Using lead management and GTD processes to to get better results from your sales process. Learn to focus and discipline your sales management to contact more and have more opportunities to close deals.
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Get My Next Lead 1
Getting the Sales Process Right 4
Building a Sales Management System 4
Finding Focus, Or Removing Distraction 5
Sales Teams are Easily Unfocused 5
Removing Distractions 5
Get My Next Lead Start with Focus 6
Efficiently Following Up and Following Through 7
The Myth of One‐Call Closes 7
Following Up Increases Your Chances 7
Sustaining Pressure on Your Sales Pipeline 7
Collecting, Processing, and Organizing 8
Collecting Sales Leads 8
Processing Sales Leads 9
Organizing Sales Leads 9
Removing Anxiety from Sales 10
About the author 11
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I was once told that start‐ups often start out of an entrepreneurs desire to “scratch an itch.” The best ideas often emerging
from friction‐‐processes and gaps that impend goals. Kaleidico was no different.
Getting the Sales Process Right
Between 2000 and 2004 I was an executive at an Internet‐only bank start‐up. We hit a home run with automating the
origination of home equity lines of credit on the Internet, with zero loan officers on staff. And when I say home run I mean over
$1.2 billion annually.
Did I mention we had zero sales people?
Right about now you are probably wondering: What does this story have to do with sales? And with that opening line what
could you possibly know about sales? Well let me tell you…
Back then we were taking Internet leads and converting them consistently at 33% or better. For those of you not familiar with
Internet leads, most are pleased with 3%.
What was the secret? We were there when they were ready.
Building a Sales Management System
This is the background that started my “itch.” Somewhere around 2003 we decided we wanted to make that Internet bank
even bigger. Unfortunately, banking regulators and Wall Street investors limited the spectrum of lending we could do totally
online. This forced us to add sales people.
We needed a system to manage the leads, coming from the Internet and distributed to the sales force. Train wreck!
Leads touched (or so we assumed) by the sales force converted at nearly 0%.
Arguably in any failure there are lots of reasons, but the one that became my “itch to scratch” was the failure of CRM.
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Finding Focus, Or Removing Distraction
Maybe it is my affinity for the “Getting Things Done” (GTD) philosophy or just my pursuit of efficiency that drove me crazy. My
sales force was just sitting there, staring aimlessly…”What the Hell are they doing?”
Sales Teams are Easily Unfocused
That was my first reaction when I started managing sales teams. Now I have seen blank stares before—I ran software
engineering teams for years. But, these sales people didn’t lack goals, benchmarks, and measurements like so many teams I
had inherited in the past. Sales are always quota driven. You know what the requirements.
Back to my original question: “What the Hell are they doing?”
The sales world lacks focus and is full of distraction. We all know it is a game of large numbers. Unfortunately, few of us learn
to manage those large numbers to get steady results. Instead the large numbers—our sales pipeline—paralyzes us.
• We stare and ponder what to work on next
• We become anxious about our looming pipeline
• We freeze trying to determine our next action
• We loose confidence because we’re not selling
• We make fewer sales calls and close less deals
You would think computer screens and call sheets full of names and phone numbers would boost sales—quite the opposite.
The hard part is of course removing the distractions. It is a delicate balance between having lots of opportunities to work on,
yet not being overwhelmed.
This is the real magic I uncovered when I created the Get My Next Lead system of sales management. And it sort of stemmed
from a very simple concept David Allen opens with in his classic productivity manifesto, “Getting Things Done” (GTD).
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“It’s possible for a person to have an overwhelming number of things to do and still function productively with a clear head
and a positive sense of relaxed control.”
Bingo! That was the answer. I needed to design a system, like Allen’s that allowed sales people to clear the distractions. And
like GTD, it also had to guarantee that no lead would ever be lost or neglected.
Get My Next Lead was born.
Get My Next Lead Start with Focus
Focusing on one lead at a time and neatly filling away all of the other leads seemed an obvious approach. But, no one else did
this then or now. It really is ludicrous.
Imagine trying to get something done with several other projects scattered and intermingled on your desk. This is the
approach of most customer relationship management systems (CRM), the primary software tool of sales.
I have not seen a single sales management system that is distinguishable from a spreadsheet. The primary working screen is
always a big tabular sheet full of names and phone numbers. You might as well use Microsoft Excel and save time and expense.
But, that won’t solve the sales performance problem.
The problem with that view is that you are overwhelming the sales person with a decision. A decision that has been proven to
be of little importance in overall sales performance but creates the most anxiety and apprehension—“which lead do I call?”
Get My Next Lead gives the sales person only one choice, the next lead—focus!
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Efficiently Following Up and Following Through
Problem number one solved. No more staring at the screen wondering what to do next. Now that you have achieved focus, we
need to ensure that we also have the necessary intensity.
The Myth of One‐Call Closes
One call closes are part of sales mythology. It only happens on television and in high‐prices sales seminars. The reality is that
the average consumer approaches every sale with skepticism. Even the apparent one‐call closes, like those that seem to
happen on a car lot, aren’t.
The reality of sales is that consumers will go through the time tested AIDA buying life cycle—Attention, Interest, Desire, and
Action. How fast it will take any particular decision maker to transition this cycle is the unknown variable that makes sales so
Following Up Increases Your Chances
Here is another secret of sales success. There is only way to improve your conversion rate. It is simply to increase the
likelihood you are there as the consumer moves through the AIDA lifecycle.
