A new fiscal year means the chance for a fresh start.  It’s time to take a look at what worked last year, and what didn’t.  It’s time to set goals.  Put new processes in place.  But like any resolution, conviction is necessary.   We’re only a few days into a new year, trying hard to take what we learned from the last 12 months, and apply it.  It seems however, that when it comes to revamping processes as critical as those related to sales and marketing effectiveness – lead generation and territory planning, sales enablement and training, quote and proposal management, strategic incentive structuring – a concerted and collaborative effort from quite a few departments is key to hitting the ground running.

We talked a lot about the lead to money process in 2013 and how it can help you generate more deals, for more money, in record time. It’s a process in every organization, but the steps from generating leads to closing revenue aren’t connected in a streamlined and automated fashion.  Sales, sales operations, marketing, and finance almost never get together to map out how they’ll work together to drive this process. Yet they all play key roles.

Lead management in lead to money

Getting Lead Generation RightLet’s start with the first step of lead to money – generating leads.  This is one of marketing’s most important jobs: get sales leads.  Lead generation and marketing and sales alignment go hand in hand.  That’s because both parties need to agree on definitions and processes: what is a lead? What is a qualified lead?  How will a lead be passed?  How long will sales have to qualify the lead before it gets kicked back?  Sales and marketing working together is the key to success, and the first collaborative effort that has to occur in the lead to money process.   At the end of the day, both marketing and sales want to do the same thing: generate as many high-quality leads as possible.

Tapping into anonymous web visitors

Most marketers realize that their website and online presence is the key to capturing leads, but with about 80% of web visitors anonymous, it seems there’s an opportunity to tap into the potential leads that are going unidentified.  But these anonymous visitors are who you want to talk with.  Finding out who they are, faster, is the key to lead generation.  The sooner you can get their contact information, the sooner you can start nurturing and scoring them, and the sooner they become qualified leads to pass to sales.

When working on your lead to money process, be sure to think about whether your marketing automation system can identify anonymous visitors’ IP addresses and match it against data found in external databases.

Lead generation: nurture, nurture, nurture…score, score, score

Once you start identifying anonymous visitors, you need to ensure they’re qualified.  That’s where lead nurturing programs come in to play.  Based on the insight you’ve gathered about the lead by having visibility into the pages they visited on your site, and for how long.  This will help you determine what they’re interested in, and you can start delivering them relevant content over time.  Of course, the marketing automation system you use should automate this process, and allow you to score individual leads based on their behaviors.

Sales reps are always hungry.  They want all of the leads that marketing can generate.  But they want the right ones.  They want the ones that want to buy.  That’s the key to sales and marketing alignment.

This is, of course, just the first step of the lead to money process.  It’s the first step toward bringing the key stakeholders in the process together.  The next step, is assigning those leads.  But it isn’t as simple as you might think.  Stay tuned for our next post on territory assignment.

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