What makes a sales lead valuable?

A case for valuable sales leads

Sales folks are rarely enthusiastic about sales leads- which is surprising, or not- depending on how you look at it. There is obviously pressure to get to an opportunity before your competition. But, the worst thing for a sales guy is to have to chase dud leads. What are valuable sales leads?

Leads come in all shapes and from all sorts of sources. Most of them have little information other than a name and a number. Some have an email. And most of them result in nothing. Reasons are too numerous to go into, here.

Lead generation to qualification

Leads to deals to winMarketing generates the most leads for sales. And those are the leads that sales people are the most sceptical about. So, over time, most marketing leads tend to go through at least a level of “qualification”- typically a telecaller who would call the lead and gauge the seriousness or interest in purchase.

The filtering tends to be quite severe. I have seen as much as 80% leads fall by the wayside and only the 20% or less make their way to sales people to follow up. These bunch have a much better chance of closure.

The goals of the telecaller and the sales guys are – even if slightly, misaligned. The Telecaller is the “man in the middle”- he filters the marketing leads. They differ in their understanding of what valuable sales leads are.

Valuable sales leads

The telecaller – typically- is looking to get the lead to commit to a meeting or follow up call – from the sales person. He counts his success as a number of leads who have managed to say yes. This, needless to say is what the marketing guy wants too. More marketing leads result into a follow up call, better his metrics look.

Now, if poor quality leads make into the sales funnel, the sales metrics of conversion will look bad. Which is why I say, the goals of telesales and sales are often misaligned.

On balance, I still prefer the marketing to fund the tele-qualification function. There is of course scope in sales and marketing teams sitting down together and drawing up pre-agreed crieteria for deals qualification.

Okay, so what are valuable sales leads?

Having talked with hundreds of customers in scores of industries – my only answer is that it depends. It varies from industry to industry and even within the same industry, it varies from company to company. And, I am talking of companies who have actually invested the time to define the threshold of information and interest and how they measure both before passing it on to a sales guy.

Interest in the next step

Interest shown by the lead in being contacted it seems is a big factor. Also, the nature of interest matters too. Some would simply want more information to be mailed, while the others might want a visit from a sales person. I know at least one company where professed interest in meeting a sales person is ruthlessly scrutinized because the sales people are so senior and their time, expensive.

Where telecallers inevitably falter

Almost all companies have a script for the their telecallers. But I have seen most falter in sifting through the tyre-kickers and the door-keepers. Sales does not like information gatherers- though in some B2B enterprise sales processes, information sharing is mandatory as part of a long sales process. Sales also wants to talk to decision makers- and most leads tend to be from folks who are merely gathering data for their bosses. You do not want to be at the mercy of people who are not able to represent your case in from of decision makers- though sometimes you may not have a choice.

Action, level and logical fit

Sales love leads where there is clear action plan and it is obviously set up at an appropriate decision making level at the customer place. If the lead is from a customer or industry segment which is a logical fit- that obviously helps. If it is not, the telecaller should try and establish the need or the pain-point of the lead.

To summarize, valuable sales leads are where meeting is set up at a decision making level where a logical product fit can be established.

Lastly, when you work on a common platform for lead capture, qualification, conversion to deal and deal nurture and close, it definitely makes it easier for all. The lead qualification is a learning process- over a period of time and by capturing data of hundreds of leads qualified – your own criteria for evaluating leads will get better.

Linking Office 365 to Saleswah CRM

It’s a connected world

Connected world

It is a measure of how fast technology shifts in today’s world that Office 365 was needed to stop the rapid march of G-Suite (Google’s online suite of office product) into enterprises.

No one got under the skin of Microsoft Office products like Google did. Before Google came in, OpenOffice, StarOffice, LibreOffice- they all came, had a tiny share of the market (why not? they were free!). But, Microsoft charged premium dollars and the enterprises paid.

No one in the enterprises looked seriously beyond Microsoft Office- Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint and Word.

Google hit Microsoft from a totally unexpected quarter- riding on the success of Gmail, Google put serious oomph in their online office suite. And from a curiosity for home users, they started getting adopted by offices- first the small ones and then the enterprises.

One thing Google never managed to shake off though, and that is the perception that Microsoft understands enterprise security (and others don’t). So, the penetration of G-Suite tapers off in larger enterprises- where Microsoft really rules.

The case for link and synch

Customer information everywhere

As CRM vendors, we need to make the customers productive by allowing them access to customer data where it exists. So, whether in the Contacts list in Gmail or in the Outlook or in your smartphone, or the calendar data, we can save you huge time and effort by reducing de-duplication of efforts.

A digression: we are Microsoft fanboys- even when it was really unfashionable to be one. We linked our CRM to G-Suite (Google for Work those days) many years back. For all our devotion to Microsoft, we could not find a way to link to Microsoft- but for a small add-in we developed for Microsoft Outlook– which exchanged contact and calendar data between Outlook and Saleswah.

The empire strikes back

Microsoft changed – and how!

From being a desktop software vendor selling licenses software, it pushed aggressively into the cloud. Without, and this is significant, abandoning their desktop software platform.

So, you can work on MS-Word online as well as on your desktop and the beauty is that it is so long as your license is valid, you can continue to get upgrades to your desktop software as well- so, your Outlook 2016 will become Outlook 2018 or 2019 whatever the new version is. Sure, it is a game of Opex vs Capex and Microsoft makes more money in the end; but the value that you get is tremendous.

Announcing: Link Saleswah CRM with Outlook Office 365

So, for all those years spent waiting – we can now link to the Office suite and of course our first target was the Outlook. Playing no favourites here – we linked Saleswah CRM with Outlook (online) the same way we linked with G-Suite. To enable connected users exchange contact and calendar data- Tasks and appointments- between the CRM and Outlook.

There is a difference though. We connect to G Suite from the CRM platform on the web. We connect to Outlook from the Saleswah Lite CRM app on the Windows desktop store.

Saleswah CRM link Outlook

 

We dare say the integration works well. Check it out – go to the store on your Windows desktop and download. Create an account or use your exisiting Saleswah account. For the initial set-ups, go to the app on the web- same user ID and password work here as well.

Enjoy! Feel free to contact us on email at accountservices@saleswah.com if you have a feedback or suggestion.