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High Velocity Sales in Salesforce | Complete Guide To How It Works

High Velocity Sales in Salesforce | Complete Guide To How It Works

Many of our customers with Inside Sales Teams are already using High Velocity Sales (HVS) in Salesforce.

It’s an extensive new feature-set, available from the Spring ’20 Release, and is aimed primarily at Inside Sales Teams.

The result? These customers are experiencing significant improvements in the efficiency and potency of Inside Sales reps.

That’s because High Velocity Sales (HVS) in Salesforce resolves two critical challenges facing all Inside Sales Teams.

First, it enables teams to plan, control, and track the sequence of activities and tasks relevant to each Lead or Contact.

Second, High Velocity Sales allows individual team members to organize their activities and schedule their time in a meaningful way. It means, for example, they understand which tasks they should do today and this week.

Consequently, High Velocity Sales (HVS) helps Inside Sales Teams engage with leads and prospects in the right way, at the right time.

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn precisely how HVS works. Not only that, but you’ll also see how essential High Velocity Sales features like sales cadences, actions, call scripts, email templates, and Einstein Lead Scoring improve Inside Sales productivity and potency.

We’ve also created a highly detailed video to accompany this article. You can watch it below.

How Salesforce High Velocity Sales Accelerates Your Inside Team Results (Video)

If you are setting up or running an Inside Sales Team and want to know everything about High Velocity Sales (HVS) in Salesforce, this detailed guide is for you.

1 – The Problem High Velocity Sales Solves

For most Inside Sales Teams, there are usually hundreds, if not thousands, of leads in play simultaneously.

These leads come from many different sources, including contact us web forms, webinars, ebook downloads, digital channels, and sometimes even purchased lists. It’s the role of Inside Sales to turn these leads into sales-ready opportunities.

Inside Sales also plays a vital role in adding and extending relationships at critical accounts in many companies. For example, the team often supports field reps by seeking out and building rapport with previously unknown stakeholders that influence the buying process.

As a result, the team faces two vital challenges. How well they resolve these challenges determines how effective the team is at delivering sales-ready prospects and opportunities.

 

The Inside Sales Horizontal Challenge

The first challenge is to decide upon the right sequence of activities for each Lead.

For example, a lead that fills out a ‘Get In Touch With Sales’ web form is probably ready for an immediate qualification call.

However, what about webinar attendees? They may not be ready for an immediate post-webinar sales qualification call. Instead, the most effective approach may involve LinkedIn Connections, educational emails, phone calls, and even social media messages.

In other words, the ideal series of activities is likely different for leads that enter Salesforce from various sources, channels, and marketing campaigns. It may also be different for leads in other countries or cultural backgrounds.

I call this the Inside Sales Horizontal Challenge.

Essentially, the Inside Sales problem is how to consistently follow a series of activities relevant to each category of Lead.

High Velocity Sales solves this challenge because it allows teams to pre-define activity templates. These templates are sequences of tasks they must perform with leads from different groups. High Velocity Sales calls these sequences ‘Sales Cadences.’

 

The Inside Sales Vertical Challenge

In many Inside Sales teams, there is no consistency in how everyone keeps track of their activities.

Some people on the team use Salesforce tasks. Others use Outlook activities. Excel spreadsheets and Google Sheets also abound.

The problem is this:

How does each team member keep track of the phone calls, emails, LinkedIn Connections, and other items they should be doing today, or this week?

I call this the Inside Sales Vertical Challenge.

This problem quickly intensifies as you add more leads to the pile.

High Velocity Sales solves this challenge by using the Lightning Sales Console and Work Queues. These features mean team members have a reliable, robust way of viewing planned tasks across multiple leads and contacts.

It means the team can quickly see the things they must do today, this week, or that are overdue.

Not only that, High Velocity Sales helps Inside Sales to execute these tasks. That’s because it includes automated emails, templates, call scripts, and Einstein Activity Capture.

I’ll show you all these in this guide to HVS.

Let’s dive in.

2 – HVS Sales Cadences

The critical concept to understand within High Velocity Sales is Sales Cadence. They are the vital building blocks in HVS.

Sales Cadences are pre-defined sequences of communication activities designed for leads or contacts that meet specific criteria. Each cadence can include conditional logic and actions, rules, and listening elements that form the communication process.

Inside Sales teams often use these activities to develop relationships with new leads to qualify them as sales-ready opportunities.

For example, you might have a Sales Cadence for people that download an eBook, but who are not ready to engage with a salesperson yet. This cadence may include emails with useful content, LinkedIn connections or messages, and phone calls to inform the prospect of an upcoming webinar.

Likewise, webinar attendees may link to a Sales Cadence. This cadence defines the sequence of activities and tasks for people that attended. There may be a different sales cadence for no-shows.

 

Sales Cadences versus Lead Nurturing

Many companies with Inside Sales teams use marketing automation tools like Pardot or Marketo.

These tools provide advanced lead nurture capabilities, essentially based around email campaigns. For example, the person downloading the eBook may receive three emails, linking to further useful content.

Sales Cadences also include an automated email function. More on this shortly.

The essential difference between marketing automation tools and HVS Sales Cadence is that the former focuses on delivering pre-defined emails. Sales Cadence can have automated emails, but they also include activities that a human is required to fulfill, such as making a phone call or sending a LinkedIn connection request.

Also, bear in mind that marketing automation tools include additional features such as landing pages, lead scoring, and advanced email response metrics. Consequently, many Inside Sales teams will use both toolsets to optimize their end-to-end lead nurture and qualification processes.

With that, let’s get into the three main elements of Sales Cadences within HVS: Actions, Rules, and Listening.

An overview of an example Sales Cadence, showing actions, rules and listeners
Actions

A Sales Cadence includes up to four types of Action:

1. Call. Make a phone call to the prospect. There’s an option to link a Call Script with this Action.

2. Email. Send an email. This Action can be a manual send or an automated email delivery. Email Templates are involved in this step.
3. Custom Step. This Action is for tasks other than making phone calls or sending emails. ‘Send LinkedIn Connection Request’ is an example of a custom step.
Understanding Sales Cadence Custom Steps
4. Wait. Specifies a waiting period before the next Action commences.
Understanding Sales Cadence Wait Action
For example, if you want to email a customer once every three days, include a Wait element of three days between the two Email Send Actions.
That’s all of the Actions. Here’s how Rules use actions in HVS.

 

Rules

There is only one Rule Element within the Sales Cadence editor. That rule is ‘Call Result.’

When Inside Sales log a phone call, the Call Result field defines the outcome of the dialogue.

For example, was the discussion positive or negative? Did the person answer the call, or did it go to voicemail? The Call Result field stores this information.

When Inside Sales log the call, the Call Result determines which path the Lead follows in the Sales Cadence.

For example, here’s a ‘Meaningful Connect’ Call Result.

In this example, the Sales Cadence automatically routes the Lead down the Meaningful Connect Call Result path.

Here’s another example showing the Sales Cadence routing the Lead down the Not Interested Call Result path.

Listener

Listener elements in the Sales Cadence await engagement by a Lead with an email. That means they always come after an Email Action in the process.

Listener Elements need to be positioned after Email Actions within Sales Cadences
Like Call Results, Listener elements route the Lead down a specific path within the Sales Cadence.

