Rant: It Doesn't Take a Genius to Spot a Goat in a Flock of Sheep

Posted by James Obermayer on Apr 17, 2013 7:55:00 AM

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James ObermayerJames Obermayer, Executive Director and CEO of the Sales Lead Management Association and President of Sales Leakage Consulting is a regular guest blogger with ViewPoint.

Nor does it take a genius to see that your CRM system isn’t working, no one likes it, the database is corrupt, reports are trash, and the pipeline is unreliable.

The goat isn’t the CRM system; it’s the person who set it up, probably long gone. Or it’s the manager who doesn’t enforce sales lead follow-up, probably on his or her way out the door. Maybe it’s the marketing manager who fails to manage the CRM system as a system. Finally, it could be the communications manager who doesn’t manage and/or fails to report the ROI of every campaign.

Gee, there isn’t one goat, there are four; and they’re in different departments. If the truth be known, the sales lead management process is complicated, multi-dimensional, and multi-departmental; with multi-software programs, and multi-managers who often don’t understand each other or don’t even like one another. It’s more than a single goat, it’s a mess.

And the mess is costing most corporations huge bottom-line dollars. Corporations spend money on marketing, complain they don’t get an ROI and hold no one accountable. They buy CRM systems, but fewer than 50% of them are pleased with what they bought. It’s a mess.

Salespeople run amok without any accountability to a sales manager who often doesn’t understand the conversion ratio of sales leads. Again, it’s a mess.

It isn’t one goat; it’s a herd of goats in the middle of a herd of sheep.

Sales lead management done well has a huge return on investment. Done poorly, salespeople don’t make quota, lead generation dollars are spent on trash, and no one is held accountable.

So how is it fixed?

  1. Find a leader who understands that sales lead management is a system; it isn’t software.
  2. Understand that this system involves silos:
    1. Prospects
    2. Marketing: lead generation
    3. Salespeople
    4. Sales management
    5. Marketing management
    6. CRM software
    7. Marketing automation software
    8. Money: lots of money spent on marketing.
    9. Time: lots of time spent on sales lead follow-up by salespeople who should know the odds of closing a sales lead (45%).
  3. Break down the silos. 
  4. Insist on an ROI for lead generation.

It’s not that hard folks. It takes leadership and dedication. And some policies:

  1. The company’s salespeople will follow up 100% of all sales leads.
  2. The company’s marketing department will measure the ROI of all lead generation campaigns.
  3. Marketing will do more lead generation that turns into sales, not spend corporate funds on creating programs that just support quotas.

So, take a good look at yourself and your company. Are there some goats munching away in the middle of the sheep? Are the silos dragging you down? Break out and be somebody. Make a difference and recognize that sales lead management is a system that can be managed if someone has the leadership skills to step forward and get the company’s act together.

If someone isn’t doing it, it’s because they don’t know how or don’t want to. In this case, sales lead management is surely an expensive system, with no purpose and no leadership.

You can fix it. Don’t have a leader? Step up and create the job!

Tell us what you think!

Topics: Lead Generation, Sales Process, Lead Management, Sales Leads

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