The Best Practice Mamba

It goes without saying that following or adhering to lead management best practices is a good rule of thumb, especially when you want your marketing and sales organization to be top-notch.  Adhering to lead management best practices will help companies achieve tighter alignment between marketing and sales, improve lead conversions and ultimately improve revenue.  However, a word of advice:  make sure that you don’t fall into the trap of implementing best practices without a thorough understanding of your company’s unique culture and environment.  Best practices are developed to be used “across the board”, and often “tweaking” them to fit into a specific company situation is needed. 

Let me give an example.  One of our clients wanted us to develop and implement a best practices lead management process that included lead qualification and lead scoring.  We went through the disciplines of reviewing their products and services, developing a customer profile, and segmenting their database.  We then developed qualification and scoring criteria based on all of the above.  When we tested the lead scoring model, it failed.   Why?  Well, not because there was anything wrong with the model per se.  It failed because a lead scoring process applied to their complex selling model was creating more confusion than clarity.  So, instead of forcing the model, we opted for a detailed “rules based” qualification process that yielded the sales team the highly qualified leads for which they were looking.

Often times marketing and sales executives become so enamored with “best practices” that they fail to see the forest for the trees.  They seek to adopt a new process without any regard for their under riding corporate culture, their relationships with their customer base, or their customer buying cycles.  As a result what was supposed to yield great benefit turns out to be a colossal failure.

Now you may be asking, “Shouldn’t best practices drive process change?”  Yes, in many cases they should.  But only when the case can be made that adopting the new practice will indeed improve productivity.  If it doesn’t, then alter the process, or abandon it altogether. No one wants a new practice if it’s not going to improve productivity or help to better achieve results.

Remember, adopting lead management best practices is a good thing.  Adopting the “best” best practice is even better.