54 Things to Do when Building a Lead Qualification Team

I hesitated to write this post, because Marketo’s Jon Miller has already written quite possibly the best, as-close-to-definitive guide to lead qualification.

OK, now that I have led you off my site, let’s get back to business. I decided to write this because I continue to believe in my heart of hearts that one of the single biggest levers a revenue-focused organization can pull is to have a dedicated phone qualification team. Also, I was cleaning out old paperwork and found some of my old notes from my days at SalesRamp.

First, some clarifications: I’m talking about a multichannel process that includes dedicated phone-based resources and automation designed to determine whether or not a lead fits the agreed-upon qualified lead definition and is deemed ready to speak with sales. Or CliffsNotes-style: There are people on the phones who qualify leads or inquiries before handing them to sales.

There are a number of different names for this: inside sales, sales development, lead development, telebusiness, lead qualification, and so forth. No matter what you call it, there’s a buttload of things to do when building an LQT (lead qualification team). I can think of at least 54:

  1. Establish a business plan.
  2. Create definitions; in particular, your qualified lead definition (more on this later).
  3. Determine your “value-chain,” starting from revenue the organization needs to generate then go in order from there: a) Opportunities: How many opportunities do we need to hit the revenue number?; b) Qualified leads: How many qualified leads do we need to hit our number?; c) Leads or marketing-qualified leads (MQLs): How many leads do we need to hit our qualified leads number?
  4. Draw the value chain from top of the funnel to the bottom.
  5. Create metrics for each step in the value chain.
  6. Determine your leads’ needs (demographics and so forth).
  7. Determine lead/inquiry generation flow (what are the sources, etc.).
  8. Figure out how leads will be entered into the system.
  9. Establish the merged/purged database process.
  10. Develop a list of prospects/customers not to call.
  11. Develop a definition of a qualified lead. I know I mentioned this earlier, but it is the most critical definition — what criteria must you uncover in order to pass this lead to sales?
  12. Sales has to agree to the definition, or nothing on this list will work.
  13. Get a commitment from sales to follow up on the qualified lead. Some might call it an SLA (besides Dan Waldschmidt).
  14. What is the deliverable to sales? Is it an appointment? Demo? What is the information provided?
  15. What’s the closed-loop process? Sales needs to provide feedback on the qualified leads; try to do it using your CRM.
  16. Create lead stages just like sales stages, but make them mimic the phone qualification process.
  17. Develop the quota of qualified leads (as my old boss Stu Silverman called it, “The ‘keep-your-job’ quota”).
  18. Develop a commission plan for the LQ reps. It should be a qualified lead number with a bonus for revenue generated.
  19. Develop a commission plan for the manager.
  20. Determine how to track calling statistics. Yes, sir (or madam), you need to do this. (P.S. You may or may not be able to do this in the CRM.)
  21. Tie your qualified lead flow with the overall sales forecasting process.
  22. Establish the territories for the lead qualification reps.
  23. Develop “hang-on-the-wall” materials: value propositions, call guide including voice mail, qualified lead definition, competitive comparison guide, list of customers and partners, diagram of the field organization, buyer personas.
  24. Set content-delivery strategy – what should be sent when.
  25. Create scoring (this is if you don’t have marketing doing scoring). You should score on lead source, demographic info that hits your sweet spot (title, for example), and so forth.
  26. Score will determine level of effort and time spent.
  27. Create a “connect-strategy” that includes phone and email — a series of calls and emails over time.
  28. Determine the number of voicemails you will leave (if any; some people don’t).
  29. Create a web-researching strategy. Allot a certain amount of time to research each account. Provide an application to do research such as Inside View.
  30. Create a process for inbound calls including call routing. (P.S. Here is to hoping you get inbound calls!)
  31. Get senior executive staff to buy into the LQT.
  32. Write all of this down in a strategy document. Not just to look cool, but for your own good.
  33. Develop automation strategy, customizations, reports.
  34. Choose a CRM system if there isn’t one. Figure out how to support your process if there is one.
  35. Ensure you set up CRM to make lead qualification reps’ lives easier. They need to live in it.
  36. Write an automation cheat sheet. Lead qualification reps should hang it on their walls.
  37. Establish a process for tracking qualified leads.
  38. Develop a lead source report — goodness of sources and goodness of follow-up.
  39. Make sure leads are seamlessly entered into the system. Make sure lead qualification reps are alerted when they enter the CRM system.
  40. Train, train and train: industry, buying personas, market, technology, product, company, your new lead qualification process, the automation, the message, objections.
  41. Sit with the lead qualification reps; it’s the best way to help them.
  42. Determine headcount.
  43. Create job descriptions. Copy other job descriptions of like jobs to make sure you are thorough.
  44. Advertise on craigslist, it works for this position. And send out word to your network. After you get one or two, pay for referrals. The average age will be young for this position, and the young’uns like working with their friends.
  45. Manage the group toward hitting its goals.
  46. Monitor calling. Use a splitter. It sounds invasive, but it works great.
  47. Continually communicate goals and results to management. They don’t always get it.
  48. On second thought, continually communicate to the entire company.
  49. Have a closed-loop meeting with sales. It should be weekly. Accept feedback and do something about it.
  50. Have a closed-loop meeting with marketing. It should be weekly too.
  51. Have marketing listen to calls of their leads so they can see what is working/not working live.
  52. Constantly optimize.
  53. Expect a year to 14 months of maximum output from lead qualification reps.
  54. Wake up do it again (think Groundhog Day).

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

  • http://www.b12leads.com Duncan Macdonald

    Some excellent posts – Establishing some agreed definitions of sales qualified leads is always a pivotal step, without which you will never get buy in from sales.

  • http://appxtrm.com Idan

    Here’s a 55th: equip the team with Lead Qualifier for iPhone :)
    http://bit.ly/liq11Q