In part one, I provided insight into the why and what of a lead-to-revenue assessment. I challenged marketing and sales leadership involved in 2016 planning to pause and consider conducting the assessment before making any decisions for next year.

If you paused but just aren’t sure where to start, the following will provide some tips on how to move forward.

Your assessment should identify weaknesses and gaps in seven key components of your flow. These include:

  1. Part_2_Callout_Forrester_Research_v2Lead and demand generation: How are we attracting and engaging the target audience in building a consistent flow of prospective buyers?
  2. Data quality: How clean and current is our database of prospective buyers and customers?
  3. Nurturing workflows: Are our workflows based on personas and engagement triggers (email and human) that guide buyers on their journey?
  4. Content creation and usage: Does our content match every stage of the buyer’s journey and answer questions along the way?
  5. Pipeline management: What process do we have in place to ensure every lead is touched and routed to the next stage of the journey?
  6. Marketing and sales technology: Are our systems integrated and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of our lead-to-revenue process?
  7. Measurement and reporting: What are we tracking, measuring, and reporting on to ensure our lead-to-revenue performance is optimized?

In my world, there are four distinct steps in conducting a lead-to-revenue assessment.

Step 1 – Revenue Influencer Feedback

Gather the revenue influencers in your company—CEO, marketing, sales, operations, IT—to gain insight into the way your internal teams work together. Look at existing departmental processes that are in place and determine if there are gaps.

I like to think of the lead-to-revenue process as a river that I’m tubing down. Where is there too much brush or too many rocks? Where does the water level get so low that I have to get out and carry the tube? Where is the water running so fast that I lose control?

I also suggest creating an in-house survey that is sent to marketing, sales, and operations team members to gain their feedback on the current processes and areas for improvement.

Step 2 – Data Gathering

Chances are you have weekly or monthly KPI reporting that measures performance against your goals. For this step, you need to go deeper. Google Analytics remains at the top of system reporting, especially the “users flow” and “behavior flow.” You’ll also want to pull engagement reporting out of your marketing automation platform and CRM.

Part_2_Callout_CSO_Insights_v2Step 3 – Data Analysis

You’ve collected the feedback from revenue influencers and data from your systems. Use it to construct a detailed picture of your current lead-to-revenue strategy, infrastructure, processes, and performance. I like to use specific criteria for each component and then grade my findings against that.

You should also look at lead-to-revenue conversion rates across the flow. This would include a contact to MQL; MQL to sales accepted lead; sales accepted lead to a qualified sales opportunity; qualified sales opportunity to forecasted wins; forecasted to actual win.

Step 4 – Results and Report

You should now have a detailed report with recommendations for areas that need improvement. A tip here: prioritize what needs to be repaired based on impact to your overall performance. I also like to suggest presenting the findings to all revenue influencers—the entire team—for two reasons:

1) As the company’s leadership, you want the folks in the trenches to know that you’ve invested the time and energy in diagnosing and repairing the process to ensure it is giving them an advantage.

2) Chances are you will have new processes and policies that individual team members will need to follow to achieve results. You want them to understand the why behind the change and what it means to your potential buyers.

Taking action on the findings and recommendations of the assessment is what matters. In many cases, issues can be addressed and repaired in just a few weeks by gathering necessary revenue influencers together to build processes that you implement quickly and easily. On average I find it takes 60 to 120 days to repair a lead-to-revenue process following the assessment.