This means follow‐up and follow‐through. The sales profession is full of rejection. For all but the best, and thickest‐skinned
each of these rejections tears down confidence. As this confidence is tried the first thing that weakens in your sales process is
follow‐up. Which means you won’t be there when consumers in your sales pipeline start to move.
Sustaining Pressure on Your Sales Pipeline
The Get My Next Lead sales process maintains the necessary intensity on your sales pipeline. Sustaining pressure on a sales
pipeline means literally pounding through contacts to ensure each is touch regularly. This is what ensures you are there when
the consumer moves towards a buying decision. It also reassures your customer that you will be there when they are ready for
Efficiently following up and following through means doing the hard work to routinely touch each customer, while not being
slowed or concerned by the brush‐offs in between successes.
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Collecting, Processing, and Organizing
With the philosophy understood—intense focus and diligent follow‐up—it is time to figure out the mechanics that will feed
the workflow. Many sales processes break down before they even get started.
Pause for a moment. Take a look around your desk. How many sales leads do you have outside of your lead management
system—business cards, sticky notes, scribbles on legal pads, or printed‐out spreadsheets? These leads are all at risk.
Collecting Sales Leads
Simply improving your lead capture process alone is probably going increase your sales numbers this month. Having your
leads scattered about means they are not in your work queue and will not be a part of your regular workflow. Therefore, the
chances of you calling or contacting once are low, and the chances of a follow‐up contact is zero. Result: disappointed customer
and missed sales goals.
Right now determine where you are going to work your sales leads. This could be your email, address book, index cards, or
lead management system. I am not going to tell you which to pick at this stage—any centralized process is going to give you a
performance increase—although you should mature this process to lead management software for top performance.
Take the next hour and collect all those stray leads and get them into one place.
This collection process solves you immediate problem, but for long‐term success you need to inventory all your sales lead
sources. This inventory will help you to evaluate and build processes to streamline universal lead capture.
If you have a website, automate the flow of customer inquiries directly into your lead management software. If you capture
leads via print media or outdoor advertising (i.e., billboards) use custom phone numbers or websites to capture inquiries. If
you are an active conference or tradeshow marketer then invest in a business card scanner.
All marketing channels should have a process for quickly and efficiently depositing those fresh leads into your sales funnel—
your lead management system.
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Processing Sales Leads
Gathered and queued up, your sales leads are ready for some attention. Processing sales leads for future success is critical.
Like I mentioned earlier, one‐call closings are mythical anomalies. That means you need to condition your sales pipeline for
Preparing your pipeline to improve long‐term performance of sales leads is the premise behind Get My Next Lead processing.
Every time a lead is touched it is altered. Keeping a disciplined and discreet tracking of each of these touches generates very
valuable analytics and allows for more sophisticated sales automation.
Using very simple processing statuses like assigned, attempted, contacted, applied, withdrawn, and closed you can create very
dynamic automated lead processing and prioritization. Here are some examples I have seen work effectively:
• Sending out initial emails, upon lead capture
• Redistributing unresponsive leads to an alternate agent
• Entering fall‐out leads into a remarketing campaign
• Creating client loyalty and referral campaigns on closed leads
The list of clever marketing and sales campaigns that can be built from processing status is endless. What’s more, most of
these campaigns can be automated as well as started and stopped based on processing statuses.
This is one of the big advantages of using a Get My Next Lead style of sales management. By working and annotating the status
of one lead at a time you are putting your sales pipeline in motion.
Organizing Sales Leads
Processing sales leads can make organizing those sales leads much easier. Adding a status each time you process or touch a
lead provides a built‐in key for prioritization.
How do you want to manage your sales process?
• First In, Last Out (FILO)
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• Last Out, First In (LIFO)
• Email re‐marketing for old leads
• Rapid calling on new leads
• 1, 2, 6, 14, 30, 60, 90, 120 day tickler calls
• Special occasions direct mail marketing
Are you seeing to opportunity? Once you are processing and adding status annotation to your leads, marketing and sales
becomes very flexible.
This way of organizing your leads, in a sophisticated lead management system, can also allow you to quickly identify strengths
and weaknesses in your sales process.
Removing Anxiety from Sales
Ultimately the Get My Next Lead philosophy of sales management takes the anxiety out of sales. No more blank stares of
intimidated and overwhelmed sales agents. No more wasted time wonder what to tackle next. And no more miscellaneous
projects and tasks that help sales avoid selling.
Get My Next Lead emphasis focus and intensity—adding contacts and closings to your sales performance reports.
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About the author
Bill Rice is the CEO of Kaleidico and a thought leader in sales lead management and online lead generation. Kaleidico provides
software and services that help companies increase their online lead generation capabilities and accelerate their sales cycle.
Prior to founding Kaleidico, Bill has been a serial entrepreneur as an executive at Quicken Loans leading national home equity,
helped start‐up and ultimately sell (private equity firm LightYear Capital) DeepGreen Bank, a part of the Motorola spin‐out
Iridium, as well as several other early leadership positions with TASC (federal/government consulting firm) and in the US Air
Bill earned his MBA at the University of Phoenix and an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the United States Air
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