The Listener tracks three different response types to an email sent using High Velocity Sales: opens, clicks, and replies.

Understanding Listener Elements Sales Cadences

When sending an email via High Velocity Sales, the system will automatically track engagement levels within a set period.

In the example below, you can see the Email Open Element is listening for engagement for a total of 7 days.

When engaging with an email, it automatically moves the Lead down the correct path in the Sales Cadence either straight away or after the set amount of listening time.

It will also inform the Lead Owner of the engagement via the ‘My Feed’ section of the Work Queue. 

You’re probably wondering:

How does all this HVS functionality relate to an Inside Sales team?

Let’s answer that question next.

Interested in seeing a demo of High Velocity Sales in action?

Get in touch today to arrange a walk-through!

3 – How Inside Reps Use High Velocity Sales

Inside Sales team members use High Velocity Sales (HVS) to schedule and organize their work with prospects and leads.

 

Assigning Records to Cadences

Before Records can begin moving through Sales Cadences, a user must assign them to a relevant Sales Cadence.

To assign a Lead or Contact record to a cadence, you have one of two choices. You can either:

1. Click on the drop-down in the top right-hand corner of the Lead or Contact, and click ‘Add to Sales Cadence.’

2. Click ‘Add to Sales Cadence’ directly on the lightning component, Sales Cadence Steps.
Currently, it is not possible to set up automatic Sales Cadence assignments using standard HVS settings.

However, you can set up an automatic Sales Cadence assignment using Flows, Process Builders, or Apex.

Once added to a Sales Cadence, records will begin appearing in your Work Queue – which takes us onto the next section, using the work queue.

 

Using the Work Queue

The work queue brings all of your Sales Cadences and activities into one single place.

When working with hundreds of different leads at once, it can become complicated tracking who to contact next and which stage in the process various records are currently situated.

The work queue helps users solve these issues and address the Vertical Challenge many Inside Sales Teams struggle with frequently.

The work queue allows users to instantly view which leads they need to communicate with, which Sales Cadence they’re a part of and what specific actions are outstanding.

If you’re using Lightning Dialer, you can connect with Leads and Contacts with the click of a single button.

Regardless of whether or not you’re using Lightning Dialer, upon clicking the Call Button, the previously configured Call Script will automatically load into a popup window, as well as the option to Log A Call.

Users can even send Manual Emails directly from within High Velocity Sales, pulling the previously configured Email Template into the Email before adjusting it as required.

As mentioned in the previous section, HVS will track the engagement of any emails distributed directly from the system.

If your goal is to increase productivity and manage your Leads and Contacts more efficiently, the Work Queue is your number one benefit from HVS.

 

Progressing Leads and Contacts through Cadences

When sending emails and logging calls directly within High Velocity Sales, Leads will automatically move onto the next step after completion.

No need to manually progress the Lead; the system has already taken care of it for you.

However, when working with Custom Steps, the Inside Sales Team will have to tell the system that the action is complete manually.

4 – Configure High Velocity Sales (HVS) Features

To build a Sales Cadence, the essential items that need customizing are:

  1. Call Results.
  2. Lead Page Layout and Fields.
  3. Contact Page Layout and Fields.

Call Results

Using the Call Results feature means you can route prospects down different paths, depending upon phone calls’ outcome.

For example, if the prospect shows positive intent, the path with further activities is appropriate. Alternatively, if the person displays little or no interest, then the track with no follow-up activities may be relevant.

Salespeople record the outcome of each call using the previously mentioned ‘Call Result’ field.

To set up Call Results in HVS, expand the ‘Define Call Results for Branching’ section.
You can use five unique Call Results within a Sales Cadence. These are:

  • Call Back Later.
  • Left Voicemail.
  • Meaningful Connect.
  • Not Interested.
  • Unqualified.

Each of these five Call Results needs at least one corresponding Call Result Value.

In some cases, the Call Result value is identical to the Call Result itself.
For example, the ‘Call Back Later’ Call Result will only ever include a ‘Call Back Later’ Call Result Value on the activity.

In contrast, a ‘Not Interested’ Call Result might be recorded in various ways depending on your business. For example, Negative Call, No Budget or No Time can all be Call Result Values that fit into the ‘Not Interested’ Call Result.

Here’s an example of how your Call Results and Call Result Values might look.

By default, the Call Result field is a text field.

Because of this, we recommend implementing a collection of Validation Rules to ensure only the correct values are entered into the field.

 

2. Lead Page Layout and Fields

Let’s move onto the ‘Configure Lead’ section.

Expand the ‘Configure Lead’ section of the HVS setup page. You’ll see recommendations to display Sales Cadence information on the Lead Page Layout for Inside Sales Users.

However, look first at the ‘Lead Custom Score’ picklist. HVS allows you to use any custom number field in Salesforce as a scoring mechanism.

Importantly, you can enable Einstein Lead Score directly from this same picklist.

Lead Scores help Inside Sales teams prioritize prospects. The score calculates automatically by looking for patterns in previously successful leads. It also provides insights into the Salesforce fields that impact the Einstein Lead Score the most.

Click ‘Get Started’ and follow the on-screen instructions to begin using Einstein Lead Score.

Displaying the Sales Cadence information and fields directly on the Lead page layout is vital for Inside Sales. It means team members can access both standard Salesforce features, Sales Cadence, and Einstein Lead Scores.
In the setup area, there are four recommendations:

  • Add the Sales Cadence Steps component to record pages.
  • Add the Sales Cadence field to list views.
  • Add Sales Cadence to one of the top Selected Fields.
  • Add Sales Cadence actions to customized record layouts.

Here’s how you do each of these.

 

Add Sales Cadence Steps to Page Layouts

Sales Cadence Steps is a new page layout component included with HVS.

When you look at a Lead, Sales Cadence Steps tells you two things—first, the completed cadence steps. And second, which step within your Sales Cadence the Lead is currently on.

If no Sales Cadence is assigned, you can specify a Sales Cadence using this component.

 

Add Sales Cadence Field to List Views

Sometimes you want to see which Leads are linked to each Sales Cadence easily.

To do this, create a List View on the Leads tab. Include the Sales Cadence field.

You can include a filter of ‘Sales Cadence is not blank.’ That way, you only see Leads with an assigned Sales Cadence. You could even do the opposite, and only show leads with no Sales Cadence assigned. Or create both!

 

Add Sales Cadence Top Selected Fields

Inside Sales teams don’t have time to waste searching the page layout for critical information.

Add the Sales Cadence field to the compact view at the top of the record:

Doing this makes it quick for team members to get cadence information.

 

Add Sales Cadence Actions to Page Layouts

The final thing on the recommended list is adding Lightning and Mobile actions to the page layout.

There are only two actions to worry about-adding a Lead to a Sales Cadence and removing a Lead from a Sales Cadence.

Adding these two actions to the page layout includes them in the drop-down list, found the top right-hand corner of the record’s highlight panel.

This way, users can adjust the Sales Cadence assigned to each Lead, based on their interactions.

 

3. Contact Page Layout and Fields

All the HVS changes we have covered in the previous section on Leads applies equally to Contacts in Salesforce.

Make these changes on Contacts if your Inside Sales team works with both Leads and Contacts.

And there you have it. You’ve set up the essential High Velocity Sales features.

However, before you can use it, we need to create some assets.

