Universal Lead Definitions

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In our recent post we shared 5 Prerequisites for Marketing Automation. The second prerequisite on the list is to agree on a “universal lead definition”.

Brian Carroll, author of Lead Generation for the Complex Sale estimated that about 9 out of 10 companies lack a clear definition of what a sales lead really is. Undoubtedly many of our readers have the same problem. So let’s see if we can help.

In his post, Five Steps to Create Your Universal Lead Definition, Brian defines the following five steps:

1. Find a team leader.

Identify someone well respected by both sales and marketing. This will help ensure everyone is on the same team. And who has the power of their convictions to establish a policy and make it stick across multiple teams.

2. Ask relevant questions to your Sales team.

“To be certain that you will follow up on a lead we give you, act on it and provide feedback, what do you need to know?” Be quiet and listen. Ask questions to clarify. Keep digging. This is your chance to sell – so do what you’ve told to your sales reps thousands of times – don’t talk – listen!

3. Keep refining it.

You’re not finished until everyone agrees on the definition. Keep discussing until everyone is on the same page, satisfied that they’ve been heard, and that you are as close as possible to universal agreement.

4. Publish it.

We like to say nothing is official until it is documented. Write it down and post it where everyone can see it.

5. Test, test, test.

The Universal Lead Definition everyone just agreed on may or may not work. Follow some actual leads through the process and dig to make sure it was followed up on properly. More importantly, make sure that the necessary information was provided to ensure an effective follow-up was even possible.

A solid and agreed upon universal lead definition is one of the most important things you must do before you implement any kind of marketing automation system or process. Most importantly, all follow-on activity stems from having a common definition of what constitutes a Universal Sales lead. Without that definition there can be no scalable strategy for lead follow-up, lead nurturing or even effective new lead acquisition. So as you begin to embark on the marketing automation journey make sure your signposts are set and universally understandable or you’ll end up far from where you originally intended.

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