You’ve implemented Salesforce.com (SFDC), but it doesn’t feel like it has been integrated into your organization. Is it your people? Probably not. You’ve got great a sales team. They know their market, they work the phones, and they get in front of the right people. And, you’ve got a great marketing team. They create compelling content, they’ve established your presence online, and they’re creating great collateral for trade shows and events. However, there’s something missing and you know it. You can sense sales bemoaning the lack of quality leads from marketing and you can hear the mumblings from marketing that sales aren’t working the leads that they are handing off. How do you bridge this gap and achieve the harmonious excellence you are after? The first step is to sit your sales and marketing teams down and have them work together to define the ideal Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). It’s that simple.
THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL ELEMENT OF REALITY
What is an ideal Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)? Well, let’s take a trip back to Ancient Greece for a visit with the great philosopher, Plato. Yes, we’re going to get philosophical here, and your sales and marketing teams are going to have think in the abstract, but hear me out. Plato’s Theory of Forms, holds that the ideal is the most fundamental element of reality. Stop for a moment and think of a chair. What you see is an ideal chair. It likely has 4 legs, a base to sit on, and support for your back. This ideal of a chair, or what we can collectively understand to be a chair, is by what we judge and describe all other chairs. When we encounter a chair with a leg snapped in half, we know it is a broken chair by how it differs from our ideal chair. Now, think of a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). What do you see? Do you think your sales and marketing teams both picture the same ideal?
THE IDEAL SALES QUALIFIED LEAD (SQL)
Your ideal SQL will have characteristics specific to your company and industry. Have your teams answer these questions to get to the basic form. Does your lead have budget authority? Have they articulated a need for your product? Do they have the right title within your target organization? Have they expressed intent to purchase? By answering these questions together, your sales and marketing teams will get closer to the ideal. The goal is that by the end of the exercise, Sales and Marketing can close their eyes and picture the same, ideal SQL. When they have arrived at an agreed upon ideal, not only will they know what they are looking for, but they also know what they are not looking for. As in the example of the chair, a broken or non-qualified lead is one that differs from your ideal SQL. Perhaps they do not have the authority or their intent to purchase is not immediate. That does not mean that they should be discarded. Broken chairs can be fixed, and leads can be nurtured until they become sales qualified.
I hope that our trip back to Ancient Greece has illuminated the value of defining a Sales Qualified Lead. Salesforce.com is a powerful tool. For its value to be optimized within your organization, communication around a common set of standards for its use is critical. Need more help bridging those gaps? Our certified Salesforce consultants can work closely to identify your pain points and develop solutions to solve them. We are experts at defining CRM strategies and integrating the technology deep into organizations.