Sales Accepted Leads

Sales Accepted Leads: Passing the Lead From Marketing to SalesWhat is a Sales Accepted Lead?

Sales Accepted Leads (SALs) are marketing qualified leads (MQLs) that have met certain agreed-upon criteria and are passed along to the sales team where they will be acted upon within a predetermined timeframe.

Critical to this and all other stages of a business-to-business (B2B) organization’s lead generation program is the service-level agreement (SLA) between the marketing and sales teams. The SLA should establish:

  • the sales accepted lead definition the two teams have settled upon
  • follow-up steps the sales team agrees to take when potential sales leads are delivered to them, and
  • a specific breakdown of the timeframe wherein the follow-up will occur.

 
Lead acceptance by a member of the sales team doesn’t mean the lead is automatically designated a sales qualified lead (SQL). That requires a more rigorous assessment of the lead by the sales team. Ideally, the SAL stage should only take a matter of minutes to confirm the accuracy of the lead’s data as well as confirm whether the lead continues to meet the sales team’s definition of a sales accepted lead.

SALs: The Most Pivotal (and Overlooked!) Step in Lead Generation

Many sales and marketing teams dismiss the SAL stage as time consuming and unnecessary. At Sprint Marketing, however, we’ve identified SALs as one the most decisive performance metrics for marketing and sales managers to track.

SALs represent a crucial juncture between the marketing leads and sales leads stages – a juncture where the two teams’ lead scoring criteria can be evaluated and improved.  Regular assessment of SALs can significantly reduce the budget, resources and time allocated to unqualified leads.

Above all, the SAL stage is a formal process. The sales team is obligated to conform to the steps outlined in the SLA. By officially accepting a lead and following the agreed-upon protocols, the sales team can accomplish much in just a few minutes. Accepting a lead should:

  • Start the clock on the follow-up effort. Having a recorded timestamp when the lead was officially turned over to the sales team contributes to the overall responsible handling of marketing leads.
  • Guarantee timely follow-up. In the case of business-to-business sales leads, contact should be established within 72 business hours. Within 24 hours is preferable.
  • Reduce the risk of lost leads. Timely follow-up ensures not only a quick confirmation of a lead’s viability; it also allows the sales team to quickly relegate a disqualified lead back to marketing where that lead can receive further attention and perhaps be resubmitted at a later date.
  • Enable quick identification and addressing of problems. Sales acceptance rates should range high, at 90% or better. When this isn’t the case, it indicates a clear disconnect between the marketing and sales teams that requires swift clarification. Perhaps the marketing leads definition needs modifying or a new criterion needs to be added to the sales funnel.

Reasons to Disqualify a Lead

During the follow-up phase, the sales team should not only track leads that qualify. Those leads that don’t make the cut can also yield valuable data. Recording the reasons for lead disqualification can expose emerging problems which can then be used to refine the lead management process.

A few common reasons to disqualify leads include:

  1. Inaccurate data. The contact information isn’t accurate. If a significant percentage of leads are disqualified for this reason, perhaps it’s time to consider verifying the lead data before handing it over to sales.
  2. Doesn’t fit the profile. The lead doesn’t have the budget to purchase a solution, or lacks a compelling interest or need for one, or the lead contact doesn’t have the authority to make purchasing decision. Be sure to note precisely where the lead strays from the profile so that filtering measures can be implemented at the MQL stage.
  3. Incorrectly routed. The lead was advanced prematurely and should be returned to marketing.

 

How to Increase Your Sales Leads

Increasing SALs entails collecting better-quality MQLs. This is why it’s so important to track lead progress, or lack thereof, through the sales funnel. Lead tracking will expose the pain points in the process, which should in turn lead to better approaches the marketing team can take when vetting leads. The sales team can also implement better phone approaches when contacting prospective leads for the first time.

Get Your Own Free Leads Analysis Today to See How Sprint Marketing Can Increase Your Sales Accepted Leads

At Sprint Marketing, our aim is to increase our clients’ web leads by optimizing their marketing and sales channel. We accomplish this by determining – and increasing – your sales accepted leads, marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads, as well as by delivering the latest B2B lead analytics and reporting. Contact us today for your free leads analysis.