01 Aug 2013

The 10 Steps to Turnaround a Weak Performing Lead Generation Team

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Upwards-arrow-300x279If you have a weak performing Lead Generation Team, below are the 10 most important things to do to implement a turnaround. Lead Generation Teams are also known as Sales Development Teams, Lead Development Teams, or Lead Qualification Teams. (See our earlier blog on Confusing Terms: Lead Generation vs. Inside Sales.) The goal of this group is to produce Qualified Leads based on an agreed-upon qualification definition, and approximately 1 of 5 of these Qualified Leads should close in a normal sales cycle. As you are trying to turnaround the Team, you must quickly find out what are the real one or two problems to fix, such as needing more marketing leads, or needing more training, or a negative Lead Generation Rep polluting the team, or a bad lead hand-off process with the field. Here are the 10 most important actions to take for a turnaround:

 1. Determine Your Qualified Lead Goal: Based on your revenue goals and conversion metrics, do a waterfall analysis to determine the number of Qualified Leads per month that the Lead Generation Team needs to produce over the next year.

 2. Determine The Number Of Inbound Marketing Leads Needed: Based on the number of Qualified Leads you need to produce and your metrics, determine the number of inbound marketing leads needed in order for your Lead Generation Reps to spend 100% of their time following up on just Inbound leads. Strive to ensure marketing has enough budget to produce this number of inbound leads. Otherwise, you will have to begin developing Qualified Leads by proactively, cold calling into target accounts. This cold calling will be about 50% as productive as following up on inbound leads.

 3. Determine The Number Of Lead Generation Reps You Need: Based on the number of Qualified Leads, your conversion metrics, and the number of Qualified Leads you need to produce over the next 12 months, determine the number of Lead Generation Reps you need to have in place now.

 4. Assess Your Current Lead Generation Reps: Assess your current Lead Generation Reps regarding their performance to date. Keep those who are achieving their goals and those you feel will very probably meet their goals with good training. I suggest letting all others go.

 5. Recruit The Additional Needed Lead Generation Reps: Use every tool you can to get these needed Lead Generation Reps on board ASAP. Use in-house recruiters, outside recruiters, an employee referral bonus program, the employees’ outside network, LinkedIn, and Job Boards. Recruiting is always the most important and most difficult process.

 6. Create A Sense Of Urgency: Create a sense of urgency within the group, emphasizing how the Lead Generation Reps will need to produce these Qualified Leads in order for the company to meet its future revenue goals. Have the CEO and the VP of Sales and the VP of Marketing meet briefly with the team to emphasize the importance of their mission and the sense of urgency. Meeting with these execs will be extremely motivational to the Reps.

 7. Assess The Current Written Materials: Assess the following materials and revise as needed: the messaging document, the definition of a Qualified Lead, the Call Guide, the email templates, and the objections/counters. The most important materials are the messaging document and the definition of a Qualified Lead.

 8. Assess the Lead Generation Process: Assess the Lead Generation Reps’ calling and emailing activity levels, the use of automation, the goodness of the database, and the handoff process of Qualified Leads to the Field Reps. The best hand-off process of Qualified Leads to the Field Reps is when the Lead Qualification Rep sets up a three-way conference call between the prospect, the Field Rep, and the Lead Generation Rep. The Field Rep should confirm the qualification criteria on that phone call, and has 24 hours within which to accept or reject this Qualified Lead as an opportunity.

 9. Create a Competitive Atmosphere: Create a competitive atmosphere among the Lead Generation Reps using Gamification Tools and contests. Rewards can be money and recognition. For example, the execs should send an email out to the Lead Generation Reps, or even some of the Field Reps, about particular contests or winners from this competition.

 10. Training is the Secret Sauce: Training is the secret sauce for a turnaround and is the most important task to do well. Spend about 50% of your time training. This can include realistic role-plays, taping, and practicing. This training should be done in front of peers and sometimes in front of executives. Training should cover the industry, the company, products, sales skills, and strategy/tactics for the job.

Summary

Once you uncover the key 1-2 problems to fix, implementing the above ideas can help you quickly turnaround an under-performing Lead Generation Team. There are many additional actions that can be done, but focusing on these initially will give you a big initial impact.

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