Differentiate Roles within the Lead-to-Close Process

The Importance of Specialized Roles

This is part of our series, the Seven Pillars of B2B Demand Generation Success In this post we describe the importance of defining specialized roles within your operation.

Why is it important to define different roles?

Prospecting, Qualifying, Closing Deals, and Managing Clients are four very different roles along the spectrum of sales. Each role requires different skill sets, training, incentives and even personality types…. This is basic division of labor, (a concept that goes all the way back to Plato!), yet most companies do not clearly define and differentiate amongst them.  This is particularly true in early stage companies with small teams, and a general mindset that “we all wear many hats!”.   But specialization does not apply only to large teams.  Aaron Ross, founder of Predictable Revenue, makes the key point that the second there are more than two people involved in the LCP process, it’s time to specialize.  We fully agree.  See his overview here.

The Importance of Lead Qualification Function

As marketing is responsible for creating quantifiable pipeline, it’s key to have a qualifying function within the marketing team. This is the vital top-of-the-funnel role that processes the early stage leads and identifies the ones that may become sales opportunities in the foreseeable future.  This is a volume operation, given the shape of the funnel and the need to process large numbers of leads in order to identify the ones that are ready to progress to the next stage… And this volume of lead processing is why you need dedicated, specialized resources.   In addition, this team needs to work very closely with the marketing team, as their customer outreach messaging and approach is highly dependent on the campaign(s) that generated the initial customer lead.  This qualifying operation needs to tie into your demand gen model (Pillar #2), and understanding its throughput capacity (Pillar #4) is vital to the success of your overall demand gen operation. 

No Handoffs!

Consider creating a “No Handoff” process, particularly for high value leads. Given that different roles and team members are responsible for different pieces of the LCP chain, it is commonplace for leads/prospects to be “handed off” from one person to another. A BDR might make the first call and set up a meeting, but the meeting is run by an account exec, and if it moves forward, it might be handed off yet again to an outside sales rep. While the handoffs make sense for internal operations, the customer experience is often sub-optimal… particularly when they face questions they’ve already answered, or hear pitches they’ve already heard. We like a “No Handoff” model wherein the initial point of contact at your company for a given prospect (usually a BDR or SDR) remains involved throughout their customer journey. Division of labor rules still apply, but rather than facing a series of handoffs, the customer is shepherded through the process by their original contact point.

This is part of our series, the Seven Pillars of B2B Demand Generation Success Here is the full list of posts in this series.

  1. Codify the Demand Gen System
  2. Build and Work the Pipeline Model
  3. Differentiate and Define Roles within the Lead-to-Close Process
  4. Measure and Know Your Pipeline Throughput Capacity 
  5. Design the Right Incentives – Particularly for New Customer Acquisition 
  6. Enact, Implement & Enforce 
  7. Execute Lead Gen Campaigns with Adherence to Best Practices
We also created this free PDF checklist — a simple yet powerful reference tool that can help to ensure you and your team put in place a solid foundation for long-term demand generation success.  

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