Don’t Lose Business

Businesses spend millions of pounds each year generating opportunities they do not follow up.

In most cases organisations have efficient, effective marketing departments and well trained, skillful sales professionals. But the problem is co-ordination. Trade shows will produce leads and mail shots (physical and email) do result in enquiries. Even cold – call telemarketing can (in the right circumstances) be effective.

What Happens to Marketing Leads?

Co-ordinating marketing and sales effort is challenging for large and small organisations. The act of processing, qualifying and assigning leads to salespeople takes time. Further delays occur when the leads are passed to sales. People are busy and a salesperson may not get through to the prospect for several days.

‘Dropping the baton’ between marketing and sales is a waste of valuable marketing resource. Calling a once warm prospect weeks after the initial contact is the equivalent of a shop assistant turning up at your front door and asking if they can help you with a coat you were looking at three weeks ago. The call is likely to be inappropriate, unwelcome and slightly disorientating.

When to Pass the Baton?

As in athletics, passing the baton at the right time transfers responsibility with no loss of momentum. If your salespeople are responsible for making calls and booking appointments from ‘warm’ marketing leads you are probably passing the baton too early. Complaints about ‘poor quality leads’ certainly indicate premature handover.

Timing the transfer of responsibility is likely to vary between organisations however, there are a couple of principles that should be adhered to.

Who is Responsible?

If marketing are to attract, nurture and get the lead qualified ready for sales then responsibility for oppointment setting should be with your marketing or tele-qualification team. The principle is simple. If contact and relationship building has been done by the inside sales team then it makes sense for that relationship to be leveraged when asking for an appointment.

After all, it is marketing’s job to make sure salespeople have a good pipeline of well qualified opportunites and meetings. It also makes sense from the prospect’s perspective. A clear separation of responsibility: field sales for physical sales meetings and telesales for qualification and appointment setting.

Improving Performance

Getting your marketing department (or external agency) to set appointments delivers two valuable management tools: Quality and quantity management. An appointment is a clear and unambiguous deliverable. No-one can argue of the voracity of the ‘lead’ if they are willing to take an appointment. But the quality of appointments is also important: does the prospect have Authority, Need, Budget?

So, you can measure the quantity and quality (and therefore improve) marketing performance. And if your salespeople are being given good quality appointments, you can also measure their performance: how are they progressing the opportunity and how many appointments turn into business.

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