5 – Building High Velocity Sales (HVS) Assets

Most Inside Sales team members will use HVS assets such as Email Templates, Call Scripts, and Sales Cadences in their day to day work.

Here’s an explanation of each HVS feature.

 

Email Templates

Email templates are pre-written emails stored directly within High Velocity Sales.

A Sales Cadence can send Email templates automatically as one task in the sequence of activities. You must have the Automated Email feature enabled in HVS to do this.

However, Inside Sales team members can also use the templates to send emails to prospects manually.

Using email templates improves Inside Sales productivity. It also high-quality, well-written, and grammatically correct emails are used consistently in the sales process.

 

Call Scripts

Call Scripts in HVS are notes and text that guide the Inside Sales team when talking to customers and prospects.

Call Scripts help to structure the conversation and make sure the dialogue stays on topic. Within HVS, different types of calls will each have a specific Call Script. For example, these scripts often guide the Inside Sales team on qualification questions to ask and discover topics to cover.

Here’s an example of a Call Script inside an HVS Sales Cadence.

Call Scripts are straightforward. They include a name to identify the Call Script in Sales Cadences, a brief description, and the body. The body is where you store the main content, ready to guide the conversation.
As you can see, the content can be highly prescribed and describe the exact words Inside Sales should use. Or it can be more descriptive, providing notes and guidance to steer the conversation.

6 – Setting Up High Velocity Sales (HVS)

If you are completely new to High Velocity Sales, there are some critical first steps.

Let’s start by explaining exactly how to enable High Velocity Sales.

 

How to Enable High Velocity Sales

The first step is to purchase the licenses (HVS is an additional cost). Salesforce will add the HVS licenses and permission sets to your environment, giving you full access to the High Velocity Sales package.

Once your Salesforce system has access to the High Velocity Sales license, HVS can be enabled directly within your Salesforce environment via the Salesforce Setup menu.

To get started, search for ‘High Velocity Sales’ in the Setup Search bar and click the High Velocity Sales section.

Then, click the ‘Set Up and Enable HVS’ button towards the top of the page.

By default, activating HVS will automatically enable a handful of other features within your system. These include:

  • Enhanced Email (elevates Email to a standard Salesforce object).
  • Email Tracking (know if and when customers open emails sent using Lightning Experience).
  • Einstein Activity Capture (keep sales reps’ Email and calendar in sync with Salesforce).
  • Automated Email (lets you include automated emails in sales cadences).
  • Skip Weekends (assign sales cadence tasks to reps on weekdays only).

There are also options to set up email integration and an analytics dashboard.

Most of these features are automatically enabled. However, you can disable any of them later. We recommend leaving them all on for now.

 

Managing HVS Permission Set Assignments

HVS permission sets give specific Salesforce users access to the High Velocity Sales functions.

You decide which of your users need HVS. However, remember, you’ll need a High Velocity Sales license for each person.

To assign HVS permission sets, return to the Salesforce setup area and search for ‘Permission Sets.’

Find the HVS permission set, click on ‘Manage Assignments’ towards the top of the page. Use this to add the permission set to the relevant users.

Make sure you assign the right permission sets to each user.

For example, a High Velocity Sales Cadence Creator can manage and customize Sales Cadences. (Creating Sales Cadences is covered later in this guide).

In contrast, a High Velocity Sales User is unable to create and customize assets. So make sure to assign your users to the correct permission sets.

Get A HVS Demo

We cover a lot of ground in this comprehensive guide to High Velocity Sales.

You might now be thinking:

How do I get an independent demo of HVS in action? That way, I can understand whether it will boost the Inside Sales team in my business.

The answer is to arrange a walk-through of the Sales Cadence and other features with our team. We’ll give you an impartial view of whether HVS is right for your business.

Don’t hesitate, get in touch today.

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2 Quick Wins Using Web To Lead You Can Implement Today

2 Quick Wins Using Web To Lead You Can Implement Today

Here are two quick wins using web to lead that many companies overlook:

  1. Web to lead on their Contact Us page.
  2. Web to lead for downloadable web content.

However, the fact that many companies don’t do this means they are not generating leads as efficiently as they should.

Consequently, they have fewer leads, and less sales-ready opportunities.

Yet web to lead is quick and easy to do.

Read on to discover the benefits. Then have your system administrator implement these quick wins today.

1. Web To Lead ‘Contact Us’ page

I doubt there is a business that doesn’t have a Contact Us page on their web site.

But many companies that own salesforce licenses are missing a trick:

They are not using web to lead on their Contact Us page.

Instead, they have the prospect fill in a form. Then they send the form details to an email address. (Or even worse, they simply invite the prospect to send an email to info@).

However, this is time consuming, and requires more effort to respond to the inquiry.

A salesforce web to lead form is a quick win in this situation. Here are five reasons you should be using web to lead on your Contact Us page.

  1. Populate the lead information into salesforce without any extra effort. No re-keying of data involved.
  2. Automatically send an acknowledgement email. Let the prospect know you have received her enquiry.
  3. Immediately assign the new lead to someone qualified to deal with the enquiry. I’ve commented below on who the right person might be.
  4. Alert the person to whom you have sent the lead with an automated email.
  5. Capture hidden information that will improve your marketing metrics. For example, link the lead to a relevant Campaign. Automatically set the Lead Source field.

I’ve helped hundreds of companies improve their lead process. And in every case, I’ve found that the quicker you respond to a new lead, the higher the chance of a successful outcome.

That probably rings true in your own experience.

Web to lead means you get the information into salesforce, acknowledge the customer and assign the lead to the right person, all in the blink of an eye.

Who is the right person to receive Contact Us enquiries?

Often the immediate response is to assign web to lead prospects to a salesperson.

But hold on.

That might not be the best way. Here’s why.

  • Salespeople are busy dealing with opportunities. Which is the way you want it. Most salespeople will see a new web lead as lower priority than an open opportunity. That may mean a slower response.
  • Salespeople are often out in the field. Speed is of the essence. You need to respond to the web to lead prospect quickly. Leaving the response until the salesperson has downtime is a sure-fire way to neglect new leads.
  • The new enquiry may not be a sales lead. It may be a technical query, vendor approach, potential employee or even spam. Have someone qualify and validate new enquiries. Then, when the person is sales-ready, assign the lead to a salesperson.

In many businesses, web to lead prospects are immediately assigned to an inside salesperson, telemarketer or marketing employee.

This person qualifies the lead. He may also add additional company or person-specific information. In short, assign qualified leads to salespeople. Deal with all other enquiries in a different way.

For more information on the process for dealing with web leads (including free process diagrams that you can download), review our blog post, The Difference Between A Lead and an Opportunity In Salesforce.

Multiple Contact Us pages

Don’t think you can only have one web to lead Contact Us form on your web site.

You can have as many as you like.

For example, if your web site is in multiple languages, create a different web to lead form for each language. Send the acknowledgement email based on the language of the form.

Even if the site is in a single language, you may still have many different pages in which the customer can get in touch.

In that case, you’ve two choices. Use the same web to lead form in each location. Or go the extra mile – create a different web to lead form in each case. That way you can set the Lead Source field differently for each form. It’s an easy way to understand where your sales enquiries are coming from.

So that’s the first quick win. Get a web to lead form set up on your Contact Us page today.

