sales-rolesAs I previously mentioned we have a lot of leads in our CRM system.  Without some sort of solid process for managing these leads we would never be able to see the forest through the trees.  Good lead management is a critical aspect for our company (really, all companies) because nothing happens without the sale and most of our sales start out as leads.  The reality is the future of your company hinges on how you currently manage your leads.  You need to plant your seeds before you are hungry.

In order to manage leads effectively each person on the sales team needs a specific role and set of tools in order to do their job as effectively and efficiently as possible.  Once again Zoho CRM rises to the challenge and allows us to manage the entire process with a minimum of setup.  In fact, I have spent more time defining and documenting the process than I have configuring the software.

We have three main sales roles at D-Tools: Sales Administrator, Sales Assistant and Sales Consultant.  Each role has a distinct set of job functions attached to it.

Lets look at the life cycle of a lead and how it relates to each role.  When a lead first comes into the system it needs to be approved.  Since we have a public web to lead form on our web site we get a fair share of crap leads.  Instead of these leads going directly into the system and mixing (infecting) with the other leads they go to a waiting for approval section and anyone with a Sales Admin role in Zoho gets an email announcing a new lead.  I should mention that the web to lead form, lead approval process, and email are built-in Zoho workflow functions.

On a daily basis the Sales Admin (SAM from now on) looks at all the unapproved leads in the system and checks each lead to make sure all of the required fields are accurate.  If it looks like a bogus lead then it is deleted.  Next the SAM attempts to pre-qualify the lead by the email address (as explained in this post). If a website can be deduced through the email address the SAM subjectively evaluates the quality of the website and scores appropriately.  Next the SAM assigns the lead to the proper territory, sub-territory (more on that later), and then assigns the lead to a specific Sales Consultant based on the territory assignment.

However the lead is still “unqualified”, meaning we have not had a one-to-one conversation with the lead by either voice or email.  This is where the Sales Assistant role comes into the picture.  In general I do not want our Sales Consultants talking to unqualified leads.  The Sales Assist (SA from now on) job is to contact the lead, fill in any missing information, ask questions that will determine how our software can benefit the prospective customer, do a web demo of the software (if appropriate), answer any basic questions and ideally move that lead up to Qualified A, B, or C status or (not as ideal) move them down to Dead or Inactive (it happens). In general our Sales Consultants do not get involved until the lead status is at least a “Qualified C”.

Since we have so many leads this Pre-Qual Score field makes it stupid easy for our SAs to sort the lists, or “views” as they are called in Zoho by this field so the most qualified leads get acted on first.  Before we had this Pre-Qual Score process it was just hit and miss, not a good way to manage 11,000 leads.  Below is a list view of what our SA’s use to qualify leads.

Here is the criteria from the above list view.

As the SA is in the qualifying stage with each Lead Zoho makes documenting this process stupid easy again.  All notes, phone calls and emails relating to the contact are included in the lead record.  Outgoing email is automatically added to the lead record and by using the Zoho CRM to Outlook interface a SA can automatically sync a response email to the lead record.  (red icon in the pic below)  We do all this so when it comes time for a Sales Consultant to step in we don’t make the potential client re-state all of their objectives, concerns and questions.  Saves everyone time and frustration I should add.

Basically the main job function of the SA role is to communicate with the Lead, document ALL of the communication and move them to a “qualified” lead status.  Once they get the lead to that point the sales Consultant steps and the SA starts the process over with another Unqualified lead.

Once a Lead gets to Qualified C or above and they want to talk to a Sales Consultant (SC from now on) a SC will automatically be notified by the SA using the Zoho Task functionality  All the SA has to do is fill out this simple form.  Since all of the information is contained in the lead record this eliminates all of the questions, emails and conversations that are usually associated with this type of hand off.

It is now the SC’s job to work with this lead and convert them to an “Account” where the Account Type = Prospect.  But this post has gone on long enough so process will have to be explained another day.