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Ideas to Incentivize Lead Follow-up by Sales

It’s 9 a.m. Monday morning. Do you know what’s happening with your leads?

Incentivize for lead follow-upYour ultimate goal is to use the information gleaned from lead follow-up results to determine which lead generation sources or lead nurturing approaches are resulting in the most closed sales and revenue for your salespeople. B2B Magazine Blog Post of the WeekThe only way to know is to learn what happened to the leads you passed on to your sales team or channel partners.

First off, please understand that if you are supplying your salespeople with truly qualified, sales-ready leads, they will follow up.   If they see the sales leads you send them as opportunities to close sales and make their quotas and earn their commissions and bonuses, they jump right on the leads.

However, even if your salespeople, reps, dealers or distributors are following up, it is sometimes a challenge to get them to report back on what happened to the lead.

Instead of requiring sales to do extra paperwork, the best way to determine what happened to the leads is to query the CRM system that the salespeople use and see for yourself if the leads were followed up and what the sales results were. 

Of course this requires that your company have a CRM system which its salespeople use to manage their opportunities and customers. And you also must enter the leads into the CRM system in the first place.

Unfortunately, when you sell through channel partners such as independent reps, distributors and resellers,  the option to leverage a CRM system usually isn’t available. So here are some additional ideas to encourage lead follow-up and reporting back on follow-up activity and results from your companies channel partners.

A “mystery lead” program

Follow-up the mystery lead, get an incentive!  Randomly select a lead in every sales territory each month and designate it as the “mystery lead.”  Then tell sales that if they report back on that specific lead they earn a prize or incentive.

What’s hot right now for incentives?

Common incentives are gift cards or pre-loaded credit cards, a night at a resort hotel, dinner at a top restaurant, or the latest electronic gadget. You can get creative and have fun with it too. One of my clients gives away a free house cleaning or a car detailing.

The value of the incentive is dependent on how much you are willing to spend to close the loop on lead follow-up. It also depends on the value your salespeople put on the time required to do the necessary paperwork, and how many potential winners there may be. 

I recommend that every salesperson have a chance to win for a lead followed up in their territory every month, rather than pulling only one salesperson’s name out of a pool of potential winners. 

Points for follow-up program

Your salespeople, reps, dealers or distributors earn a certain number of points for every lead they report back on.  You can give additional points for ongoing status reports and bonus points for reports on leads that resulted in closed sales. Then these points can be redeemed for merchandise such as logo-wear, desk accessories, iPods, digital picture frmaes or even laptops or a smart phones.   One client even includes housecleaning services and car detailing in the list of things their resellers can choose from.

Tie lead follow reporting to the size of their paycheck.

This approach works well for some companies. If they report back on the lead before the sale closes, closing the loop, they get a higher commission on that sale (the carrot).  Or if they don’t report back on 80% of the leads they were given within a 90 day period, they don’t qualify for their quarterly bonus (the stick).

So whether you do it yourself by querying the CRM system,  or use a carrot or stick approach to getting feedback on lead follow-up results from the folks in sales, you can get more of the information you need to determine how best to target your lead generation investments and resources for the maximum bang for your buck.


Very valuable, very original post. I’ve forwarded it to a client and will report back if they implement a mystery lead program.


[…] 2008 B2B lead generation , b2b marketing , b2b sales Mac McIntosh recently posted about how implementing a mystery lead program can improve follow up by […]


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