As always, if you need some help, go to our own Contact Us page and we’ll answer your question. Quickly, I hope!

2. Web to lead for content download

Here’s the second quick win you can implement easily using web to lead.

Use web to lead to manage content downloads on your web site.

The days of the salesperson being in charge of the flow of information with a prospect are long gone. Nowadays, with any important buying decision, prospects expect to conduct their own extensive web research. They do this research long before they’re ready to speak to a salesperson.

Businesses that generate revenue efficiently have acknowledged the buying process has changed.

Efficient revenue generation means helping prospects conduct this preliminary research. This builds trust, credibility and engagement with prospects. This happens long before a dialogue has started between the salesperson and her prospect.

Downloadable content on your web site can include eBooks, case studies, white papers, checklists and other useful material.

But here’s the thing. You can ‘sell’ your best content. The price?

The cost of an email address.

Content download example

Look at our most popular blog post, 12 Charts That Should Be On Your Salesforce Dashboard.

The post gives extensive advice on using salesforce dashboards to improve visibility of the sales pipeline and sales performance.

It includes videos that demonstrate the 12 charts that we think are critical in any business. There are extensive links to related pages on our web site that give more information on each dashboard chart.

You can also download the accompanying eBook. It’s a high quality, comprehensive resource. So we charge for it. The price is an email address.

Here’s what we don’t then do. Immediately jump down their throat. Rather, we use an email nurture program to invite the prospect to look at our other content. Many people do. And some of those people subsequently engage with us on a commercial basis.

Moreover, it’s an efficient and effective way to generate revenue, with the prospect being in charge of the purchasing process. Of course, to understand how this approach can apply in your own business you know what to do by now – visit our Contact Us page.

Use web to lead for content download

Here’s how it works.

Set up a web to lead form to capture the email address. Then, when the prospect completes the form, immediately send her an email that she can use to download the content.

That way, you validate that the email address is legitimate. It also means you capture all the details in salesforce. This includes linking the lead to a marketing campaign and setting the lead source.

You can implement this quick win today.

How to set up web to lead

There’s a wizard in salesforce to help system administrators set up web to lead. You’ll find it under Setup, Customize, Leads, Web-to-Lead.

Use this wizard to create the code for your web form. Then get the person that looks after your website to deploy the form on your web site.

Don’t get bogged down with it. If you need some help or advice just get in touch.

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Are Sales Right To Complain About Marketing Leads?

Are Sales Right To Complain About Marketing Leads?

“Most of the marketing leads we get are rubbish!” says Dave Apthorp. Really, Dave? Is it true? Marketing leads are so poor it’s not worth salespeople calling them. We wanted to find out. So we did an experiment. The results might surprise you.

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Are Sales Right To Complain About Marketing Leads?

Are Sales Right To Complain About Marketing Leads?

Marketing leads given to Sales are rubbish, says Dave Apthorp.
Sales don't bother to phone Marketing Leads, says Maria Smith
We wanted to know more about the quality of marketing leads.
Are marketing leads so poor it's not worth salespeople calling them?
We conducted a short experiment to investigate the quality of marketing leads.
12 months ago the team attended a trade show to increase the number of marketing leads.
The aim was to create sales opportunities from these marketing leads.
Sales called all the marketing leads but no new opportunities were created.
That produced a lot of conflict between sales and marketing.
12 months later, GSP did some research by calling all the marketing leads.
The findings from this research might surprise you.
Two marketing leads had subsequently made a purchase.
Two other marketing leads were in the middle of a purchasing process.
One marketing lead was planning to make a purchase next year.
4 marketing leads were not planning to make a purchase anytime soon.
1 marketing leads will never make a purchase.
In summary, half the marketing leads were good quality.
We contacted the marketing leads to find out why they hadn't spoken to salespeople at the time.
Based on our research, the marketing leads told us they weren't ready to speak to salespeople.
The leads were good quality but they were not yet sales-ready.
After the trade show, the activities of these marketing leads were invisible to salespeople.
No-one knew when the marketing leads would be ready to speak to salespeople.
There are six lessons from this research into the quality of marketing leads.
Lesson 1 - marketing leads in the invisible sales pipeline needs to be managed proactively.
Lesson 2 - marketing leads need to be managed over the long-term and this requires patience.
Lesson 3 - lead nurturing is essential to produce sales-ready leads from cold lists.
Lesson 4 - create high quality, useful content to feed lead nurture campaigns.
Lesson 5 - engage with marketing leads only when these prospects are sales-ready.
Lesson 6 - creating high quality marketing leads requires a process driven approach supported by technology.
Apply these 6 lessons to create sales-ready opportunities from your marketing leads.

“Most Marketing leads we get are rubbish,” complains Dave Apthorp, sales executive at Modernis.

“How can Sales possibly know this?” says Maria Smith, marketing manager at Modernis. “They never phone any of the leads we DO give them!”

But where’s the truth? Are Marketing leads so poor it’s not worth Sales following them up? We wanted to find out.

Twelve months ago the Modernis marketing team attended a trade show. Sales immediately called up the leads. And how many opportunities were created? None. Absolutely none. Which led to a lot of sales complaints about the quality of leads. And one heck of a lot of friction.

So, 12 months later we called 10 of the marketing leads. We wanted to find out what had happened in the intervening 12 months. Here’s what we discovered:

  • 2 had purchased products from a competitor of Modernis.
  • 2 were actively engaged in a purchasing process to select a supplier. Sadly Modernis wasn’t one of the candidate suppliers.
  • 1 hadn’t started a formal purchasing process. But they fully expected to make a purchase in the next 12 months.
  • 4 of the leads had taken no action following the trade show. They didn’t anticipate starting a purchasing process any time soon.
  • 1 wasn’t in Modernis’ market place and is unlikely to ever make a purchase.

In other words 5 of the 10 were great leads. Two had already bought from a competitor. And yet these leads were all rejected as rubbish by Sales.

So why didn’t these prospects engage with Sales at the time? Here’s what they told us:

“We weren’t ready”.

” We didn’t have stakeholder support”.

“I didn’t have a budget at the time”.

“We weren’t sure what the right solution was. The last thing I needed was a sales pitch.”

“We hadn’t decided which vendors we wanted to talk to”.

The prospects were legitimate buyers. But they simply weren’t  sales ready. They were at an earlier stage in the buying process. They didn’t want to speak to a sales person. Yet.

Which is why Sales thought the marketing leads were rubbish. “That’s why we don’t bother to ring them”, says Dave.

But what’s worse, after the trade show the activities of these warm prospects were invisible to Modernis. Which meant no-one knew when they were sales ready. And led to lost sales for Modernis.

It was a classic case of a lack of sales and marketing alignment.

So what what can we learn from this research. Six things.

1. Manage the invisible pipeline pro-actively

Customers start their buying process long before Sales get involved. These early stage activities form an invisible pipeline. Yet this invisible revenue pipeline can – and must – be managed to drive sales income.

2. It pays to be patient

Modernis has a sales cycle of 2 – 3 months. But that’s Modernis definition of the sales cycle. That’s how long it typically takes an opportunity to pass from Created to Closed in the CRM system. But looked at from the perspective of the customer, the buying process is much longer.

3. Lead nurturing is essential

Traditionally prospects had to rely on sales people for their information. Not any more. There’s a wealth of information available on the internet on every product on earth.

