Staple Yourself to a Lead

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Posted: April 23, 2013 | Lead Management

Nine years ago, Harvard Business Review published an article called Staple Yourself to an Order.  As companies became more customer-centric, the authors suggested that managers needed to staple themselves to an order to really understand the customer’s experience.  The idea being that a manager should know exactly where an order is at all times—because traditionally, the details of an order are often invisible to managers. And by understanding the order process you can not only learn to engage with members of your own company, but you can also understand the process from your customer’s point of view.

Take Yourself on the Buyers Journey

Even though this article was written a few years back, it is still very relevant today. I would like to suggest to agencies and companies to “Staple Yourself to a Lead” to understand how a prospect engages with your company.  What happens when you go to the website, review some of the materials on that website and fill out a form?  Do you get an immediate electronic response?  How long does it take for a sales representative to follow up?  How much does the sales representative know about you and your interests when they do call? This simple process will tell you a lot about how your client/company is perceived from a prospect perspective.  Best to get that experience right because these days there are lots of options for buyers and sales typically does not get engaged until later in the process. Remember, get this process wrong and you may not even get a chance to compete for the business.

No Lead Left Behind

Any time a lead is transitioned from marketing to sales, you leave yourself open to losing leads in the hand-off. This is far too common for many marketing organizations. By tracking this process and stapling yourself, you can ensure that there is a good hand-off to sales for “sales ready” leads and an opportunity to “recycle” leads back to marketing that may not be “sales ready.” You can put in place SLAs (Sales Level Agreements) in order to ensure follow-up. Make sure that you are regularly meeting with your sales teams to really stay on top of this process.

Know the Details at Every Level

Another lesson to be learned from this exercise is ensuring that management in marketing and sales understand what is happening.  Are different product groups all hitting prospects at the same time, thereby tiring them out?  Each of those product managers may not realize the impact or coordinate their efforts.  At a high level it may look like everything is going smoothly, but you may find once you dig deep into the trenches there are some processes that need to be fixed. Make sure “sales ready” leads are being prioritized by the sales organization for follow up.  Through the use of lead scoring, demographic and behavioral scoring, you can ensure that you are prioritizing the right leads.

Staple yourself to a lead.  Let me know what you learn.

Amy Guarino is the VP of Global Channel Sales at Marketo, where she specializes in building indirect sales channels in the marketing space.

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