Every individual has their opinion of lead generation and many theories on how to maximize it.
In order to maximize lead generation, I think there are some key processes that a software company needs to develop so that both sales and marketing teams have a clear understanding of their roles. First, it is important to define whether a new contact is a suspect, prospect, or a real lead. For example, how do you deal with an attendee at a tradeshow or webinar?
I believe that a competent Sales staff should deal with real prospects that are in the buying cycle however long that might be. Similarly, the marketing team should try to generate new contacts and nurture them into a prospect before handing over to sales.
To maximize success, consider a lead scoring process that makes it clear how to deal with a contact. In my view, the keys to maximizing the sales lead process are:
- Creating a definition of a lead and make sure that until certain criteria are met, the lead stays with marketing and is not passed to sales.
- Try to create a marketing communications system for contacts and match them with your buying cycles.
- Keep records of every contact interaction as input to match with criteria of our leads.
- Compare the leads with and set priorities for each contact and move them through the cycle.
- Route the leads through to sales at the right time, and ensure sales team follow up.
The progression of a “contact” to a “lead” depends on the actions that the contact takes. The majority of people who come across our marketing efforts are not yet ready to buy, so assuming that they are leads gives the business a false sense of our sales pipeline. Analyzing web statistics is a quick way to understand this. By considering the website visitor rate and compare new visitors to returning visitors, you can review how many actions are taken – information downloads and contact forms. Then you can review how many leads are in our sales pipeline and our closure rates.
According to me, a lead can be defined as someone who has a problem and needs to solve it in a defined period. At the same time, they have a budget that is within your product price, and best of all would be that your contact has the authority to purchase. We might find the odd bluebird that meets these criteria immediately. However, finding all this information normally takes time as most people are not willing to hand you the keys immediately. Therefore, it is critical that marketing builds a strong relationship with the contact, by providing them compelling material on a regular basis, so that your software company is top-of-mind when they are in a position to make a purchasing decision.
About the Author
Nilotpal Datta is the founder of MCC E-Solution, a company that provides a suite of creative and software services for a 360 brand user experience. MCC E-Solution provides companies with solutions tailored to their specific needs and helped them realize quick ROI from IT implementations. Nilotpal has more than 10 years of experience in the IT and Education industries and has held various positions. He received his MBA from University of Wales. MCC E-Solution is a Premier Elite Partner in the Intel® Software Partner Program.