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Interview: „Lead Management is far too often confused with Lead Generation“.

Expert interview on the topic of "Digital Lead Management in B2B multi-level sales".

Interview guest Philipp von der Brüggen

Philipp von der Brüggen ist Spezialist für B2B Kommunikation. Besonders viel Erfahrung konnte er bei der Kommunikation für und mit komplexen Vertriebsstrukturen sammeln.
Philipp von der Brüggen is a specialist in B2B communication.

Digital lead management in indirect sales is essential

The successful completion of the lead management process often fails because of the sales partner. It is important to closely involve the sales partner in the process and motivate him to become part of lead management. Philipp von der Brüggen knows why lead management together with the sales partner is so essential and how it works.

He is an expert in B2B communication and knows a lot about complex sales structures. At our Lead Management Summit 2017, he and his company leadtributor will be the topic sponsor for the process stage "Lead Management with Sales Partners". We have talked to him before and found out why it is so important to master the discipline "Lead Management Sales".

Lead Management Summit 2017

Mr. von der Brüggen, with your company leadtributor, you are the topic sponsor for the process stage "Lead Management with Sales Partners". What do you bring to Würzburg for the participants of the Lead Management Summit 2017?

One topic is very important to us: lead management is far too often confused with lead generation. We try to sensitize participants to the fact that a lead process has a beginning, but no end. Wir haben unseren Schwerpunkt auf der Einbindung von Vertriebspartnern in diesem Prozess. Wir zeigen, wie man Vertriebspartner so intelligent in den Lead Management-Prozess einbindet, dass ein echter Closed Loop entstehen kann.

Lead management deals with how potential and current customers are managed and developed on a process-supported basis. All areas of the company must be involved in this process.

- Philipp von der Brüggen

Our focus is on the integration of sales partners in this process. We show how to integrate sales partners into the lead management process so intelligently that a true closed loop can be created.

How does successful lead management with sales partners work?

In many companies, the successful conclusion of the lead process fails because of the sales partner. In your eyes, what are the basics for building a trusting and mutually exciting partnership?

It's actually quite simple. The better the lead management, the happier the sales partner is. After all, he is the beneficiary in the form of more and better leads. It remains the same. Sales partners value good leads and want as many of them as they can get. Why is this often not the case? Because lead management sales is a one-way street. Leads are mostly distributed by mail. There is very rarely a well thought out digital process. Lead distribution without an intelligent back channel is completely out of date. Because the overall system cannot learn. The manufacturer produces leads for a big black hole. That's where he keeps pouring them in. The sales partner can't help improve the situation either, because his feedback is neither recorded nor evaluated. The whole thing is intransparent and ineffective, and also not very pleasant for the customer.

After all, if the manufacturer doesn't know what stage of the buying process the customer is in, it can't respond appropriately.

So, the three factors of success in lead management with channel partners are:

Good Leads:

In the past, the same thing was done with sales partners as with in-house sales. They dumped everything they produced in terms of leads, from hot inquiries to trade fair raffle participants or whitepaper downloaders. The in-house sales department complains: "The sales partners just leave the stuff lying around. At best, they still cherry-pick promising contacts. When working with sales partners, the same rule applies as in direct sales: Produce good opportunities (genuine MQLs / Marketing Qualified Leads) in close coordination with the sales partners and digitize or automate the process of distribution and processing. Only in this way can you immediately see when, where and why which leads are not being processed or are being processed too late. This is the only way to keep the reins in your hands and react quickly.

Reasonable distribution:

Create systems that instantly distribute leads based on objective criteria. Objective criteria could include competencies, distance, certifications, or partner level. Far too often, lead allocation is still a sales force power tool that doesn't always comprehensibly represent the best option for the lead. If you automate this, you will also achieve a significant acceleration of lead processing. Because far too often leads are manually distributed to regions, segments, sales managers or partner account managers before they are finally passed on to partners there. An incredible amount of time is often lost and the highly paid sales organization is busy with distribution procedures.

Reward, but also sanction the partners:

Here, too, one success factor is obvious. Partners want to be rewarded. This can also be automated much better in a digital lead management B2B. This goes so far that diligent or successful partners receive more or higher-quality leads. Likewise, partners who don't pick up leads or leave them lying around are penalized. This also needs to be automated so that partners don't "waste" 100 leads without noticing.

Digitalisation in companies

Digitalisation is indispensable in companies and is constantly advancing. Why is it so important to integrate sales channels appropriately?

As we have just discussed, the lead process is a corporate process that encompasses all areas. Mistakenly, lead management is always located only in marketing. Actually, the path of a customer through the entire company must be actively designed and partially automated. From the communication channels of marketing to sales, customer service, etc., if the information does not run in a closed loop, lead management B2B will not work.

What good is it if you are perfectly informed about every click, download or email open, if you develop scoring and ratings from this, but then ultimately the lead gets stuck "data-wise" with sales. What happens then? What is the next meaningful step from the customer's perspective? Without this information, the lead management process stalls.

Here's the scenario:

You are a telecommunications service provider and pass on a promising lead for 100 wireless cards to a sales partner. The sales partner loses the lead in the bidding process to the competitor. Annoying! But if you have this data, then you know that this contract expires in two years and with what arguments you can reopen the battle for the customer in about 18-20 months. Such a contact runs into an automatic replacement program.

These are the digital processes that are becoming central to success. If the data flow is not collected across all areas in such a way that we can develop the customer in the "narrower" sense, competitors will show us how to do it better. Those who do not integrate the sales channels are giving away great potential. It is not for nothing that Bitkom complained in one of its last studies on the subject of lead management that the majority of leads are burned. It even cited a study by the Gartner Group, which said that up to 70 percent of generated leads remain unprocessed in such structures. What incredible potential is there to be tapped, isn't it?

The successful conversion of lead management

What advice would you like to give companies regarding "lead management with sales partners"?

Very simple: Digitize lead management with your partners. Stop manually distributing leads by email, mail, fax, or phone today and replace these processes with a well-designed lead process.

You will be amazed at the insights you gather and how much revenue there is to leverage. For example, our leadtributor has interfaces to CRM and marketing automation platforms. In the best case, your sales partners will be part of your new lead management within a week. The conversion is very quick and easy. And from then on, NO lead will be left lying around, and you will always know what the current state of affairs is, wherever you are.

Thank you very much for the nice conversation, Mr. von der Brüggen!


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