send an automatic notification to the rep's sales manager. Still having issues? Pull the lead from the rep and reassign to another rep or another channel with capacity.
- Consider leveraging your business rules to enable your channel managers to create service leads on behalf of channel partners. While not technically a lead, this gives you a nice way to ensure partner needs are being met and to actively and accurately track service requests.
- Allow sales reps and channel partners to opt into how they are notified of new leads whether it be by email, mobile phone, or an automated voicemail.
These are just a few techniques to try. What's working in your organization?