Capturing Lead Disposition Data Is A Win-Win

Lisa Fiondella

August 23, 2015

It’s Not the Chicken or the Egg. It’s Both.

If you’re a sales manager or salesperson, you know where you want to be – at the top. Let’s say your company’s sales conversion rate is 35%. Don’t you strive to meet (or better yet, beat) that? Who wants monthly reports showing you or your team consistently at 20%? Certainly not anyone who wants to remain gainfully employed.

So how do you improve results?

To answer that, let’s look at what happens first. Marketing generates new client acquisition, cross-sell, and retention leads for sales based on online and offline marketing and nurturing programs, as well as lead scoring. Salespeople then take these “warm” leads through a series of sales process steps which ultimately do, or do not, result in closed sales.

This sounds like a reasonable approach yet quite often, marketing and sales are at odds with each other.

The road less travelled

This is where marketing and sales professionals sometimes fail to see the whole picture. More times than not, each area doesn’t report to the same leadership. Instead, they maintain separate operations and success metrics, resulting in silos and even turf issues. Sales accuses marketing of giving them inferior leads. Marketing claims sales has a broken process and doesn’t capture lead disposition data consistently.

Add to this the fact that sales automation systems, into which marketing’s warm leads are passed and where lead disposition data is collected and stored, are usually managed by sales. When marketing requests changes or enhancements to capture more complete disposition data, they often fall on deaf ears. And, because sales prioritizes system enhancements, marketing’s requests don’t often make the cut.

The point is, data and analytics play a huge role for both sales and marketing and when input, analyzed and utilized correctly, it helps improve results across the board.

The key to successfully collecting data for predictive lead scoring is to ensure each of the steps taken during the sales process is recorded at the salesperson and individual lead levels. Was the lead contacted? Was an appointment scheduled? Was a proposal requested? Was it sent? Did they sign a deal? And so on.

But what salesperson likes to spend his or her time performing data entry? Their bread and butter is making sales. On one hand you have sales resisting requests to input data and then complaining about the caliber of leads. On the other, you have marketing requesting more complete lead dispositions to improve scoring and the quality of their leads.

So what comes first?

It’s the classic “chicken or egg” situation and represents more of an organizational issue than a process or strategy one. But in the B2B world it is one that must definitely be resolved because at the end of the day, it’s all about revenue, profit generation, and, most importantly, client satisfaction.

When sales and marketing work together under one umbrella, it helps the bottom line by aligning them around current and prospective customers. Marketing’s job is to promote your company’s brands, products, and solutions to the right customers, across the right channel(s), at the right time. To do it well, they need consistently collected, and correct, lead disposition data from sales. Not just some of the time, but all of the time.

Here’s an example. If Salesperson A consistently falls short on converting appointments to proposals for a particular type of lead, and the remainder of the sales organization is doing well, that may be a sales behavior his or her manager needs to coach around. In a second example, perhaps the conversion rate for another type of lead is consistently below the company average. Chances are it’s not the salespeople, but the quality of the lead. How was it nurtured and for how long? The full history of lead nurturing and disposition data can help determine that answer.

Marketing uses data to recalibrate lead scores and to determine if they should augment nurturing tactics for a particular type of lead, or for all leads. Sales uses data to effectively coach its salespeople. Without it, marketing cannot realistically provide better leads and sales managers cannot effectively coach.

Consistently capturing, reporting and scoring on lead disposition data is a win-win for both sales and marketing…and the chicken and the egg.