SiriusDecisions defines the sales accepted lead (SAL) stage of the demand creation process as a formal process for acceptance of leads by inside, field or channel sales. A service-level agreement (SLA) should be created that specifies the characteristics of a sales-ready lead and the resulting steps sales must take within a specific timeframe.
Salespeople who accept leads are simply acknowledging that the leads they’ve received meet the agreed-upon criteria in the SLA. Leads should be reviewed and accepted or rejected by sales prior to attempting contact. Leads should only be rejected for a handful of basic reasons, including procedural (lead has been incorrectly routed), clerical (the prospect record is incomplete or inaccurate) or definitional (does not meet the target market, activity or lead level thresholds). Note that lead rejection differs from disqualification, which should happen only after the rep has contacted the lead and learned that there is no interest, need, budget, etc.
A formal lead acceptance process is important in b-to-b demand creation for four reasons:
The SAL stage is typically overlooked because it is viewed as unnecessary and cumbersome. However, it should take no more than a few minutes of sales time, and it’s the best thing an organization can do to ensure that the budget, effort and resources devoted to lead generation are not wasted.
Jay Gaines is Chief Marketing Officer and Research Fellow at SiriusDecisions. His experience includes team building and leadership, marketing strategy and planning, marketing budget and operations management, demand creation, sales and marketing alignment, business development, product development and management, interactive marketing/advertising, inbound marketing and social media. Follow Jay on Twitter @izjay.