Our job is to find highly qualified sales leads for our customers that will lead to qualified opportunities. Our clients come to us with a need to fill their pipeline and want us to do so as quickly and effectively as possible. One of the first questions usually asked when speaking with potential or brand new customers is what we recommend for a call strategy for the campaign. To be more clear, customers who are either outsourcing or supplementing their teleprospecting efforts to us want to know if calling efforts should be focused on cold calls, follow ups on warm leads from marketing events, or target accounts identified by their own outside sales reps.
In my opinion, the answer to this question is fairly straightforward: calling efforts should be focused on all three areas because the potential of uncovering great leads can come from any of these sources. Sure, there are caveats, like the amount of resources and time you are able to allocate to each, but in general, I think the best route is to mix things up and call into a few different sources at any given time.
Let’s start with the obvious. If your organization has recently returned from a trade show, or has just hosted a webinar that has resulted in warm leads, have your inside sales team start here. (Note: You’d be very surprised to see how many organizations have these leads sitting in their CRM untouched for months. Don’t let them get to this point and make sure you hire the necessary resources to accommodate a prompt follow up!). Not only are your prospects more likely to recognize your company name from the show, but it’s a great way for your team to get their feet wet calling on a product or service they are just learning. Because they are warm leads, prospects have their guard down, and even if they brush callers off by saying they were just going for informational purposes, it’s a great opportunity for your team to have great business conversations regarding their environment and build pipeline for later on down the road. The thing about tradeshow and webinar follow ups is that reps tend to go through these leads and disposition them pretty quickly, so it’s best to have 1-2 other list sources in the queue to eliminate the down time they will have once they’ve burned through the warm stuff.
While warm leads are like Christmas for inside reps, they often run dry quickly as the low hanging fruit rises to the top. As a result, always having a cold call list is key, as your reps’ time should be spent on cold dials as well. The main reason for this is that, while warm leads are great and usually fruitful, they are also being called by every other company that has gotten their hands on the list from the show or webinar. Therefore, prospects are being bombarded with calls, and odds are they are already in the evaluation stage of their project. The chances of passing a lead here are sometimes slim because you are entering the game a bit too late. With cold calls, you are most likely striking up some interest with prospects, and your call may prompt them to have a general interest.
Similar to straight cold calls are cold calls into target accounts identified by outside sales reps. I love the idea of target accounts because it’s an excellent way to establish rapport between inside and outside reps, on top of the benefits of reaching prospects ahead of the game before their initiatives are active as described above. Calling into target accounts is a great way to get buy in from outside reps, and once they see the results and get appointments with key decision makers at the target organizations, the relationship between inside and outside sales reps continues to grow. This will lead to increased motivation all around, impacting bottom line numbers significantly.
There are pros to every different type of calling strategy, which is why I think it is crucial to always have a healthy mix of campaigns to call, whether cold, warm, or target accounts. Aside from the benefits of the different types of prospects found in each list, reps will always have plenty to call. I have seen it happen so many times before where reps are at a standstill, wasting time because they don’t have enough people to call and are waiting for approved lists. That down time significantly affects your pipeline and revenue numbers, so always plan your calling campaigns accordingly!