Is It a Lead Generation Challenge or a Lead Management Challenge?
It’s quite literally the longest-running conflict in the revenue growth world – sales reps don’t feel that they’re receiving enough quality leads from Marketing to make their number. Either the number of leads is insufficient, or the quality of leads turned over to sales is so poor that they become ‘noise’ that sales simply ignores.
To better understand the challenges you must address within your own Lead Funnel, download the Lead Generation Calculator that many other Marketing Leaders have used here.
To address this challenge, we often focus on refining or expanding our Lead Generation motion while a better solution often lies in improving our Lead Management process. A well-constructed and enabled LDR function can be a game-changer. And as we’ll see later, equipping LDRs with a robust playbook is the key to a well-enabled LDR function.
LDRs Are A Critical Resource Within the B2B Funnel
My colleague Jenny Sung recently wrote about a 3-step process to ensure that you’re generating enough leads to make your number. LDRs are a huge piece of this puzzle, ensuring that a greater percentage of raw inquiries ultimately become SQLs and sales opportunities.
LDRs typically perform a combination of inbound and outbound efforts to nurture potential leads until they are ready to be turned over for sales. The LDR engages the lead, delivering commercial insight, and nurtures the lead until they can be qualified and are ready to have a more meaningful conversation with a rep. When leveraged correctly, they can drive a significant impact in both the quantity AND quality of leads turned over to sales.
It’s Probably Your Execution Not Your Design
I recently spoke with a Marketing Leader who was especially frustrated at the perception that his team was not doing enough to drive the success of the sales team. Over the prior 18 months, to complement his team’s lead generation efforts, he had made a significant investment to stand up and expand a team of Lead Development Reps (LDRs). But the results were still disappointing, and he missed his projections by a large margin.
So, why? Why do LDR efforts such as the one cited above often fall short of the desired impact? Is the LDR model itself in jeopardy? Is this no longer a good use of marketing dollars? Well, as Mike Drapeau wrote last year, the culprit for weak demand generation is quite often execution, not design. And when we’re talking specifically about the implementation of LDRs, the best remedy is likely better enablement in the form of an LDR Playbook.
LDR Enablement Is Essential
While the LDR’s role in Marketing is not at all new, it is still misunderstood. Marketing leaders too often see this is as another ‘dial-for-dollars’ role, plugging in inside sales reps or call center professionals. In fact, the LDR is much more a ‘teach and nurture’ role and requires its own unique skill set. It is a role that requires ongoing enablement to ensure that the LDR can consistently deliver commercial insight to prospective customers, nurturing them until they can be passed to Sales.
And the key to the enablement of LDRs is a comprehensive playbook that provides ’1-stop shopping’ for everything that an LDR needs to know to be more effective in the role.
A well-constructed LDR Playbook should address the following:
- Lead Management – Define standards for how to determine a leads status and record at each stage of the nurturing process, with clear exit criteria for each step.
- Awareness – Convey best practices on how to generate initial interest with a new prospect. Effective engagement with a potential lead at this early stage greatly enhances lead funnel performance.
- Consideration – Assess how to nurture a prospect once awareness has been established, based largely on the prospect’s fit to the Ideal Customer Profile. This is where the LDR can have a significant impact on getting the ‘right’ leads over to Sales that have the best chance for conversion.
- Engagement – Define best practices for engaging & transitioning a lead to Sales. A smooth handoff to sales is critical – providing clear direction on how to optimize this handoff ensures better downstream conversion of the lead.
- Ideal Customer Profile – Describes the type of customer who has proven to derive the most value from using our service relative to the effort it takes us to complete the sale. This is one of the most fundamental concepts in lead management – yet one that is not leveraged enough by most teams. The playbook should provide clear criteria on how to ‘score’ a lead against the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).
- Personas – One-page document that captures the ICP and Buyers Journey for identified buyer types. Personas are used by LDRs and Sales Reps to identify where a Lead is in the Buyer’s Journey and deliver appropriate messaging/content to them.
Better Enablement = Better LDRs = Better Lead Conversion Rates
In providing a playbook for better LDR performance, you’ll see more high-quality leads going to sales, ultimately driving better conversions cascading down the lead funnel. Download the Lead Generation calculator to gain a better understanding of your challenges and to benchmark your lead funnel conversion rates.