I found out a long time ago that sales pipeline and your ability to hit revenue targets all start with good lead management. The trouble is that leads can come in many ways, shapes and forms and most companies have loose or no structure in place to manage leads (sound familiar?). Here are a few ideas to help create a "sales infrastructure" to leverage and nuture good leads.
1. Decide what a lead is (and is not) and stick with it. One of the biggest disconnects between sales and the rest of the company is the definition of a lead. When does a prospect become a lead that a salesperson will actually work on? It's estimated that 90 percent of the leads that are sent to sales staff are never acted on. For better sales effectiveness, your sales and marketing should agree when a prospect becomes an actual lead that should be forwarded to sales.
2. Use a CRM. Nobody likes thier CRM so how do you get sales guys to use it. No time to be shy, the stick is the only thing that works.
3. Preload your database with the right prospects. Prospects are not leads.Your customers are the first step in prospecting sales leads. Profile of your best customers to better define and acquire new prospects.
4. Track the source. If you don't capture the source, you have no way of figuring out what's working.
5. Distribute leads quickly. Think about your own experiences. How many times have you tried to contact a company to request information and they never get back to you? I rest my case.
6. Nurture your leads. Dvelop campaigns that allow you to touch your prospects multiple times so you can move them through the sales cycle until they're ready to think about actually purchasing from you.
7. Measure everything. But in order to measure your results, you need to decide what you want to measure and why.
8. Hold regular sales meetings with marketing. Meet with marketing on a regular basis to review lead quality, win/loss records, and tracking CRM systems so you can continue to improve your sales effectiveness.
Bonus Tip: Get operations reporting directly to sales management and have marketing report their as well.