A lead follows a path which ends either with converting the lead to an opportunity, or retiring the lead when no possibility exists of converting the lead to a sales opportunity. The lead lifecycle includes an automated process to first capture the leads, then prioritize the leads for sales engagement through a scoring and ranking process. Leads are then distributed to appropriate sales resources for further lead qualification, follow-up and conversion.
Leads Lifecycle
Leads are monitored, reassigned as appropriate and the lead quality is continuously reviewed and adjusted as the lead progresses through its lifecycle. Marketing and Sales departments both share the ownership of leads, where the focus on the leads shifts from Marketing to Sales and back to Marketing based on the lead status. The lead lifecycle is captured in the following topics:
>> Lead Generation
>> Lead Qualification
>> Lead Distribution
>> Lead Assessment
>> Lead Conversion
Lead Generation
Leads are generated and captured from many different sources such as:
>> Campaign responses
>> Campaign stages handled by telemarketing
>> Third-party lead sources
>> Sales prediction application through the creation of new leads
Flexible lead import, customer and contact creation, and de-duplication ensure marketing lead generation efforts are optimized. For example, the lead import process checks whether leads represent new or existing customers. For new customers, data needs to be created for the lead. If the lead is an existing customer, part of the lead import process checks to ensure customer and lead information is not duplicated.
Lead Qualification
Marketing departments help with the lead qualification process to ensure that only qualified leads are handed over to sales. Leads are typically ranked as Hot, Warm, or Cool. Leads are further qualified by the use of company specific standard questions to score a lead. Lead scores are numeric values typically ranging from 1 to 100, where a high score represents high quality.
It is not good practice to let stale leads build up. Standardized criteria for lead qualification ensure that quality leads reach the salesperson and help maximize the conversion rate from leads to opportunities. For example, your organization has criteria and processes for ensuring that leads are either developed or retired within 30 days. When the lead age is greater than 30 days and the rank is A or B, Marketing reassigns the leads for follow-up by an internal telemarketing group. If the leads cannot be qualified or further developed to revenue opportunities, the rejected leads can be reassigned or can be retired manually.
Lead Distribution
As the qualification of leads progresses into real potential prospects, assignment manager uses expression-based rules to associate one or more internal salespersons with each lead. If the lead is associated with an existing Sales Account, then assignment manager uses territory definitions to associate (typically one) internal territory with each lead. The salesperson newly assigned to the lead may be related to the lead record directly through the lead team or indirectly through a territory associated with the lead. They can view and update those leads to which they are assigned in the lead work area and can claim ownership of the lead by using the Accept Lead action.
Other assigned resources can view and update the lead, but cannot make themselves the owner. As the lead is qualified further, for example, if a sales prospect changes to a sales account by adding an address, assignment manager is automatically invoked during the next automated assignment cycle. Depending on the assignment logic, the lead may be reassigned to a different territory or sales resource. If the assigned salesperson takes no action on a lead for several days, then the lead can be manually reassigned to another salesperson.
Lead Assessment
The salesperson must evaluate the quality of information they have received for the lead. They determine if the details are sufficient to reach out to the customer and assess whether a lead is worth pursuing with the help of preconfigured assessment templates. Assessment templates can further qualify the lead by:
>> Reviewing the content shared with the customer during a campaign
>> Framing the lead in the context of the campaign
>> Ensuring the salesperson understands the info that has already been sent to the customer
Lead Assessment enables leads to be further assessed through predefined questions that help determine the likelihood of the lead being accepted by Sales. In this scenario, a salesperson named Mike begins asking the customer a series of questions created by Marketing and Sales to assess the quality of the lead. As each question is asked, Mike records the answer and the lead assessment tool automatically factors the answer into the assessment score of the lead. At the end of the call, Mike notes that the assessment lead score is high. He requests the lead be assigned to the direct sales team for that customer. If the lead score was low, then Mike could retire the lead, or if the lead needed further qualifying, he could leave it in his list of leads for follow-up at a later date. If the lead is good, but the potential revenue opportunity is less than a predetermined monetary amount, for example, twenty-five thousand dollars, then Mike can convert the lead to an opportunity that he works himself.
Lead Conversion
A lead's life cycle ends either when a lead is converted to a sales opportunity, or when the lead is retired. Conversion to an opportunity stage allows the salesperson to pursue the account in the sales cycle. After establishing that the lead has potential, the salesperson converts the lead to an opportunity. Contact is established and meetings and presentations are scheduled to move the opportunity along the sales pipeline. To track the progress, contact notes are captured as interactions and associated with the contact and opportunity.
As the lead progresses through its life cycle, decisions to retire the lead are based on the following.
>> You cannot verify customer and lead details.
>> The customer is not interested in pursuing the lead any further.


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