Like Leaving Flour Out of a Cake

Posted by Dan McDade

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on Oct 27, 2016 11:37:49 AM

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Like Leaving Flour Out of a Cake

Bad things happen to cake when ingredients are left out. Leave baking powder out and you end up with a flat, dense textured cake that may or may not be appetizing to your family. If you leave laws and a judicial system out of marketing and sales departments, you have a recipe for disaster.

Laws include important elements such as an agreed upon lead definition, hand-off processes, metrics, and reporting.

We will talk about the judicial branch below.

The following is from a SiriusDecisions blog published in March of this year:

“In a recent SiriusDecisions Consulting engagement, we asked our client, “Have marketing and sales agreed to the definition of a qualified lead and established an SLA for action by the sales team?” The answer from marketing was a resounding chorus of “Yes!” accompanied by pride in the fact that marketing sourced leads comprised more than 95 percent of the pipeline. Sounds like nirvana for a sales team, but like the old adage says, if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is."

Upon inspecting the pipeline and interviewing sales leaders and reps, a very different picture emerged:

  • More than 65 percent of the reportedly qualified and accepted leads had been in the same early stage of the sales process for more than 90 days.
  • Business development reps in marketing were compensated based on quantity, not quality of leads passed. This led to informal agreements with sales reps to accept almost all leads with little inspection in order to keep the business development rep focused on spending more time on the sales rep’s territory.
  • Reps were cherry-picking from this seemingly endless pool of leads, especially at the beginning or end of a quarter when they felt they needed some fresh prospects in their pipeline.
  • To top off this scenario, there was a rule built into the integration between the marketing automation platform (MAP) and sales force automation (SFA) system that automatically promoted a sales accepted lead (SAL) to a sales qualified lead (SQL) if no action had been taken by sales during the 14-day SQL timeframe!”

How can you fix this? With what I call the judicial branch. The judicial branch handles exceptions:

  • A lead is passed to sales and not accepted. Was it because the lead did not meet the lead definition agreed upon, or was it because the sales rep called the prospect twice, did not hear back and gave up? The judicial branch determines the cause and enforces a solution.
  • A lead is not proactively accepted or rejected by sales. The SiriusDecisions Demand Waterfall has the critical step of “SAL” (sales accepted lead). The judicial branch enforces the law that includes a lead acceptance process and a metric for what percent of leads should be sales accepted by sales.
  • A lead is accepted by sales but does not move in the pipeline. The judicial branch enforces the law which includes a metric for the percentage of SAL’s that should move to SQL’s and by what date.

The judicial branch must include executives outside of marketing and sales. If marketing and sales could fix this problem it would already have been fixed.

A Boston University blog states: Plato says that justice is not mere strength, but it is a harmonious strength. Justice is not the right of the stronger but the effective harmony of the whole.

How true. There is an expression that you never go to war with sales because you are going to lose. Having said that, it is high time for marketing and sales to get their collective acts together and figure out a way to quit wasting marketing and sales dollars on dysfunctional or missing laws and the lack of a system of justice.

A missing ingredient, such as flour, or law and justice, puts a bad taste in one’s mouth.


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Topics: B2B Marketing, B2B Sales

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