Today I've spent a lot of time organizing a new initiative at my company that I'm really excited to have been asked to lead.
With the support of senior executives, we have formed a Lead Management Task Force to do three things:
1. Evaluate and document the current lead generation, lead flow and lead follow up process (particularly noting all challenging areas)
2. Draft a "Future State" vision for what the Lead Management process will look like if we could wave a magic wand and make it all come true
3. Build requirements to implement the new process once approval is obtained from our Executive Board
How did I start?
First, let's talk about who is on the team.
We have 10 members of this team representing our two main U.S. divisions and central services. The breakdown is as follows:
2 Sales Account Executives
1 Senior Sales Manager
1 Sales Operations Specialist
2 VPs of Marketing
2 Marketing Coordinators
1 Marketing Manager
2 Marketing Automation & Operations
I started off with a kickoff meeting where I listened intently to every single person answer this question: "Explain the current process as you see it today." For the most part, everyone said the same thing, which means they all understood where we are today. The next question is where it got interesting.
"What are the challenges with the current process in the context of your role?"
Hello, open floodgates! This is where the truth came out. Considering I was one of the people who implemented the current process to begin with, I had to try VERY hard to keep my mouth shut and just listen to what they had to say! The insight and perspectives were varied and valuable and gave everyone a lot to think about. I quickly realized that this project could become incredibly overwhelming and so complicated that we could quickly get paralyzed - so I decided some creative project management was needed.
Getting it under control
I took a few days to get my head around what I'd heard. I took my notes from the meeting and looked for trends in the feedback. Then I outlined each stage of the lead management process as defined by the team in our kickoff meeting, and listed the corresponding challenges in a chart. But looking at that didn't make it less overwhelming, so I needed to take it a step further.
There was no way that a team of ten (who all have other full time jobs, by the way) would be able to efficiently and effectively tackle this list, so I created the concept of "Expert Teams." Each stage of our defined process was assigned to one of three Expert Teams containing the people who were most impacted by and invested in the activity at that stage.
The larger group has decided to initially meet every two weeks. The Expert Teams will meet separately in between large group meetings to focus specifically on creating plans for their assigned stages of the process. At our large group meetings, we'll discuss the progress of the Expert Teams and talk about smooth transitions between the stages that the individual teams have been working separately on.
In the next two weeks I will have met with every Expert Team and the final "Current State" documentation will be complete. Next, we will begin working on our "Future State" plan. I intend to steer these Expert Team meetings using some really great Eloqua resources, such as the Lead Management Workbook from the RLC course I took last year, and the Funnel Stage Definitions worksheet.
Stay tuned as I blog about this project and our journey to tighten up our process and better align our sales and marketing teams around the revenue funnel!