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Sales Prospecting Perspectives

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Why Cold Calling is both an Art and a Science


"Make more calls and you will uncover more leads".  That is a common approach to take when tackling lead generation through cold calling.  There was a time when we had our reps make "X" number of calls per day and we decided that if we increased their call number by 28% per day we would pass over more leads to our clients.  It backfired.  We not only saw a decline in passed leads, we also saw a negative impact on morale.  After a few months we readjusted our number to approximately 15% more of the original number of calls per day and that seems to be the magic number.  It pushes our reps to make a solid amount of call activities per day while still giving them enough time to do research, make changes to their messaging, talk to our clients, and get a cup of coffee.

Keep These in Mind When Hiring Teleprospectors


I have been asked, several times, about the type of individuals I look for when hiring telesales reps. Many assume that, due to the nature of the job, we must have a revolving door of employees - this couldn't be further from the truth. 

Who do Your Teleprospectors Call?


One of the most important items that needs to be addressed when building an inside sales team, or outsourcing this function, is who your reps are going to call.  We have talked before about how crucial it is to have a quality list of prospects for your telesales team to go after.  There is another piece of this that is just as important - how long should your telesales team focus on a single campaign before moving on?  If you have a marketing department that runs numerous campaigns throughout the year it is important to make sure these leads are getting followed-up on in a timely fashion. However, you want to make sure you have the right team structure in place to support all of these call-downs. 

Want to Fail at Telesales?


I can't stand most telesales reps. I cringe when I pick up the phone only to hear a teleprospecting rep jump into a 5-minute spiel on the benefits of whatever product/service they are providing.   I respect that they are trying to do their job, and I always give them a few seconds to catch my interest (mostly because of the industry I am in) but 9 times out of 10 I am itching to get off the phone after 10 seconds.

Decreasing Teleprospecting "No Shows"


Nobody likes to be stood up.  You make plans and carve out time in your busy schedule only to have the person you are meeting either cancel or not show up all together.  It's a real let down.   The same is true for prospects that don't show up for the meeting or conference call that your teleprospecting team has set up for your sales reps.
One of the biggest frustrations that my BDR team faces is getting feedback from one of our clients saying that a prospect that we have fully qualified, and set up for a conference call, blew them off.  The BDR is frustrated because they felt the opportunity was a strong one, and the sales rep is frustrated because they set aside time to speak to a prospect that ended up being a "no-show".  While there are certainly times when unforeseen events pull a prospect away from being able to take a call, there are some strategies you can implement to cut down on your prospect "no-show" percentage.

First off, I always encourage my BDRs to try and schedule follow-up appointments within one week of their initial conversation with a prospect.  The further out an appointment is scheduled, the more likely the prospect will not show up.  You want the prospect to recall exactly what your company does and what prompted them to agree to a call in the first place.  If an appointment has to be scheduled further out then a week due to travel plans, meetings, etc., my suggestion is to call and email the prospect two days before the set call to confirm the appointment.  Another thing that helps to cut down on the percentage of no-shows is to send out a calendar invite immediately after getting off the phone with a prospect.  This gets it on their calendar and you can track when and if they accept the invite.  I have my BDRs monitor and track when a prospect (and the sales rep that will be fielding the call) accepts the invitation for the meeting.  Once it gets accepted they track that in our CRM system.  If it does not get accepted they will reach out to the prospect a couple of days later confirming the call and making sure that the time and date still work.  Getting other individuals that will be part of the decision making process involved in the initial call is also a way to ensure that the meeting takes place.
If the unfortunate does happen and a prospect doesn't show up for the call, I make sure that my BDRs begin calling back in immediately to get it rescheduled.  As I mentioned earlier, there will always be a prospect here and there that misses a call - the key is to make sure that your "no-show" percentage stays within 10%.  If you are noticing a higher "no-show" percentage, I would look at how truly qualified the prospect was to begin with (were they just saying yes to a call to get you off the phone?) and whether the appointments are being scheduled as soon after the initial conversation as possible.

What other strategies have you found to be helpful in cutting down on the percentage of time prospects miss scheduled calls?

What Helps a Teleprospecting Project Launch Successfully?


When ramping up a teleprospecting campaign for a new client one of the questions I'm often asked is, "what can potentially hinder the success of this project?" While there are certainly several things that can get in the way of a successful lead generation campaign, the one that I feel is most important to talk about is data management - more specifically - the quality of the lists that a BDR is going to be calling on, how these lists are scrubbed, and how the information that is gathered during our calling is tracked and reported on.

Measuring the Quality of Your Sales Leads


In my recent webcast, Perspectives in Teleprospecting - A Closed Loop Strategy, I talked about the importance of having a closed loop feedback process in place to track all of the qualified leads that your telesales team is uncovering.  When you are investing time and money in a lead generation program you want to be able to prove the effectiveness of your campaign and make sure that all of the qualified opportunities that your team is passing over to sales are being nurtured appropriately.

Setting Realistic Teleprospecting Goals


Buying a new home is one of the most exciting and nerve wracking experiences.  There are so many things to consider and you want to make sure you make the right decision.  One of the first steps is hiring a realtor to help you with your search.  This person's job is to clearly understand what exactly you are looking for and how much you are looking to spend.   It is also your realtor's responsibility to make sure your expectations are realistic.  For example, if you are looking to find a home for $200,000 with 6 bedrooms, 5 baths, a two car garage, a brand new kitchen and hard wood floors your realtor will most likely have to re-adjust your expectations, otherwise, you are setting yourself up for inevitable disappointment.

Teleprospecting Is Not A "One and Done" Activity


Every year, around this time, fitness centers begin advertising their special rates for the upcoming New Year.  At the start of January gyms are full of well-intentioned folks making good on their resolutions.  After about a month the excitement wears off and many people fall back into their old routines and the gym slips down several notches on the priority list.  It might be that the expected results didn't materialize and many give up to a degree.  There are some that end up hiring a personal trainer for a one month trial period and hope that will get them into shape.  Yet once a week sessions for a month is not enough to make much of an impact.  Hiring a professional is a great idea, but giving the commitment enough time to succeed is the key to realizing your goals.

Knowing When to Shift Strategies


They say that doing something the same way over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.  My job as a Director of Client Operations at AG Salesworks is to recognize when a process or message that we are using is not generating the expected results and to be able to offer my clients an alternative strategy.

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