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How Long Should Sales Nurture Leads From Their Teleprospecting Team?


Anyone who has made cold calls in their day recognizes that it isn’t always a walk in the park. You need to be consistently focused, disciplined and resilient in order to see any kind of result. Even at that point there are times where you may be disappointed in the lack of "fruit" produced from your labor. It’s the nature of the beast in the cold calling world.

Those of us who remotely understand the effort required, do share some sympathy on the subject. My question is, do your outside reps understand how much time marketing and inside sales put into generating interest in your product? I think most of them try to block out the memory of cold calling when they were required to do so early on in their career. As a result they have no true perception of the effort required to even get a prospect to the point where they were willing to take a meeting.

I could go on forever, so why don’t we put all of that aside. Let’s assume, as I mentioned last week, that marketing and sales have come to a consensus on what a qualified lead is. The inside rep fully qualifies a lead based on this consensus and then transfers it over to the outside sales team. As is the case with many leads, the prospect doesn’t pick up the phone at the initially scheduled time. How much effort should the outside rep put in into an unresponsive lead before it is sent back to inside sales/marketing? From what I’ve seen it typically works out to an average of 1 call and 1 email. Then what happens? Is it being sent back to inside sales/marketing, or is it being left there to rot?

Well first off I can say definitively that one call and one email from the outside rep isn’t good enough. Similar to getting everyone on the same page with a lead definition, everyone from inside sales, marketing and outside sales should come up with a game plan on how every lead should be handled after the date it was passed.

For example let’s say the prospect “no shows” for the initial scheduled call, like I said two activities isn’t adequate. What has traditionally worked for us during most of our client engagements would be to have the outside rep approach it this way:

Day 1 – Prospect receives - Voicemail #1 / Email #1
Day 3 – Prospect receives - Voicemail #2 / Email #2
Day 5 – Prospect receives an invitation via Outlook proposing a new meeting time within the next 5business days

If there is still is no response then the leads should be placed back in the hands of the inside rep that set the initial meeting. This all should take place within 7 business days. We don’t want to run the risk of the prospect forgetting about you, but at the same time gives them a chance to respond assuming they had a legitimate reason for missing the first meeting. You obviously don’t want to run the risk of annoying them.

Another aspect of the process to consider is how long should an outside rep nurture a lead post their meeting? Let’s say they have a solid initial call, there is a defined pain and the prospect can clearly see how your product can help. But in typical outside rep fashion, they determine since the budget dollars may be difficult for the prospect to pull together or the timeframe is outside of 6 months, they aren’tgoing to dedicate much time to it. Soon that lead is left in purgatory with no one left to nurture it. If you ask me, these are the things that outside reps get paid to work on beyond the pipeline on their immediate radar. We could leave this up to the inside reps to stay on top of, but in my opinion once it’s transitioned over to the outside rep who had the meeting it should stay with them to cultivate. This also helps for continuity sake, since the prospect may get confused as to who their point of contact actually is within your company.

At the end of the day it really is all about communication, right? -Last time I checked isn’t that what sales and marketing are supposed to experts at?


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