Ever Heard This? “Do you want me selling or updating SFA?”

Challenge: Balancing time to update salesforce automation systems against lead development representative productivity

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.

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.

Sales Productivity versus Efficiency — Enforcing Sales Discipline

Challenge: Sales reps want to sell more and updating their SFA systems is frequently not a top priority.

Lesson: The argument ‘I don’t have time to update all this in SFA’ rings hollow.

Challenge: Sales reps want to sell more and updating their SFA systems is frequently not a top priority.

Lord Kelvin said: “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Nowhere is this truer than in enforcing SFA utilization. It is easy for reps to complain about this as useless overhead. However, I would argue that they cannot effectively do their job without religious follow up to records in their systems.

An organization needs to set minimal expectations on the frequency and depth of updates. Clearly, lead development reps must update last call attempt, number of call attempts, last call outcome, scheduling next activity, key account details, and so on, or they cannot guarantee the right follow up with these prospects. Similarly, sales reps need to update opportunity records to accurately forecast their sales this month and beyond.

Furthermore, sales and marketing management personnel need these details to actively manage the business. Identifying average sales cycles, win/loss reporting, and more all require relatively deep updates by the reps to SFA systems. In this new Sales 2.0 world, updates to SFA are a job requirement – both for the rep and for management. You cannot run a business without accurate and up to date in information in SFA systems.

Lesson: The argument ‘I don’t have time to update all this in SFA’ rings hollow.