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Proactive Teleprospecting and Some Thoughts off the Cuff


I've been thinking lately that life is kind of like a series of sales situations, and if you never ask for the sale, you're always going to get a "no."  So, I think that not only in life, but in teleprospecting, we should always strive to be initiators and be proactive.

Qualification’s Value


For any inside rep, it is extremely important to convey all the information that you are provided during your qualification conversation to the Outside Rep receiving the opportunity. This week Jaime, Nicole and I conducted a workshop to help reinforce the listening and note taking skills of our BDRs to strengthen the quality of our leads.  Now, I can't divulge all of our secrets, but I will let you know of some of the key areas that are important to gather during your initial call to help arm your outside rep for their follow up conversation.

How to Keep Your Teleprospecting Team Motivated


So you have a talented teleprospecting team in place.  Your reps all accomplished an extensive training period.  You helped them grow through a magnitude of call training sessions and workshops.   You conveyed your knowledge and "tricks of the trade" to your reps, and they've taken those skills and are cranking on the phones.  As a trainer, job well done, right? Wrong.
The key to a successful teleprospecting team is fostering an encouraging environment.  As part of the training department, it is my belief that our most important job is ensuring that our team is constantly motivated.  Here are three ways to make sure your team is always motivated:

Recognition - Your most cost effective tool can be a simple "pat on the back."  An even better "pat on the back" is one the whole company can see.  Create public recognition such as a company mass email, visible name plaques, or recognize a valued rep during a company wide meeting.

Making the Most of Teleprospecting Lists

In my first video webcast, I spoke about the importance of developing and establishing the value of your product/solution, knowing who your target market/prospect is, as well as investing in a good marketing list prior to moving forward with your next teleprospecting campaign. Building off the importance of a good marketing list, we all know that no matter how hard we try, the prospects are not guaranteed to be the right person within the organization.

There have been many occasions when I am required to follow up on marketing lists which contain prospects with unrelated titles, bad phone numbers or no email address provided. Pending on how you generate your marketing list, be it from whitepaper request or tradeshows, there is little you can do to alter the contact information that is provided.  More often than not I have found that what sparks an individual’s interest is to stay on top of the technology; therefore we need to take what we have to find the right person. Don’t waste your investment; make the most out of it!

We teach our BDR’s the skills needed to be resourceful and make the most out of poor marketing lists. There are a quite a few ways to do so.

0# - 0#'ing is one of the most commonly used tactics at AG Salesworks. Once you have left a voicemail for the prospect who attended your show, 0# to speak with the person who covers that extension. If it is a direct colleague of the prospect, confirm that they are the appropriate person to speak with regarding XYZ topic. If they are not, asked to be referred to the appropriate person. If you are re-routed to the operator, inquire if they know who the appropriate person is regarding your solution, or at least ask to speak with someone else in “John Stiles” department.

Check Duplicates – Having invested many years in building out our use of, AG Salesworks has accumulated a plethora of contacts within different companies. Utilize the knowledge that has been established by previous work and reach out to alternative contacts. Always reference your initial contact to add credibility to your call, but do your best to confirm that the person you are reaching out to is the right person to speak with. – My secret is out! I am in LOVE with! It’s a great site to use to find the contact information for obscurely titled prospects, or to find the contact information within a company that just will not direct you further throughout the organization. Updated regularly by sales reps like you and me, the contact information often includes direct dials and confirmed email addresses – we all know how frustrating it is when the best piece of communication you have (email) is bounced back.

Top Down Approach – One of the best ways to find who is the appropriate person to speak with regarding the management and evaluation of a certain area is to be referred by the C-Level or VP-level prospect. As Craig mentioned in his latest blog, the best way to do this is through simplicity! “I hate to bother you, but would you mind referring me to the person who oversees secure content delivery”? Those high level, extremely busy prospects will appreciate your directness and respect for their time and will most likely refer you to the appropriate person within the organization. When they do refer you, make sure to reference that in your follow up voicemail/email. Anything that can add credibility to your messaging will help you disposition the prospect faster and find more opportunities.

It can be very easy when you have a list of 200 people to move on to the next prospect, but don’t! Utilize the investment you have made and the resources that you have to navigate and find the appropriate person within the organization. There have been enough experiences in my time of cold calling to justify these habits - and you will find them too!

Effective Email Strategy


In today's internet, blackberry, and wireless driven society, the most effective, and in many instances, only way to grab a prospect's attention is via email.
In my previous blog, I discussed the importance of your window of opportunity when you get someone live on the phone.  A cold caller's time is typically 10-15% live communication.  It is just as important to ensure the 85-90% of "non-live" messaging is effective. Today, we are all faced with information overload. In response, we have become experts at being our own personal spam filters - constantly hitting the delete button.  Here is how to separate yourself from the crowd with effective email communication:

Subject Line:  This could be the most important part of your email as it determines if the prospect will even open your message.  DO NOT use spam words or sales and marketing jargon.  A referral is your best friend and should always be present in the subject line.
Make the Connection:  After leaving your voicemail, send your follow-up email within the next 5 mins.  In your voicemail, always refer to your email and visa versa.  Let's face it, we don't have time to free write every email, it is important to avoid any evidence of a template while personalizing your message as much as possible.
Problem and Solution:  Always tie the message to their business needs.  Sometimes, prospects need to be reminded of their day to day headaches. Illustrate an industry pain and how your product/service has helped others to solve them.  As in your live communication, same holds true to email, do not information dump!
It's all Visual:  Keep the message short.  Most likely, they will decide to read it after the first couple sentences.  The prospect must be able to read it at a glance.  Use bullet points and sentence breaks.  Test your email and send it to yourself first.
Always End with an Action Step:  Great, you gave them some info.  Now, tell them to get back to you!  Let them know, if they don't respond, you will reconnect in a couple days.
As always, revamping and refreshing your message is crucial.  In my next blog, I will discuss the importance of refreshing your team's techniques by consistently bringing new ideas to the table.

Setting Objectives to Ensure Goals are Reached

In sales, we all have goals and quotas, correct?  Some are set by our companies and some are set individually.  When we reach our goals, there's a feeling of fulfillment and self accomplishment, along with knowing that we are building a better company.  How many of us set a goal to "get in shape" so we can fit into that old pair of designer jeans we love?  Several months later when we try on those jeans, it feels great when we can easily do up the zipper.  Personal goals, along with business goals, must be specific in nature and accompanied with a specific strategy that details the actions necessary to achieve the goal.  Setting specific business goals provides us with direction and motivation.  Without specific goals we would just be drifting aimlessly along.  We've all had days that we jump from one challenge to another....certainly, not a preferred mode of operation.  Structure gets us back on track.

Here at AG, we achieve our goals by setting the expectations for our business development reps to deliver consistent quality.  The following are just a few suggestions on ways to motivate and reinforce these goals. 

Let's Talk About Dealing With Teleprospecting Lists

Before we can even begin making calls for your campaign, we need to talk about your list. There are occasions where AG will assist in building a targeted list for our clients. We can put together a list containing the right size company based on revenue/employee size as well as the title within the organization that will oversee your solution. Many times, our clients choose to use us to optimize the investment that they have already made in their marketing events, trade shows or inbound inquiries.

One of the toughest struggles when presented with a marketing/trade show list is that not all of the contacts may be the appropriate person to speak with or that the company is outside of our targeted market. Now that does not mean that the list is a total washout. When handed a dilemma, one needs to make "di-lemonade".  If I was asked to describe AG Salesworks' BDR's with two adjectives (and an adverb!), it would be "professionally persistent" and "resourceful". I would like to elaborate a little bit more about the importance of being "resourceful."

Here is your Window of Opportunity - Now What?


Some say being successful in sales is luck.  But as the old adage goes - "Luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity."   Being prepared will make you confident to actively listen for the window of opportunity during each cold call. 

It's All About Your Prospect, Not You (Well, Not Yet..)

I have had a lot of experience cold calling, as I am sure most of you reading this have, too. As we can all gather from the varied topics of previous blogs, there are many components that make up a successful call, from the marketing lists provided to the mindset going into the call. Despite all the background work and prep we put into our calling efforts, the real success of our efforts will come from the messaging. Be it voicemail, email or especially a live conversation, we need to ensure that our messaging is compelling enough to uncover the need and generate the interest for our prospect to want to know more about who we are and what we can do. Craig blogged on "The Value of a 30 Second Intro", and I'd like to take this discussion further and blog about how to make those 30 seconds count!

I've learned from my experience that ‘product dumping' is not always an effective way to generate interest with a prospect. If you are constantly leaving voicemails with all the highlights of your product and how you've set yourself apart within the market, you may be losing the opportunity to generate interest from the prospect. Based from the sales highlights and elevator pitches that you've left the prospect, they are going to assume if they have a need or not without knowing what to look for. The prospect can't find a need unless they have discovered the pain.

The Power of Positive Persistence (It’s all about YOUR attitude!)

Are you an artist or a scientist?   For years now, our lives have revolved around science and art.  Science can always be taught by teachers and learned in books.  By comparison, what we've done here at AG is provide the science and the tools our Business Development Rep's need to succeed, and then show them how to be passionate artists.  Art, in contrast to science, is not as easily "learned"; you cannot always see things the way everyone else does.  The beauty of art is in the eyes of the beholder.  Audibly, artistically speaking then, the ability to differentiate yourself by the way you sound on the phone is one key to teleprospecting success. Think about the last time you "heard" someone smile over the did this make you feel?  Today, did you have a great day, or did YOU make it a great day?   

We have taken the personalities of our unique professional s and mixed it up a bit.  We are all so very different and have so many unusual styles and approaches that make us distinctively exceptional.  I am confident in stating that we are all good at what we do.  One of the reasons that we are as successful as we are is because we want to be.  It's all about attitude and being positively persistent that constantly keeps us working at ways to keep us staying great! People that feel good about what they do are good at what they do. As my colleague Ilona stated, "It's not ‘what' we do, but it's ‘how' we do it!"

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