Is Anyone Leading Lead Management?

Posted by James Obermayer on Jun 15, 2016 10:24:26 AM

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Managing_Lead_ManagementSales Lead Management is a complicated process. It needs a leader to pull all of the competing interests and people together to work as a team.

Sales lead management is a tough subject to truly get your arms around. There are dozens of outside vendors who say they manage some portion of the sales lead process and more than two dozen internal departments that contribute to the process and the decision making.  My point is this—you need a Sales Lead Manager to pull all of the competing departments and managers together to obtain the best revenue per lead for your company. 

Without a leader for sales lead management, there is nothing less at stake than a predictable growth in revenue when sales leads are managed, versus experiencing a 75-90% waste of the marketing budget when sales leads are not managed. Let’s tackle the subject by looking at the elements involved and our recommendations for solving the problem.

There may be a half-dozen outside vendors managing some aspects of lead management:

  1. Sales Lead Management and Fulfillment Firm
  2. Direct Marketing Agency
  3. Digital Agencies
  4. Telemarketing Inbound
  5. Telemarketing Outbound (qualification and lead generation)
  6. Telemarketing Sales
  7. Content Agency
  8. PR Agency
  9. Branding Agency
  10. SEO Agency
  11. Business Intelligence
  12. Database Providers 

Why It's Important:

“Someone must be responsible for the sales lead management process.  If no one is completely responsible, the company’s revenue suffers from wasted leads, misused high marketing costs, and uncontrolled sales expenses.”

Sales Lead Management Association

A dozen or more internal departments (a more detailed list here):

  1. Sales Department
  2. Sales Operations
  3. Demand Creation Department
  4. Inside Sales
  5. Product Management
  6. Marketing Communications
  7. Marketing Department
  8. Content Management (grading of the inquiry)
  9. CRM Management (grading of the inquiry)
  10. Lead Nurturing Services
  11. Marketing Automation Management
  12. Two major departments compete on rules establishment and daily management (sales and marketing)
  13. Marketing Operations Department
  14. Website Management
  15. Social Media Department – blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, iTunes, YouTube and Pinterest, to name just a few.
  16. Public Relations
  17. Investor Relations
  18. Data Entry (includes screening for duplicates and competitors)
  19. Fulfillment – electronic and mailed, which includes warehousing
  20. Literature Control – creation, reprinting and inventory management
  21. Sales lead acquisition devices at trade shows and conferences
  22. Sales territory management: which can include territories by zip code, telephone area code, counties or even major city streets. Not to mention grandfathered account and major account assignments, inside vs. outside vs. independent reps, and lead assignments based on product and revenue, and country or state. The “if this then that” maze is formidable for sales lead assignment.
  23. International Channel Management
  24. Sales Channel Management
  25. Field Marketing Management

Daunting and confusing isn’t it? It’s easy to say that the Director of Marketing manages this morass of competing interests. But we know that is the road to failure because it is a job in itself. It might be placed under the direction of Marketing Operations, but this is usually a strong IT function with limited experience with other departments. It could be under the direction of the Marketing Communications Manager (and often is), but that seems to be a diminishing or disappearing position in many companies.

Which brings us to this thought: without a single supreme being making all of the decisions necessary when taking into account the dozens of stakeholders (not to mention the salespeople), most companies have no control over their sales lead process because no one is in charge.   

Four Recommendations:

  1. Put someone in charge of the entire sales lead management process; someone whose authority is respected by all those who touch the inquiries.
  2. Create rules (policy) for Sales Lead Management (no one likes to break the rules). The sales and marketing people should create them jointly; one page, 12 items or so.  The rules should cover the definition of a sales lead, follow-up rules, timing for lead distribution (how soon leads are given to a rep), ROI reporting, etc. There should be a definition of an inquiry and a qualified lead. These are broad-based sales lead management rules so that everyone can figure out how to comply. You can get a suggested outline of the business rules here.
  3. Create a job description for a Sales Lead Management position. You can get a job description here.
  4. Create a Sales Lead Management Checklist for the management of the process.

If you do these four things, the entire sales lead management machine and dozens of departments and vendors will fall into line, with the objectives of serving the prospect and the company’s revenue expectations to the best of their abilities.

You cannot make progress in solving this problem unless you have a manager specifically tasked with managing the company’s future revenue: the Sales Lead Manager.


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Topics: Marketing & Sales Alignment, Lead Management, Sales Leads


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