Have you ever watched an inside salesperson from a distance, trying to figure out who they should dial next in the absence of a defined strategy? It can actually prove to be entertaining. Often, they will stare at the record as if through osmosis they can discern the possible outcome. If they are running old-school, it is the shuffling of the cards or lead sheets that is the giveaway. In a manual environment, it is easy to spot a lack of strategy; with automation and the rep sitting in front of a screen, it is much harder to discern. As managers, we often convince ourselves that if we have “automated,” or have CRM, that we have taken a step towards having a strategy. That simply is not the case.
Strategy in lead management goes beyond collecting and managing prospects. Strategy, at its core, defines how prospects/leads will be attacked to determine the best predictable outcome and best utilization of your human capital. In my career, I have been at both ends of the spectrum. I have had three PhDs locked away doing modeling on the database to determine propensity to purchase, followed by ranking the database for call order based on predictable ROI. In contrast, I have seen bingo cards passed out with the command to “dial away.” As in most things, the truth and best practices are somewhere in the middle.
With the availability of affordable SaaS solutions for lead management there is no longer a reason not to have a strategy for “whom to call next”. Software will do much of the work for you. Lead management software can route leads based on scoring, geography, team, zip, type of lead (web or trigger), include social research, and so forth. Once lead management software has been deployed the collection of business intelligence begins right away. Each and every touch on each and every contact is documented. Lead source and results are collected accordingly. Once a company has cycled through several hundred touches, analyzable trends begin to appear. These trends become the first key indicators in the “who-should-I-be-calling-sweepstakes”.
Companies that manage their lead routing process using harnessed business intelligence from their historical calling data captured by their lead management software outperform those companies that choose a random approach or companies that allow each rep to have their own strategy. In the book; The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki we learn, Why theMany Are Smarter Than theFew and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations. Sales is not any different. Utilize the power of everything you have captured and learned to decide; “Who do I call next?”