And ad hoc marketing campaigns – delivered only when time permits – have only a short term impact on sales revenue. Effective lead nurturing means a structured process of communications throughout the buying process.

4. Useful is the new cool

The creation of content that is highly useful to prospects is critical to lead nurturing. The leads we spoke to were hungry for information. Highly useful content satisfies this hunger. It helps leads narrow choices. In your favor.

5. Engage sales when prospects are sales ready

Prospects don’t mind talking to sales people. But only when they’re ready to do so. And only with the relatively small number of vendors with whom they’ve decided to engage. And the challenge for Marketing? Track human behavior to gauge when leads are sales ready.

6. Marketing is becoming increasingly process and technology driven

It’s hard to know when a prospect is sales ready without knowing if they open your emails. Read your blog posts. Visit your web site.

Lead nurturing cannot be done in an ad hoc fashion. And it can’t be done manually, at least not effectively. It requires planning and well defined processes. Together with the marketing automation tools necessary to make the whole thing scalable and efficient.

Recommended Reading

5 Sales And Marketing Alignment Recommendations That Nail It

And finally… you can also access this blog on Slideshare – Stop Sales complaining about the quality of Marketing Leads

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5 Mistakes To Avoid With Salesforce Leads

5 Mistakes To Avoid With Salesforce Leads

Most businesses should be making use of Leads in salesforce.

Unless you’re in a known and finite market then there will always be new Leads to be qualified.

(Actually even if you’re in a finite market in which every player is known you should probably still be using salesforce Leads).

But here’s the thing.

The lead process in salesforce is often badly implemented. That means a lack of sales and marketing alignment.

And that means reduced benefits and usually a lot of unnecessary frustration.

In our experience the mistakes made by one company are often repeated by another. So here are the 5 most common mistakes made in implementing Salesforce Leads.

Oh, and by the way. If one of these mistakes has been made in your business then don’t worry. We also explain the action that will fix it.

So here you go. 5 common mistakes made with salesforce Leads and how to avoid them.

Mistake #1. Not using Web to Lead

Your web site is an ideal place to solicit new inquiries from prospective customers.

In our experience if someone has taken the trouble to get in touch with you then they tend to be a pretty warm Lead.

So it’s a shame that companies often do one of two things. They invite prospects to send an email to an address published on the Contact Us page. Or secondly, they publish a form that doesn’t pass the information directly into salesforce.

This is a mistake because it adversely impacts your businesses’ ability to respond quickly and effectively to the inquiry. It means you cannot:

  • Automatically route the Lead to the person best equipped to deal with the customer’s request.
  • Automatically send the prospect an acknowledgement that you have received their request.
  • Gather information about the request in a structured way (we can’t guarantee that the person includes a phone number in their email, for example).
  • Measure how quickly your team respond to new Leads.
  • Automatically link the Lead to a Campaign. This means you lose valuable information about marketing effectiveness.

It also means someone will need to re-type the inquiry in salesforce and that’s a waste of time.

How to avoid or fix this mistake

Replace the email address or third party form with a salesforce Web-to-Lead form.

This will automatically create a Lead in salesforce when someone completes the form. It means you can avoid or correct all of the shortcomings listed above.

Here’s more information on how to implement salesforce Web-to-Lead forms.

Mistake #2. Not using Lead Assignment Rules in salesforce

All evidence demonstrates that the quicker you respond to a sales inquiry the greater the chances of winning the deal.

If you rely on team leaders, sales support or managers to assign Leads then you may be delaying the response to the inquiry. And that can mean lost sales.

The quickest way to get a Lead in salesforce into the hands of a person that can contact the prospect is to use Lead Assignment Rules. So it’s a mistake not to use them.

How to avoid or fix this mistake

Lead Assignment Rules can be based on any standard or custom field on the Lead. They’re easy and straightforward to set up. Here’s where you can find more information on setting up Lead Assignment Rules (LINK).

Or get in touch if you’d like to know more about the custom solutions that we have implemented for customers. These include the ability to automatically assign Leads based on holidays and team availability.

Mistake #3. Not linking Leads to Campaigns

In many cases Leads are created but no-one knows where they came from. For example, the Leads are not linked to the marketing campaign that generated the Lead or influenced the qualification process.

This means that information on the effectiveness of marketing campaigns is lost. It’s impossible to tell which marketing activities work and which don’t.

But it goes deeper than that.

If the Lead is converted and an Opportunity is created then there’s no information on the contribution of the marketing campaign. In other words, the return on investment on marketing campaigns cannot be calculated.

How to avoid or fix this mistake

Link the Lead to the marketing Campaign that generated the Lead.

If the Lead came from an advert, trade show or email program then link the Lead to the relevant Campaign. Be sure to modify the Campaign Member Status values to reflect the various types of Campaign. Here’s a blog post that explains how and why to use Campaign Members.

Sometimes there’s no obvious marketing campaign. For example, if the Lead is generated by a Web-to-Lead form on your web site. Our recommendation is to create an ongoing Campaign called Web Inquiries and link these Leads to that Campaign.

That way you’ll get consistent management information on all Leads and understand the contribution played by different marketing campaigns.

One more thing whilst were on this topic.

Let’s clear up the ambiguity between Campaigns and the Lead Source field.

The Lead Source is a picklist that is populated when the Lead is first created. For example, a picklist value on the Lead Source might be Exhibitions. But the Campaign tells you which specific exhibition generated the Lead. So use both in conjunction with each other to get the most informative management information.

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Mistake #4. Opportunities are not created when the Lead is Converted

Here’s what happened in several companies that asked for our help in improving the lead management process.

The telemarketing team contacted the Lead and arranged an appointment for a field sales person. The Lead was assigned to the sales person. The sales person converted the Lead to an Account and Contact but without creating an Opportunity.

The meeting created by the telemarketing team was fulfilled by the sales person. If the meeting was successful then the sales person created an Opportunity.

But this approach is a mistake. Here’s why.

The relationship between the Opportunity and originating Campaign and the Lead Source was broken. This is because the Opportunity was not created at the point of Conversion. This means that it is now impossible to determine the effectiveness of different marketing campaigns or lead sources.

How to avoid or fix this mistake

Convert the Lead to an Account, Contact and Opportunity when the meeting is arranged. This means the link between the Campaign and Lead Source is retained and passed through to the Opportunity.

It also means that the meeting is recorded against both the Contact and the Opportunity.

As a result, reports and dashboard charts now demonstrate the efficacy of Campaigns and various lead sources in producing revenue.

Both of our customers set the new Opportunity to “Stage 0 – Marketing Qualified”.

It’s perfectly acceptable for the sales person to “Qualify-out” the Opportunity immediately after the initial meeting. The sales person selects from a ‘Reason Lost’ picklist and enters additional information into a text box or the Chatter Feed on the Opportunity. This means there’s a process of continuous improvement fueled by feedback on the success or failure of each early-stage Opportunity.

Study this blog post to understand about Lead Conversion and to download lead management process diagrams. To find more about tracking the revenue contribution of converted leads use, 7 Lead Conversion Metrics You Should Use (But Probably Don’t).

Mistake #5. Treat every new salesforce Lead as if it’s sales-ready

Often businesses don’t differentiate between sales-ready Leads and nurture-ready Leads. They treat everyone as sales-ready.

