Oct 142011

Lead Generation: How to be the Best at Lead Generation? It Starts with Process

Lead Generation: By Vince Koehler on Wed, Oct 12, 2011

Sales leaders would never dream of operating a sales force without a sales process.  Yet sales organizations move forward with Lead Generation efforts without a documented lead management process.

It all starts with Lead Management Process – Steps to Develop

A lead management process is required for repeatable best-in-class performance. The following is a high-level overview of the main steps involved in developing a process for your company:

Perform Discovery

  1. Performance Review – Identify metrics that exist today, what can be tracked, and establish a baseline.
  2. Content Assessment – Map existing content to the buying stages and perform gap analysis.
  3. Sales team discovery – Understand the lead hand-off and criteria for qualification.
  4. Identify the Buying Process – This typically includes anywhere from 2-5 stages depending on the complexity of the solution.
  5. Understand the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) – Review account segmentation areas of focus and document characteristics of the target audience.

Design of Lead Management Process (version 0.5)

  1. Develop a common definition of a “lead” across the organization
  2. Identify key stakeholders from sales, marketing, IT and finance to participate in a collaborative planning session.
  3. For each step in the buying process, document the following:
    • Stage Definition – One sentence definition of the purpose of the phase.
    • Steps – List of steps in order of accomplishment that guides the Lead Development Rep (LDR) in what they should be doing to move the prospect forward.
          • What is the minimum level contact information received to be a considered an “Inquiry”?
          • Develop grading based on contact and firmographic data to measure the quality of the fit to your ICP.
          • Develop scoring based on activities and behavior that show the level of interest.
          • Establish qualification criteria for a lead to be worthy of sales investment of time.
          • Design nurture campaign frameworks.
          • Identify qualification criteria and requirements for delivery to sales.
          • Establish requirements for feedback loop with sales.
    • Exit CriteriaDescription of a specific action that indicates the buyer has moved to the next step in the buying process.
    • Job Aids – List of tools and resources The LDR can use in this phase to help achieve the Exit Criteria.


  1. Expert Panel – Assemble a cross-functional team to review and validate the steps (Update process to version 0.75).
  2. Pilot – Closely monitor testing of the process with a sub-set of staff and make appropriate continuous improvement revisions (update process to version 1.0).

Lead Management Process – Template

Developing a lead management process has some of the same characteristics of a sales process. The following is a best-in-class award winning template developed by Sales Benchmark Index.

Lead Management Process – Sample Stage

The following is a sample Consideration Stage process to give you an insight into the definition, steps, exit criteria and job aids.

Key Take-away

The elements of success for standing up a Lead Generation LDR team involve the following key attributes:

  • Lead Definition – Define what a “Lead” is for your company among both sales and marketing so the term is objective and not up for different interpretations.
  • Lead Management Process – Define ownership of prospects and contacts at points of inquiry, within the CRM, standard operating procedures to support lead nurturing, qualifying requirements, and points of hand off to sales.

Learn more by downloading our Lead Generation best practices whitepaper.



To Discuss how these Solutions will add value for you, your organization and/or your clients, Affinity/Resale Opportunities, and/or Collaborative Efforts, Please Contact:

Tom McDonald, tsm@centurytel.net; 608-788-5144; Skype: tsmw5752

lead generation, McDonald Sales and Marketing, LLC