How to set up a lead disposition process
Posted on: May 4, 2022
Reading Time: 6 minutes
Category: B2B sales
How to set up a lead disposition process
Looking at setting up a lead disposition process? Well isn’t this your lucky day!
That’s right, it’s time to roll up your shirt sleeves and prepare to get practical. This post will guide you through how you can set up your own lead disposition process, and what you have to gain from it.
What is lead disposition?
Lead disposition is a set of rules used to optimise your sales funnel. They determine whether a sales qualified lead (SQL) should progress to opportunity status, be disqualified for being low quality, or return to the marketing team for further nurturing.
What does lead disposition deliver?
Lead disposition helps you:
- Avoid conflicting or contaminated customer data
- Enhance your sales performance and improve lead conversion rates
- Strengthen the effectiveness of your marketing
- Saves time and resources for marketing and sales
- Deliver better ROI on your revenue generation
Sounds good? Sure does!
Lead disposition ensures alignment between sales and marketing and is a critical element in optimising your new business generation.
It helps ensure that you focus on the very best leads in your sales funnel. It also provides a constant feedback loop about which sort of leads are good quality, and which are not.
Here’s how lead disposition works
Having submitted a form requesting information, a new lead’s details enter your CRM and an account executive is pinged.
The account exec tries to find out more about their needs and intentions. In this case, let’s assume, they quickly discover that the prospect was actually researching information to complete a blog post for their organisation’s marketing team. (Booo!)
This lead is disposed of so nobody else wastes time on it.
As there is no fit with your ideal buyer personas the lead is deleted from your CRM.
Often, however, it is not the case that a lead can be unambiguously disposed of.
- Many leads may match your customer profile but are not ready to proceed.
- Others may show interest but sit well outside what you see as a typical customer.
The trick is not disposing of the lead immediately but keeping your funnel clean enough by knowing exactly when an ‘almost’ sales opportunity should be jettisoned.
And this is where the rules that you create behind your lead disposition process come into play.
‘Wait, you dispose of qualified leads?’
Are you sitting down? We’ll break this to you gently:
Even your perfect leads also need to be disposed of.
Not deleted entirely from your systems, but cleared as lead records. Convert them into sales opportunities and you can always revert them to leads if needed.
In this way, you can maintain a clean lead queue to focus minds and give an accurate assessment of sales possibilities.
Why you need to get with the programme
A lead disposition programme requires fairly close sales and marketing alignment, but the reward is even closer collaboration.
There must be firm agreement on shared definitions, rules, and data: everyone must work to the same (often automated) processes for effective lead disposition.
Here’s what you can gain:
- Clean data
Lead disposition ensures sales and marketing activities and data match up with your ideal buyer personas.
- Smarter marketing
Marketers rely on a constant source of feedback to deliver ROI on lead generation. The disposition process provides exactly the data required for understanding where to focus spending.
- More deals
By freeing your sales team up to concentrate on the best opportunities, without needing to also address leads who are never going far, allows them to bring in more deals.
How to set up your lead disposition process
1. Agree on your definitions
The following terms must have a clear and quantifiable definition – agreed to by both sales and marketing – that can be assessed using agreed metrics.
Prospect: A prospect is anyone in your CRM that has expressed a basic level of interest in your company.
Marketing qualified leads (MQLs): Prospects whose activity means they are defined as more likely to become customers than others.
Sales qualified leads (SQLs): These are MQLs that have been assessed as being ready to pass over to the sales team to follow up.
Opportunities: These are SQLs who have expressed to the sales team an intention to buy.
2. Agree on your ground rules
Now you need to agree on exactly how sales are going to handle SQLs in the disposition process.
You will need a scoring process to minimise friction and delays in sales accepting SQLs from marketing.
In terms of the disposition itself there are only four possible outcomes for each SQL:
- The SQL is successfully converted to an opportunity as they are ready to buy.
- The SQL is found to be not ready and is reverted to an MQL for further nurturing.
- The SQL is unresponsive and – after an agreed period of time – is returned to marketing for further nurturing.
- The SQL is assessed to be too far off from a real lead to be retained – and is deleted from your sales systems.
3. Sales disposition must-haves
There are certain technologies and workflows that will help make the sales disposition process more effective.
- Automated lead scoring based on defined buyer journeys.
- The ability to deliver nurture programme
- A cross-departmental source of business intelligence that reflects buyer journeys, segmented by customer type
- CRM and marketing systems that can provide a unified, single source of truth
Lead disposition for sales and lead disposition for marketing
Here’s why lead disposition makes sense:
- Your sales team are constantly working on the higher quality leads
- Your marketing team become more attuned to going after higher quality leads, and better nurture those who are not ready.
By making lead disposition part of your sales process, you’ll end up with happier sales teams, better conversion rates, more sales, and a more efficient marketing team.
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