How do you know what happened to the sales leads that were passed to the channel partners?

For those of us who do business through channel partners, finding out exactly what happened to leads that were sent to the channel can be a challenge.

  • Lead Tracking – How many leads did your partners follow up?
  • Lead Aging – When did the partners follow up?
  • Lead Analytics – How many turned into sales?   What was sold?
  • ROI Analysis – What’s the ROI for each program that generated those leads?

If  have a channel sales rep helping your partners follow up with and close the leads that you send to the channel, you’re probably doing a better job than most. Still, having a channel rep is expensive and many leads may fall through the cracks.  Why?  Because sales is a numbers game and the prospects/leads that aren’t ready to buy now are on the losing team.  Each partner rep may work with dozens of channel partners and each partner rep may work with a dozen manufacturers/suppliers – each of whom may work hundreds of leads. And when a rep has a hot lead and is working to close a deal, he’s not focused on the long-term leads.

Many people thought that CRM systems were the answer.  But reps frequently enter whatever it takes to get management off their backs about the long-term leads –  things like ‘Called 3 times and couldn’t reach them,’ or ‘No opportunity,’ prematurely marking them dead.  If you’re using one of the big name CRM systems take a good hard look and ask yourself if you’re really getting what you want out of the system.  According to a recent survey 73% of CRM users use less than 50% of the features.  Most people aren’t getting what they pay for out of the big name CRM vendors.

Management might not understand why reps do this, but in the reps’ perspective, it makes sense: they only have so much time, and working on proposals, configurations, presentations and briefings takes time.  They’d much rather be working on an immediate deal than on a lead that might close in 6 months.

So what’s the answer?  From my experience, combining what I call a ‘Lead Driver’ with a quality lead management system can increase the number of A-level leads passed to sales reps, thus increasing the number of deals closed.

First, let’s focus on the lead driver role with leads. The primary role of a lead driver is to manage the leads as they flow through the channel, whether this position is internally filled or outsourced.  Following and managing the leads through the channel has to be the individual’s sole responsibility, so that they have time to update the disposition of the leads as time goes on.

Next, let’s examine how the Lead Driver works with partners.  If a partner hasn’t followed up on a lead within a specified period of time, the lead driver reassigns it to another partner.  Thus, the lead driver follows the lead until it is either closed, lost to the competition or has been determined to never truly have been a lead.  Examining the leads that weren’t really leads can help improve the lead scoring methodology. Moreover, as sales reps focus only on leads that are truly sales ready while the rest are sent to lead nurturing or inside sales, the lead driver helps drive not only leads but also revenue and sales efficiency.

Now let’s examine the second part of the equation – the process.  For the Lead Driver process to go smoothly, all sales leads must be passed through a single quality lead management system like LeadMaster.  This provides management with the real-time status of any and all leads; it helps marketing know the effectiveness and the ROI of their lead generation programs; it minimizes outdated information in your database; and the channel manager can finally track which partners are following up on leads and which aren’t.

Thus, the problem of tracking ROI and channel efficiency is solved with a dedicated “lead driver,” or manager, and a single lead management system that you and your whole channel shares. But this is not the only benefit of maintaining one lead management system throughout the channel. This approach can also benefit your partner sales reps.  Here’s an example.  When a partner rep leaves the company and a new rep is hired, the lead driver gives them a call, tells them about the leads they’ll be working and walks them through the lead management system.  By having up-to-date information about their leads in a system that is easy-to-use, the new rep can come up to speed quickly.

So, consider the possibility of implementing something like this for your own channel. Find someone who is dedicated to work leads through the system, and deliver quality leads to your sales reps. With a small initial investment, you’ll be sure to increase sales and thus, increase revenue.


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Explore posts in the same categories: General Info, LeadMaster Services, LeadMaster Solutions

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