If someone fills in a form on your web site asking you to get in touch then it’s safe to say they’re sales-ready. They’re willing and able to speak to a sales person.

But that doesn’t apply to everyone that fills in a form. And it definitely doesn’t always apply to Leads from other sources.

Think about your own buying process. You might download an e-book, whitepaper, case study, product specification or other useful content. But it doesn’t mean you immediately want to hear from a sales person.

Yet often companies pass these Leads straight to Sales to call. And that’s a mistake.

Here’s another example.

At considerable expense one of our customers attended a trade show and gathered 160 new Leads. “It will be like shooting fish in a barrel”, said the VP of marketing as he handed the Leads over to Sales.

The Sales team phoned all the Leads. Want to guess how many new Opportunities were created?

None.

12 months later we phoned 10 of the Leads as part of our research project for the customer. Here’s what we found.

  • 2 companies had purchased from a competitor.
  • 2 companies were actively engaged in a purchasing process but neither had involved our client.
  • 1 hadn’t started a formal purchasing process but expected to do so in the next 6 months.
  • 4 had taken no action following the trade show and didn’t expect to make a purchase any time soon.
  • 1 was only interested in winning the iPad giveaway competition.

In other words half of the Leads were legitimate potential customers. In fact two had already bought from a competitor.

At the time Sales contacted the Leads the prospects were not sales-ready. They were nurture-ready. The fact that our client failed to communicate or nurture these Leads on a regular basis after the trade show was a mistake. And that mistake meant missed opportunities, and in all probability, lost sales.

Read the full story here.

How to avoid or fix this mistake

Those Leads that are sales-ready need to be contacted quickly. But not all Leads fall into this category. In fact the majority probably don’t.

To deal with the nurture-ready Leads implement a regular program of targeted marketing communications to move Leads along the path to being sales-ready.

The most effective way to do this is by using a marketing automation platform such as Marketo, Hubspot or Pardot. These applications enable sophisticated targeting to support lead nurturing. They also provide lead tracking and scoring to indicate when a Lead appears to be sales-ready.

If you don’t have access to and advanced marketing automation tool then use a mass email tools such as Dotmailer or MailChimp. The capabilities are less advanced but they can still be integrated with salesforce to track how well specific Leads are responding to marketing communications.

Of course don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like our help with Leads in salesforce in your business. We won’t necessarily regard you as sales-ready but we promise to contact you quickly. 🙂

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The Crucial Difference Between A Lead And An Opportunity in Salesforce

The Crucial Difference Between A Lead And An Opportunity in Salesforce

You probably don’t remember Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

It’s a surreal comedy group from the 1970’s. It’s how John Cleese and Michael Palin first made their name.

In one famous sketch, Palin arrives at the Argument Clinic or for an argument. Cleese is happy to oblige. They go round in circles, contradicting each other over and over.

You can recreate a similar scene:

Ask a room full of Sales and Marketing people to agree how the lead process should work in salesforce.

You’re guaranteed a bun fight.

I’ve run hundreds of salesforce implementation workshops. And here’s something I’ve experienced:

No subject causes more debate than that surrounding the lead process.

However, resolving this debate is critical to an effective lead process in salesforce. Unfortunately, often that doesn’t happen with clarity.

The outcome is an ineffective lead process. Consequently, there is ineffective lead qualification, reduced revenue and poor marketing and sales performance information.

It also means a lack of lead conversion metrics that quantify the contribution of leads to revenue.

Let’s understand what causes this debate. Then we will define a lead process in salesforce. Do this as one of the core components of effective Sales and Marketing alignment in your business.

(By the way, don’t forget, you can download the lead process diagrams used in this article).

Difference between a lead and an opportunity

There is often dis-agreement between Sales and Marketing on the difference between a lead and an opportunity. Yet clarity is essential.

Unfortunately, that is harder than it sounds.

Why is there so much confusion? After all, most Sales and Marketing people will acknowledge that a lead is the first step in the sales cycle.

Here’s why it’s a problem.

Salesperson’s definition of a lead

To a salesperson, a Lead can come as easily from an existing customer or known prospect, as a brand new one.

The lead can be repeat business for an existing customer. Or a new prospect, freshly arrived through the door.

Either way, the sales process has started. It may not be advanced enough to warrant an Opportunity in salesforce.com. However, sales engagement hast at least commenced.

So, from a salesperson’s perspective, a lead reflects a broad range of early stage, potential opportunities that require immediate action.

Marketing person’s definition of a lead

A Marketing person’s perception of a lead often varies in two important ways.

First, a Lead is a person or business that will potentially make a purchase at some undetermined point in the future.

Marketing may hand the lead to Sales, but not necessarily with the expectation that a sale will immediately result. The lead is a potential customer that may engage in a future sales process. Conversely, to a salesperson, a lead is someone entering the sales process right now.

Second, to Marketing a lead is very often a new company or person. The business or contact may not have existed previously in the database. Indeed, the primary role of Marketing in many businesses is to increase the overall lead database for long-term benefit.

Salespeople are under pressure to close deals in the short term. Marketing want to nurture the Lead. Unfortunately, this contrast in expectations frequently results in Sales complaining about the quality of Leads created by Marketing.

Salesforce lead process

Sales and Marketing often fail to agree on the difference between a Lead and an Opportunity. This directly obstructs the implementation of an effective lead process in salesforce.

So what constitutes a lead in the salesforce.com CRM system?

In fact, salesforce uses the term Lead in several different ways. Let’s take them step by step.

  • Lead as a brand new enquiry

Start by thinking of a Lead in salesforce as a brand new enquiry, from a business and person you’ve never previously heard of.

For example, let’s say you have a Web-to-Lead form set up on your web site. Web-to-Lead is an easy way to integrate salesforce with your web site. It means anyone that fills in your Contact Us form is automatically created as a lead in salesforce.

Now the lead exists. What’s the first thing that should happen in the lead process? Check for duplicates by clicking on the Find Duplicates button on the Lead page layout.

This will identify any matching Leads or Contacts that already exist in your salesforce database. Let’s assume you don’t find any.

Now you make an outbound telephone call to the Lead. Essentially, one of three outcomes will result from this part of the lead process.

  • The Lead is a dead end

It turns out the person isn’t interested in any further dialogue. Perhaps it was a student simply looking for research information. Either way, set the Lead Status to Closed. No further action is anticipated, although you don’t necessarily delete the Lead from the database.

  • The Lead is a definite maybe

The Lead is moderately interested in your products and services. He doesn’t want to speak to a sales person – at least not yet. Nevertheless, you agree to send a brochure, product specification or price list. So this time set the Lead Status to Contacted. You might also create a follow up Task to call the Lead again in the future.

  • The Lead is a sales Opportunity

The Lead agrees to a meeting or phone call with a Sales person. Or he requests a quote. In other words, he gives you some indication that he’s a legitimate potential customer. He’s a Qualified Lead.

This time leave the Lead Status alone. Instead, click on the Convert Lead button. Salesforce will convert the Lead into three separate records; an Account; Contact; and Opportunity.

Here’s the process in a flow chart diagram.

Lead process diagram for qualifying a new Lead.

The Account represents the business or organisation. The Contact is the person employed by that organisation. And the Opportunity represents the potential sales deal.

It’s this early stage Opportunity that many Sales people will regard as a Lead.

