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Relayware Partner Relationship Management

Metrics You Might Miss: the Timing of the Lead Hand-off Process

Posted on April 3, 2014 by Chris Bucholtz

The mayfly is a fascinating creature – its adult lifespan in many species is less than one day. In many ways, your leads are like mayflies: the longer they exist, the closer they are to the end of their useful life. And the end of that useful life comes quickly, especially when you factor in the time it takes for you to collect and qualify that lead and then go through the process of passing it to a partner.

After you pass it, you lose complete control. If the partner doesn’t hop on it quickly, it becomes even older – and soon, it could become a dead end.

Where are leads hitting speed bumps in your processes? Where are they slowed by partner processes? And where can you make changes that improve the velocity of leads?

This used to be a tough question to answer, especially when vendors had no visibility into partner activity. Now, however, PRM applications provide a view into the movement of leads from generation to hand-off to partners and beyond. If you care to take a peek, you can probably find areas where you could make improvements.

There are almost certainly areas where you can improve things – according to studies, 71 percent of leads are never acted on. Those studies included direct sales – the rate is higher in indirect sales.

Especially when leads are generated from inbound marketing, time is of the essence in closing deals. If you can streamline communications between your marketing team, your channel managers and your partners, you can shorten the response time to these leads and boost revenues at very little cost. But first, you need to understand the speed at which you’re moving.

Once you have a baseline, dig deeper. Start by understanding the time between steps of the lead-generation and hand-off process. If you’re using a PRM application, this should be faster than a manual process, of course, but you may be surprised at how much time elapses between lead generation, qualification and hand-off. 

Next, you need to understand how rapidly partners act on the leads they send your way. It does you no good to streamline your lead generation and hand-off process if those leads sit in an in-box for 72 hours before anyone looks at them.

When you see area where leads are sidelined for an undue amount of time because of process, identify the process and change it. You may discover a process where your marketing and channel management teams are misaligned, or where some aspect of hand-off leaves automation and depends on a manual process. You may discover that some partners are simply better at leaping on leads than others – even that information is useful.

Losing sales because you’re not acting quickly enough is a shame in this era of automation – especially when it’s so easy to see where your processes are slowing the lead process.