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The Sales Qualified Lead Factory

One of my professors at Carnegie Mellon was famous for his manufacturing theories.  I just re-read one of Eli Goldratt’s books, the Goal.  It talks about how to optimize a factory for maximum throughput with minimum investment. 

This got me thinking about your lead generation factory.  For most engineering marketers, the goal is to maximize the dollar value of sales that are generated by the sales team.  To do that you need to deliver a reasonably steady flow of highly qualified engineering leads. 

Unfortunately, you have statistical variances and you have dependency.  Bear with me for a moment. 

Statistical Variances

By statistical variances I mean that leads don’t come in smoothly over the course of a year.  They come in waves, so some might sit in marketing a while waiting to get processed. 

To address that problem, factories schedule orders and lead times around the capacity of the slowest equipment on the floor – their bottlenecks.  Marketers can’t slow down the flow of contact information from say, a webinar, but they can run lead generation campaigns that create a steady and manageable flow rather than waves of contacts.  Things like hosting white papers or pre-recorded webinars on publisher sites are good examples of steady flow campaigns.


By dependency I mean that contacts can’t skip steps and go straight to sales.  Instead, the sales-ready qualified leads are dependent on marketing processes.  Sometimes, by the time they get to sales they have lost value.  This is highly analogous to a factory.

To solve that problem, factories have processes to identify bottlenecks and orders that have to be expedited.  Similarly, marketers often need a system to identify hot leads from their lead generation marketing efforts and expedite them through the bottlenecks, even if it takes longer to process those leads than it would if you treated them all the same.  The benefit of spending extra time is that you can qualify leads while they are hot, rather than later, when they are not. 

We are working with many of our clients to build lead capture and transmission directly from into their marketing automation tools.  Shoot me or Adrian Nash a note if you want to explore this concept.

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