Indeed Sales people may be reluctant to use the term Opportunity. It raises expectations about the outcome. It creates visibility of the deal in the sales pipeline dashboard. And from the salesperson’s perspective, the Lead may – or may not – have been properly qualified by Marketing before it was converted to an Account, Contact and Opportunity.

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All legitimate issues. Before we address them, let’s deal with several other ways salesforce uses the term Lead.

  • Leads that match existing Lead records

Let’s go to back to our person that filled in the Contact Us form on your web site.

In our example, we assumed that no existing Lead or Contact matched our new Lead. We established this by clicking on the Find Duplicates button on the Lead page layout.

What if one or more matching Leads is found?

Click the Find Duplicates button on the Lead page layout to find matching leads

No problem. Use the Merge Leads button to merge the various Leads into a single record. Then make your qualification call.

Here’s the lead process diagram.

Lead process diagram for qualifying a lead with match to existing lead.

  • Leads that match existing Contact records

How can an existing Contact be created as a Lead in salesforce? There’s a number of ways.

For example, Leads can be created by importing the spreadsheet that contains a list of people that came to a booth at an exhibition. Some of those people may well be existing Contacts.

Or, a Web-to-Lead form on your web site that allows visitors to register for an event. When an existing Contact registers she’s created as a Lead. Likewise, the same thing happens if you’re using Web-to-Lead to enable visitors to download a document from your web site.

In any of these cases, when you click on the Find Duplicates button you may find there’s a matching Contact.

Click the Find Duplicates button to find Leads that match.

Here’s three ways to deal with the Contact-as-a-Lead situation.

  • Convert the Lead without making a Qualification call

    During the Lead conversion, salesforce will help you merge the Lead into the existing Contact record. If the Account Owner is already actively engaged with the Contact – on an existing Opportunity for example – then perhaps it isn’t appropriate to make the qualification call.

  • Convert the Lead and then make a Qualification call

    This is the common approach when it’s the Account Owner that is dealing with the Lead. He or she merges the Lead into the Contact record and then makes a call to the Contact.

  • Make a qualification call before Converting the Lead

    This approach is used most frequently when Marketing or Inside Sales is dealing with the Lead. They make call to the Lead, cognisant of the fact that the person already has a relationship with the company. Following the conversation the Lead is converted, but Marketing or Inside Sales make a human decision on whether to simultaneously create an Opportunity.

Here’s the process diagram for the last of these scenarios.

Lead process diagram for lead qualification with match to existing account or contact.

To Convert a Lead without creating an Opportunity, check the box “Do not create Opportunity upon conversion” during the convert process. It’s underneath the Opportunity name on the Convert Lead page layout.

At the end of the Monty Python scene, Palin and Cleese continue to argue about whether the argument is finished.

However, you can do better than that.

You can resolve the argument about lead processes in the workshop. And then build the lead process in salesforce; it’s a sure-fire way to increase sales and marketing alignment.

Free lead process diagram download

Are the lead process diagrams in this article useful to you? Simply Download the diagrams in Powerpoint. Use them starting point for creating your own lead management process.

And now, kick-start lead metrics in your business by installing the free Lead Conversion Dashboard From GSP in your salesforce environment.

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Innovate marketing to boost sales ready leads: Event 11th December

Register Event CTA MiddleBoosting revenue means increasing the number of high quality leads given to the sales team.

Simple to say. But how do you achieve it?

Join us on 11th December and we’ll show you how. We’ll demonstrate how to innovate marketing and lead generation activities to drive sales ready leads.

We’ll cover:

  • How marketing automation tools such as Marketo, Pardot and Hubspot are radically transforming marketing and lead generation.
  • How to create and use high quality content to attract new prospects and increase leads.
  • How to integrate with Salesforce.com to create a powerful, end-to-end sales and marketing process.

We’ll demonstrate exactly what terminology such as lead nurturing, content marketing and lead scoring actually mean. And we’ll do it all using live examples and practical demos.

Date: 11th December 2014
Venue: 9 Devonshire Square, London EC2M 4YF
Start: 9.00 for 9.30 AM
Finish: 12.30 followed by light lunch.

It promises to be an action-packed event. We’d be delighted to have you join us. Simply fill in the form below.

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Who’s in your invisible sales pipeline?

Who’s in your invisible sales pipeline?

In the age of the internet most purchasing processes begin long before the selling organisation becomes aware of it. Invisible buyers perform invisible Google research. They narrow their invisible choices. They invisibly decide which companies to contact. And start forming an invisible sales pipeline.

Increasingly businesses are not only starting to get visibility of this invisible sales pipeline. They’re influencing it. And the result is a constant stream of sales ready leads.

Invisible Sales Pipeline

So what exactly is the invisible sales pipeline? It’s the investigation and research processes that potential buyers go through before they’re ready to talk to a potential supplier. In our model we identify four stages in the invisible sales pipeline.

Invisible Pipeline

In summary:

  • Problem Awareness. The buyer becomes aware of a problem she’s experiencing or an opportunity that might be exploited. The buyer typically spends time researching the web, casting around for information that will help build her understanding of the problem or opportunity.  Example: “I know our employees travel a great deal and incur a lot of expenses but no-one ever has any robust information on the costs.”
  • Potential Solution. The buyer understands more about her problem. She starts to identify ways in which she can solve her problem.  Example: “It looks like we need an effective travel management system.”
  • Candidate Solutions. The buyer has settled on the overall solution. She starts to research the potential companies that can provide this solution.  Example: “There’s 10 companies that seem to have the type of system I need.”
  • Preferred Suppliers. It’s not realistic to talk to every supplier. So the buyer narrows down the list of companies she’s going to engage with.  Example: “I’ve identified the three specific travel management system vendors that I want to talk to.”

Of course it might not be as linear and well defined as this. But you get the idea. And however you define the buying process in your industry, most organisations have no idea the potential buyer is going through it.

Sometimes though they get an inkling. The potential buyer goes to a conference and is scanned. Or she enters an email into a form in order to download a document.

But often what then happens is that the ‘lead’ is passed to the sales person. So the sales person calls the lead, who in turn replies, “No thanks, I’m not interested in a meeting.” Or words to that effect. “Those leads from Marketing are always rubbish”, thinks the sales person. And doesn’t bother to phone the next one.

Is this the best lead process that can be achieved? No. Over the next 6 weeks we’ll be publishing several more blog posts that explain:

  • How you can get visibility of buyers in the invisible sales pipeline. Short answer: use marketing automation applications such as Hubspot, Marketo and Pardot. And integrate them with Salesforce.com.
  • How do you influence prospective buyers in the invisible sales pipeline? Short answer: create compelling and useful content that educates and influences the buyer as she moves through the various stages of the buying process.
  • How and when do you pass a prospective buyer from the invisible sales pipeline to the sales team. Short answer: when your lead scoring and prioritisation mechanism tells you it’s the optimum time.

The invisible sales pipeline doesn’t need to remain invisible. Stay tuned by following us on Google+

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9 Must Have Charts On Your Marketing Dashboard

Identifying which Salesforce marketing campaigns have generated the most number of sales ready leads is critical to improving marketing effectiveness.

So here’s 9 charts that we think should be on the Leads & Marketing Salesforce dashboard for sales and marketing alignment.

