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Managing Recycled Demand

July 27, 2017

Best-in-class lead management requires effective recycling of inactive leads

B-to-b organizations have many opportunities to recycle leads that are no longer being worked and are not in an active stage of the Demand Waterfall®. SiriusDecisions benchmark data shows that between 8 and 15 percent of leads that reach the automation qualified lead (AQL) stage subsequently reach the pipeline as sales qualified leads (SQLs), leaving many other leads that can be recycled to improve the return on marketing investment. In this issue of SiriusPerspectives, we discuss considerations, processes and dependencies for managing recycled demand.

Recycled Demand Management Considerations

Four primary triggers cause leads to exit an active demand cycle and become candidates for re-engagement:

  • Disqualification. Disqualified leads are typically teleprospecting accepted leads (TALs) or sales accepted leads (SALs) that have been removed from the current demand cycle due to a change or failure to meet qualification criteria.
  • Audiences. The user roles the report is intended to serve, plus a detailed list of the individuals who receive it or have access to it. These are the people whom launch communications must reach.
  • Rejection. Rejected leads are AQLs or teleprospecting qualified leads (TQLs) that do not meet lead-level criteria as documented in the service-level agreement (SLA).</emrejection.<>
  • Expiration. The exit of expired leads from the current demand cycle is triggered by the system configuration and managed by the SLA.
  • Close. Closed opportunities are leads that have reached the conclusion of the active demand cycle, resulting in a closed/won or closed/lost outcome.

As part of maintaining a healthy Demand Waterfall, SiriusDecisions recommends implementing recycled demand management processes. The goal of recycled demand management is to drive re-engagement with leads that have exited an active buying cycle. Re-engaged demand is represented by an active stage of the Demand Waterfall and provides insight into an active or potential buying cycle. Demand marketers should leverage the following data elements to manage recycled demand:

  • Status. The status should reflect the lead’s Demand Waterfall exit reason with its associated reason code until the new demand cycle begins. For example, the status of a disqualified lead should be “disqualified” until the start of the new demand cycle, then updated to “inquiry–re-engaged.”
  • Demand Waterfall stage. When a lead exits a demand cycle, the Demand Waterfall stage should be reset to “prospect.” Upon re-engagement, update the Demand Waterfall stage to reflect new progression through the Demand Waterfall as part of the current active demand cycle.
  • Demand Waterfall stage time stamps. Document the lead’s arrival and departure dates across Demand Waterfall stages. The “engine” view aggregates lead behavior, counting the total number of arrivals in each Demand Waterfall stage for a defined group of leads during a defined time period. This analysis provides the baseline for determining conversion and velocity metrics used for performance management, diagnostics, forecasting and planning. Apply time stamps for new demand cycles following re-engagement.
  • Most recent demand source. This element reflects the current source of the active demand cycle, and should be updated when a new demand cycle is initiated and a lead re-enters the Demand Waterfall.
  • Score. Multiple options exist for adjusting a lead scoring strategy to address recycled lead management.

Recycled Demand Management Processes

Processes for systematically managing recycled demand can be applied to each of the four scenarios responsible for concluding an active demand cycle. Effective recycling depends on knowing why a lead has exited an active demand cycle. For example, if a lead’s status has changed to “disqualify,” the disqualification reason establishes the recycling scenario and is used to initiate the next action, support segmentation and drive performance measurement.

Continuing with the example, if a sales rep disqualifies an SAL after discovering the lead’s budget has been deferred, the rep updates the status to “disqualify” and enters the reason code for “budget.” An active recycled nurture program later re-engages the lead and drives new responses that trigger re-entry into a new active buying cycle (demand cycle).

Recycled Demand Management Dependencies

When implementing recycled demand management processes, demand marketers must not overlook dependencies related to lead management foundations, including:

  • Defined lead management responsibilities. Lead development reps (e.g. teleprospecting) and field sales reps must have a clear understanding of disposition rules and process, as they have a direct impact on the lead flow and data captured to drive subsequent actions.
  • Qualification criteria. Marketing and sales resources must define and understand specific qualification criteria by Demand Waterfall stage. Criteria can be defined in terms of explicit, propensity-to-buy and behavioral attributes.
  • Service levels. SLAs define the appropriate actions, measurements and governance for each lead handoff, including the specific actions each team should take within a defined timeframe (e.g. the lead development team will attempt to reach a prospect five times within a 10-day period).

The Sirius Decision

Recycled demand management depends on the establishment of lead management processes and collaboration between marketing and sales. Train all team members comprehensively and communicate with them consistently to ensure understanding of business and operational processes. Effective recycled demand management helps organizations optimize their demand creation investments and maintain productive lead management.