Tag Archives: teleprospecting

Marketing+Sales=Better Lead Prospecting

Marketing calls it lead generation, sales calls it prospecting.  If we call it “lead prospecting” and I promise that you can do a better job,can we agree to work together?

Because I have no doubt that combining the strengths of the two teams will:

  1. Drive more leads into the revenue funnel
  2. Improve the quality of those leads
  3. Shorten the sales cycle  ……and what more could you possibly want?

So with that in mind,  here are 5 ways for sales and marketing to work together to create a telephone prospecting system.  But first, why the phone?

  • Because it’s the best way to gain account specific answers
  • Because when sales reps need leads they don’t initiate SEO, PPC or advertising campaigns. They don’t design complex autoresponders or build landing pages and webforms. That’s what marketing does. Sales reps pick up the phone. That’s where marketing can lend a few strengths and help them get better results. Everybody wins.

How Can Marketing Help Sales Increase Teleprospecting Success

Build, Update and Clean Data  — What is your ideal customer profile?  What are the MINIMUM number of accurate and updated fields you need to build into your database to direct future lead prospecting.  If exact industry, revenue or number of employees is genuinely relevant commit to having that data accurately included. Just don’t ask the sales team to update that kind of information.  It is however to everyone’s benefit if sales is empowered and required to flag missing critical data.

Record, Measure and Learn from your Metrics –When you engage in any dialogue with a company it will either move a potential sale forward, push it to the future, disqualify it, or worst of all – tell you nothing. To avoid that terrible “tell nothing ” result,  arm your sales team (via the CRM or however you work)  with an “if all else fails” list.  They might just be simple closed end qualifying questions to round out your data when a conversation goes south.  Given that even with your best efforts, it’s likely that your database will have gaps, filling them will  build a clearer picture of who your best prospects really are and how they might be changing over time.  Track the results of every call, match it to you profiles and use that information to fine tune your future targeting.

Bury the Elevator Speech! –Too many sales people use the elevator speech “Who we are and what we do”  as the basis of their messaging and it is an utter waste of a precious opportunity.  This is where marketing can offer the most valuable help – give your reps value based messaging to leave.  Create a sequence of messages, voicemails with their email follow ups that talk about your value proposition and will gradually, by virtue of repetition, build some awareness of the problems you can solve and interest in talking with your company.  The hardest part of this step is to gain the support of the sales management, because many of the reps will resist accepting alternative messages.

Never Give Up  — I know of a company that literally makes millions of calls a year to engage and qualify prospects on behalf of many different B2B vendors.  Their average number of dials to make a live connection is 22 calls.  Most sales people still give up after 3 attempts.  What sales needs are calling campaigns not individual one-off attempts.  Without the structure of a planned, consistent campaign you will never make enough calls.  Marketing plans campaigns much better than sales teams can.  This is probably the single biggest reason that many companies have moved teleprospecting totally out of the sales group, but that hasn’t happened everywhere yet.

Open the Door to Your Nurtured Lists –Some companies have structured outbound sales calling but far more have sales teams who would rather not be making these dreaded calls, but have to because they simply don’t have enough qualified (or not)  leads to follow-up with.  When your sales team is doing their own prospecting calls, be sure that they have a view of the leads that are in your lead nurturing program and a free hand to call into that list at their discretion.

Some marketing teams will resist the idea of letting sales reps call leads being nurtured on the grounds that they are pulling them along a carefully designed path and a ham handed sales rep could make a mess of all their hard work.  It’s true. It can happen, but in the spirit of two teams genuinely working together to improve their results, it needs to happen.  If you need the sales team to trust you enough to take ownership of your messaging, the trust will have to move both ways.

 

 

 

Get on the Phone

Are you frustrated that you don’t ever seem to hear your sales reps on the phone?

You are not alone.

Get on the Phone by John Barrows

10 More Reasons to Change the Way Sales Tele-Prospects

I feel like a Traitor. After 20+ years in sales, believing that a rep who couldn’t do their own teleprospecting was a useless as tits on a bull, I’ve recently been forced to concede that for B2B, in this day and age, teleprospecting might be better managed by marketing.

This blog recently ran a post that linked to an article on the subject by David Green and to that earlier post I’d like to add these points.

Ten More reasons why marketing should manage teleprospecting:

  1. Above anything else, in sales we are judged against the question “Did you hit your quota?”.  Nothing else is as important and therefore, we must always prioritize those actions closest to that quota meeting close.  Tele prospecting is too far from the money and will never be a priority.
  2. Many companies encourage competition among their reps. So tell me why, if I want to be the one to “win”, I’m going to share my best prospecting ideas and approaches with my colleagues/competition?
  3. Some reps are lousy prospectors, but might just be terrific in other areas. Don’t restrict sales achievements to the lowest common performance denominator.  If everyone in your company could do what they’re great at, do you think it would change your results?
  4. Low connection and returned call rates make one-off smiling and dialing inefficient. Sales people though, either by training or inclination, are rarely equipped or willing to create and manage a campaign approach with larger numbers.  But, this is marketing’s bread and butter.
  5. Spoiler Alert! Sales reps cherry pick!  We evaluate a new contact opportunity based on our past experience and place restrictions on what calls are or are not worth our time. Prejudging an opportunity leaves thousands of dollars of potential sales un-prospected.
  6. When quota deadlines loom, prospecting calls are only made out of desperation. Those contacts are often pushed prematurely towards a close.  It’s a great way to kill sales.
  7. Most potential prospects are not “open” to conversations 12 months of the year.  There are windows of opportunity if you want to engage them.  When prospecting is not executed consistently, year round, these opportunities are lost until next year.
  8. Prospecting can uncover many different opportunities, but if your sales team is specialized it’s entirely possible that even when conversations are engaged, opportunities will be ignored.  To put it simplistically, if I’m only selling a copier (or software upgrade)  and you turn out to be a potential laptop prospect, many reps will not take the time to either collect the relevant information or pass the name to another rep. Some do, but don’t bet the bank on it.
  9. With longer buying cycles and more influencers involved in the decision, many sales take more time and work to close than before. Your reps are already managing a bigger workload, potentially to turn the same revenue.  Somethings got to give. Guess what it will be.
  10. Finally, have you noticed that almost every job is more specialized than it used to be?  The marketing person who used to do everything has been funnelled into areas that are increasingly specialized.  So, why do your sales reps still need to manage the entire process?  Don’t forget a Jack of all trades is a Master of none.

 

Should Sales Stop Teleprospecting? YES!

Sales will be much better off when they get teleprospecting help from Marketing.

Marketing needs to drive higher quality leads and nothing improves lead quality like a telephone conversation. Sales needs to use outbound calling more effectively and nothing warms up that first live connection like a contact who knows who you are and already recognizes that you have good value to offer.

My first sales job actually involved a desk, a phone, a mirror and a telephone book and I did all my own prospecting. Since then, I’ve never stopped believing that a sales person who can’t prospect on the phone isn’t worth the chair they’re sitting in.  I’ve also been irritated anytime I read that teleprospecting should be handed over to marketing.

I admit it.  I’m a dinosaur.  Worse, I have been a closed-minded dinosaur ( the worst kind)  but now I finally see that for a myriad a reasons, outbound calling is something that both sales and marketing need to work on together.

Marketing can put campaigns and systems into place to help warm up contacts before sales invests the time into a live connection (because they’re hard to make) and I’ve found through personal experience that when the contact has even a hint that I might have something useful to offer before we actually connect, performance ratios improve dramatically.

Here’s the article by David Green in the B2B Lead Blog, which made me finally see how the two groups are stronger together.