For full insight, combine these charts with our recommendations on tracking lead conversion metrics.

1. Leads by Lead Source

The Leads by Lead Source is a simple chart that gives good information on where new Leads are coming from. The underlying report is based on a standard field on the Salesforce Leads page layout called Lead Source.

Don’t confuse Lead Source with the Campaign. There may have been multiple trade show Campaigns for example, with the number of Leads generated for each trade show shown on the Campaign. The Lead Source tells us how many Leads we generated from all Trade Shows compared to other sources.

The Leads by Lead Source gives information on the marketing dashboard on where new Leads are coming from.

The dashboard data is displayed as a doughnut chart in the example above. It could alternatively be represented as a pie chart or stacked bar chart, summarised by month. Don’t forget to include the time period in the chart footer – Leads Created this Financial Year in this example.

Drilling down from the dashboard to the underlying report gives the user more information. In this case we’ve grouped the report by Lead Status but other summary options might include Country or Lead Rating. Incidentally the report shown above is a Matrix rather than Summary report. Here’s why it’s better to use a Matrix rather than a Summary report,  “When is a report not a report? Matrix versus Summary reports”.

2. Number of Leads created by Lead Status

The Lead Status chart tells us how many Leads have been created each month and what has happened to them. This includes information on the number of Leads that have been converted to Accounts, Contacts and Opportunities each month (shown in orange on the chart below).

The Leads by Lead Status report on the marketing dashboard tells us how many leads have been created each month and what has happened to them.

This is valuable information in telling us about the quality of Leads that are being generated and how effective we are in following them up.

3. Leads by Lead Owner

Tracking the number of Leads by Lead Owner means we can understand how effective different sales people are in converting Leads to Opportunities. Be sure to analyse this in conjunction with other factors. Some people may be allocated Leads from better quality sources for example.

The Leads by Owner Leads report on the marketing dashboard means we can understand how effective different sales people are in converting Leads to Opportunities.

The report might also highlight sales people that are overloaded with Leads. This in turn may explain why some sales people have a disproportionately high number of ‘Not Contacted’ Leads. Or perhaps some sales people are much quicker at following up new enquiries than others.

The chart above is based on current Lead Owner – this may be different to ‘Created By’. If information is needed on the number of Leads created by different users then track this in a separate chart and report.

4. Opportunities by Lead Source

When a Lead is converted, the Lead Source is automatically carried through to the equivalent field on the Opportunity. This means the number and value of Opportunities by original Lead Source can be measured.

The opportunities by lead source report on the marketing dashboard shows the number and value of Opportunities by original Lead Source.

This chart tells us how productive our various Lead Sources are in generating sales pipeline and Won deals. We’ve created a separate blog post “10 Sales and Pipeline Charts that should be on your Sales Dashboard” for that explains to to gain visibility of sales performance and the sales pipeline.

12 Must-Have Charts For Your Salesforce Dashboard

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5. Campaigns with Campaign Members by Type

The Campaigns with Campaign Members chart tells us how many people (Leads and Contacts) are associated with each Campaign. Of course a Lead or Contact may be associated with multiple Campaigns and will therefore be included within the report multiple times i.e. once for each Campaign with which the Lead or Contact is associated.

The Campaigns with Campaign Members report tells how how many leads and contacts are associated with each marketing campaign.

You may want to filter the report to include only certain types of Campaign e.g. events such as trade shows, seminars and conferences. Bear in mind the report shows the total number of Leads and Contacts associated with each Campaign. It doesn’t tell us whether these people responded positively to the Campaign. This is covered in subsequent reports.

6. Campaigns with Campaign Members by Status

This report gives essential information on whether people are responding to our Campaigns. The Campaigns with Campaign Member report tells us the respective Status of all the people (Leads and Contacts) associated with our Campaigns. As such it’s a fundamental indicator of how well our Campaigns are performing.

The Campaigns with Campaign Member Status report on the marketing dashboard shows the status of all leads and contacts that are associated with the marketing campaign.

 

In the example above, the green bar shows the number of people that have ‘Responded’ to each campaign, compared to those with a ‘Sent’ status. Control the Campaign Member values that can be created for each Campaign by clicking the Advanced Setup button on the Campaign page layout.

7. Campaigns with Opportunities

The majority of Campaigns are run with the direct purpose of generating additional revenue – so the number and value of Opportunities generated from each Campaign is a key metric we want to measure. The underlying report uses the Primary Campaign Source field on the Opportunity page layout to identify relevant Opportunities.

This field is automatically populated when a Lead that is associated with a Campaign is converted to an Opportunity. It can also be manually populated if the Opportunity is created without an originating Lead.

The Primary Campaign Source field on the opportunity means we can measure marketing ROI across different marketing campaigns.

A key challenge with this report is ensuring the integrity of the Primary Campaign Source field on the Opportunity. In many organisations, sales people are expected to ‘self generate’ Opportunities from customers and prospects, not just rely on marketing Campaigns. Setting the Field History Tracking for the Primary Campaign Source field is one way to identify if the Campaign Name has been changed or removed subsequent to Lead conversion.

An additional issue relates to the fact that multiple Campaigns may have influenced the decision makers within the customer organisation. How do we know which Campaign was the most influential in generating or concluding the deal? To resolve this, use the Primary Campaign Source field to record the Campaign that led to the Opportunity being initiated. Then use the Campaign Influence report to track those additional Campaigns that are associated with relevant Contacts. You’ll find the option ‘Campaigns with Influenced Opportunities’ under Campaigns when you click New Report.

8. Campaign Return on Investment (ROI)

Most Campaigns have a cost associated with them. Even an email Campaign may have a small delivery cost or expenses associated with template design by an external agency. And the cost of trade shows can be very substantial indeed. This means we need to measure Return on Investment (ROI) of the various Campaigns.

The Campaign Return on Investment report on the marketing dashboard tells us how effective each marketing campaign is in generating additional revenue.

The chart shows two metrics. Firstly the ROI %. Second, the Value of Won Opportunities. Both are taken from the respective standard fields on the Campaign page layout.

Strictly speaking of course the total revenue associated with a Campaign isn’t the ROI. It’s the total revenue associated with the Campaign. Accurately calculating the ROI would require the profit or margin on the Opportunity to be determined and for this value to be compared to the cost of the Campaign. This might be difficult to achieve in some organisations so we’re going to settle for calculating the ROI based on the revenue value of Won Opportunities in our example here.

9. Why are Leads being Closed?

Not every new Lead will convert to a successful Opportunity – far from it. So collecting information on why Leads are set to Closed by sales people gives us valuable feedback on the quality of Leads being generated.

The reason leads are being closed can be understood on the Closed leads report.

To implement this chart, create a custom picklist field called Closed Reason on the Lead. Make the field mandatory and link it to the Lead Status using the dependent picklist function.  Only the ‘Closed Not Converted’ value in the Lead Status should have any dependent values – this way the mandatory Closed Reason field will not be applicable if the Lead Status has any other value.

Summary

These 9 Lead and Marketing Charts will give your salesforce dashboard powerful visibility of the effectiveness of your salesforce Campaigns. Use these reports and charts as starting points – modify, adjust and enhance them to meet the specific needs of your organisation. And don’t hesitate to give us any feedback – on either the charts in this blog or ideas you have for other marketing and lead generation charts.

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