For the most part, my experience has been in the design and implementation of Teleprospecting organizations for companies that sell complex technology solutions. During my years as a consultant and employee, I have developed a set of Best Practices that enable Teleprospecting teams to successfully drive Sales Funnel growth. Essentially, there are 6 Teleprospecting Best Practices that I have found to be the most effective:
- Marketing and Sales should be focused on the Sales Funnel. The Sales Funnel is King! Marketing and Sales should both be responsible for building a quality Sales Funnel. These two departments need to work together and agree on the lead qualification criteria and other key metrics that will ensure that a quality Sales Funnel is being built and is consistently growing. Both teams should be responsible for the quality of sales qualified leads (SQLs) since they are the source of a healthy Sales Funnel that produces revenue growth. Therefore, the implementation of a process for tracking the quality of SQLs is a key factor to the growth of the Sales Funnel.
- Hire experienced staff. In most cases, the Teleprospecting team is the first contact that prospects will have with your company. It is therefore counter-intuitive to put your most junior people on the front lines. They have neither the experience to navigate the complexities of a complex solution nor the ability to speak with Senior Level Executives. Furthermore, since Teleprospecting has been around for nearly 30 years, “Seniors” are readily available. Hire experienced people and you won’t regret it.
- Focus Teleprospectors on one solution. You can’t expect your teams, Juniors or Seniors, to be effective if they have to learn and sell multiple Complex Solutions. From my experience, Teleprospectors are more successful when they are focused on qualifying for a specific solution. If your company sells multiple solutions, divvy out responsibilities and focus each person on a specific solution. This focus enables team members to become experts at qualifying for the specific solution and will result in better leads for your sales teams.
- Develop and implement Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), or metrics, to manage your team. Effective KPIs can include metrics such as:
- Total Key Conversations with prospects who can move the sales process forward
- Size of the Teleprospecting Funnel, which should be at least 3X your monthly SQL quota
- Achievement of the monthly SQL quota
Effective KPIs are the metrics that directly impact your ability to meet your stated objectives. Total daily dials are important because dials lead to conversations. Key Conversations are more important than dials, because they help to generate the Teleprospectors’ Funnel growth. Know your KPIs and weigh them based on priority of importance (Key Conversations are more important than Dials). Once the KPIs are established, have the team build plans, outlining how they will achieve their assigned objectives.
- Develop a Teleprospecting Playbook. A Teleprospecting Playbook is a set of tools that Teleprospectors will use to guide them through the complexities of qualifying for prospect need and interest. The playbook should be written and assembled by people with sufficient knowledge, such as experts from Product Marketing, Marketing, and Sales. It will serve as a consistent source for your Teleprospectors to maintain professionalism while also increasing efficiency.
- Build compensation plans that drive desired behavior. Good compensation plans motivate Teleprospectors to excel at their jobs. The role of Teleprospecting is to generate leads that build the Sales Funnel. A good plan will compensate Teleprospectors for meeting a pre-established “approved” lead quota, as well as provide compensation for leads that go into the Sales Funnel. While Teleprospectors aren’t responsible for closing deals, they are responsible for generating quality leads that build a Sales Funnel. Deals that close generate revenue and these deals come from quality leads, therefore Teleprospectors should receive some compensation for their leads that close. When Teleprospectors are paid for the process from the beginning (leads) to the end (closed deals), the quality of leads becomes very important and motivates them to consistently generate viable leads.
Companies that have asked me to turn-around their Teleprospecting teams had initially set up Teleprospecting as an after-thought. None of the companies had these Teleprospecting Best Practices in place. Then, in each of the turn-around situations I implemented these best practices and saw not only the Sales Funnel grow dramatically, but also significant revenue increase.