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About Sales Prospecting Perspectives

The official blog of AG Salesworks, Sales Prospecting Perspectives will give readers an insight to the challenges of managing a targeted outbound Sales Prospecting effort and team.

Come by often for valuable Sales Prospecting strategies and tips.

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Where Does Your Teleprospector End and Your Sales Rep Begin?

You've got your list of suspects (webinar, tradeshow, purchased list, seminar, web lead...etc..), you've staffed your inside teleprospecting team or contracted with an outsourced vendor, and your sales reps are hungry to start adding new opps to their forecasts.  You should be ready to pull the trigger and begin your outbound prospecting right?  No, not just yet, there is one thing that you need to think about first.  Have you set boundaries for your various teams? What I mean is, do your teleprospecting reps know where they end and your sales reps begin?

Ramping up a teleprospecting campaign is a difficult task from an administrative standpoint.  List work is tedious and time consuming.  Events are labor intensive and stressful as you wait to see how many folks show up.  Inbound leads need filtering and the constant monitoring and tweaking of your site is required to keep the flow and quality at maximum levels.  The short of it is that creating a list of suspects for your teleprospecting team to call and qualify for your sales reps is hard work.  Marketing departments spend thousands of hours and millions of dollars filling the top of the funnel in all the ways listed above (and more).  In my experience, these functions are performed very well.  The Marketing department does a great job at getting quality prospects in front of teleprospectors.  The teleprospectors are hungry to call and eager to work their way through lists of suspects, and the sales reps want to build pipe.  However, very little attention is given to having a standard operating procedure surrounding what is to be sent to a sales rep and when. 

Let's assume, for sake of discussion, that we've got a 5 person teleprospecting team sending qualified opps out to a 10 person outside sales team.  That is 15 unique selling styles, 15 egos, 15 different personalities, and in most cases that I've seen...15 different definitions of what makes a qualified lead.  All of these differences create an opportunity for inconsistency across your team.  Teleprospecting rep A, supports sales reps B and C.  Sales reps B and C are locally based and have developed a great face to face working relationship with Teleprospecting rep A.  They've all come to the understanding that anything with a pulse should be passed.  At the other end of the spectrum, Teleprospecting rep B supports sales reps A and F.  Sales reps A and F work on the other coast and spend very little time in the home office.  Teleprospecting rep B operates with less involvement from her reps, and qualifies each lead to the parameters that she hopes will match her reps requirements.  Out of the gates, you are going to get varying degrees of output from Teleprospecting rep A as opposed to Teleprospecting rep B.  As a marketing professional, you'll run reports to see which reps are generating the most opportunities for the sales team from your leads.  Unfortunately, if you haven't defined ahead of time exactly what a qualified opportunity is and shared that knowledge with the entire sales team, those reports mean very little.

The above scenario is only one of many that unfold across teleprospecting teams across the country.  Too much effort is spent determining who to call, and how many times to call them, while not enough time is spent defining and standardizing what a qualified opportunity must look like.  Standardizing what an Opp is across your team will accomplish several very important things.  It levels the playing field and gives the compensation plans you have implemented the motivational teeth you envisioned them having.  By setting clear expectations as to what an Opportunity is, you open up your managers to be able to foster very healthy competition amongst your teleprospecting reps.  Defining an opportunity keeps your sales reps honest as you can operate under the assumption that there is no one rep receiving "better" opps than the others or vice versa.  Your performance metrics will be valid and consistent, allowing you to make more sound decisions on future marketing spend.  This allows you to know that the end results (opportunities developed) are a true reflection of the quality of the campaign and haven't been skewed in one direction or another because there was no time taken to define what the actual output should look like.  Mosty importantly, it answers the incredibly difficult question of "where do my teleprospecting reps end and my sales reps begin"?


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