Challenge: Balancing time to update salesforce automation systems against lead development representative productivity
Your lead development reps need certain fields to keep track of efforts. However, these same fields also represent overhead time required to update them. You must carefully consider balancing the fields they update and the frequency of their updates (this goes for the reps as well as management).
Certain fields are easy to include and to make mandatory. Lead Status, Lead Rating, Number of Dials, Last Dial Attempt, etc., are frequently included since these provide a way for the lead development rep to guide their daily activities. Lead Status is probably the most important in that this creates ‘buckets’ for leads and should be the first disposition applied to a lead. Categorizing leads as Junk, Not Responsive, Contacted, In Progress, etc., enables the lead development rep to use this system to build specific call lists. Lead Rating can be a way to separate the relative priority of leads within each Lead Status bucket (e.g., Hot, Warm or Cold) and can help differentiate the many leads that are likely to end up in the In Progress Lead Status.
Tracking the number of dial attempts, number of voicemail messages and other activities are important to give the rep feedback on when to stop pursuing a lead. Frequently, lead development reps chase leads for too long – and these subsequent dials are wasted. I have found that dialing a lead more than three or four times is often not worthwhile. While there are always counter examples, I find that there is a reason that the prospect has not responded to past outreach attempts. Therefore overall lead development rep productivity overall suffers with higher call counts to the same prospects. Of course, this assumes that they have other leads to call (a topic for lead flow discussion).
Once the lead development rep has made contact, updating the qualification criteria is imperative. The updating requirements may include size of organization, industry, computer standards, software standards, number of offices, and other key information. These will be useful to both the sales reps for those that are later qualified but also to the marketing organization to learn more about the prospect characteristics coming from their lead generation programs.
My general preference is for pick list values to make updates fast and to make database mining more effective. Ideally, the lead development rep can update key aspects of a lead in less than 60 seconds by using pick lists and a limited set of fields – possibly up to five or six fields.
Lesson: Defining a minimum set of pick list field updates will actually make your entire lead qualification process more efficient by making lead development representative follow-up more productive.