Once you have done the sales leads distribution by marketing function OR a central sales function, it is time to follow-up on the leads by the sales staff.
Leads follow-up a closure is core to giving hard dollars to the company's top-line. Follow-up to closure can have any number of steps and interim stages depending upon the kind of product and category of lead.
A lead typically is a highly perishable material with low shelf life, given the competition and low span of attention of customers. Therefore, chunk of investments in the leads management are needed to be done in establishing the measures, incentives and tracking mechanism for this stage of leads management.
One the big challenges, which the organizations face is to have enough infrastructure and man-power to address the leads wave in terms of follow-up, closure and delivery. This becomes a barrier, given all other favorable factors, and perhaps the largest reason of failures.
Success Drivers for sales leads follow-up and closure
Sales staff to place same level of focus on the leads handed over to them as they do on self-generated leads:
Sales people place more priority with the leads, which they have generated by themselves, rather than the leads handed over to them. You may see an example, where a sales person is working on his self-generated medium value lead, while placing a high-value lead given to him, on the lesser priority. One reason for this is the basic entrepreneurial mind-set of sales people. Second reason could be that the leads, which a sales person has generated by himself, he feels a greater level of ownership and sense of responsibility to the potential customer.
Measures and Incentives for sales leads follow-up:
While having measures and incentives is foundation behind any domain of performance management, it is important to mention it here. In a typical organization, while there are robust measures and incentives for sales results, there are typically no supporting measures on success around the leads generated through a central function through campaign and marketing efforts.
Escalation, alerts and reporting:
A mechanism by which alerts and escalation to the sales person OR higher level are sent, given certain rules (For example- if the status of a certain class of lead is not changed for certain days). A periodic reporting and review is important.
Central management leads tracking
A central database of all the leads and their tracking is potent mechanism for leads management. We will touch upon it comprehensively in a different topic.
Infrastructure and Manpower to address the leads wave
You need to have enough phone line, enough sales staff (even if you hire temporarily), a solid supply chain for delivery to make sure that you are able to address the leads around the 'moment of touch'. If the 'moment of touch' with the customer is gone, the lead can go stale. We are in the world of 'instant gratification and less patience'.
Measures/Facts for sales leads follow-up and closure
- Number of distributed leads
- Number of leads in stage1, stage2.. of follow-up
- Number of leads converted to sales order
- Number of leads converted to sales delivery
KPIs-Metrics for point of sale leads follow-up and closure
- Aging of leads in stage1, stage2…
- Turn-around time (velocity) of leads conversion from initial to stage 1 to stage 2 OR across any two stages OR end-to-end.
- Throughput volume of lead conversion from initial stage to stage 1 to stage 2 OR across any two stages, within any given period of time (for example- 1500 leads moved from stage 1 to stage 2 in period of one day)
Dimensions/Attributes for sales lead follow-up and closure, around which you can dice your measures and KPIs
- Lead value-slab (high value, medium value)
- Lead Class 1 (existing customer vs. new customer)
- Lead class 2 (High confidence, Medium Confidence, Low confidence..)
- Lead priority (high, medium, low)
- Lead Source (external database, existing customer, point of sale..)
- Lead Owner (sales person, sales team leader…)
Typical SWOT for sales leads follow-up and closure
This is the reference list of what could be part of the SWOT of follow-up and closure for lead generation. Within strengths/weaknesses- if an item is rated high, it will be strength and if it is rated low, the same item will be considered a weakness. Same rule applies on items within threats and opportunities (unless marked specifically as O OR T)
- Robust business rules for leads escalation and alerts.
- Leads follow-up tracking and reporting mechanism.
- Sales-staff focus on distributed leads.
- Infrastructure and manpower to address the leads as per the priority.
- Leads management system
- Competition having an access to the leads database.
- Outsourcing of low-skilled sales work by hiring temporary sales staff (note- this is applicable more for consumer products..)
- Leveraging third party distributors.
Key Business Decisions linked to leads follow-up and closure