Teleprospecting programs are a key part of the sales process for complex and high value deals because they open new doors, create new opportunity, and continuously feed the sales pipeline with qualified, actionable sales leads.
Given that teleprospecting is an important component of a successful sales funnel, how do you ensure that the programs you run, whether inside your organization or through an outsourced partner, are successful? We believe that there are two elements that make a difference from the start: creating the right target prospect list, and knowing how to begin a conversation to ensure a meaningful interaction with the right contacts at the highest levels in target organizations.
Your prospect list is one key to your campaign success.
Before beginning any lead generation effort you first need to understand who your prospect is and you need to develop a healthy list of prospects based on your sales criteria:
- What size organization are you selling to? What is their average revenue? How many employees do they have? Are they public or private? Are prospects within a certain geography?
- What industry and or niche buys your products, solutions or services?
- What titles within the organization are going to derive the greatest value? Which titles are typically involved in deals that you have won?
In complex sales, quality is just as important as quantity. By focusing on creating a healthy prospect list, you are able to create an alignment between the business solution you are offering, and the needs of the prospect. When this is done correctly, the result is a healthy and relevant prospect list that enhances a well targeted teleprospecting effort.
The next step for a successful lead generation campaign is to ensure that you are talking to the right people…
Start at the Top
Speaking to the right person at the right title level within your targeted prospect list is another key to running a successful teleprospecting campaign.
When the goal is to uncover new opportunities for a complex, high-ticket product sale, technology solution sale, or consulting engagement, we recommend that in most cases you start at the top and let those at the most senior levels discuss their business pains and needs to determine if what you are offering is a fit for their organization. If they are not involved in the buying process, chances are they know the company position and interest and are also able to refer you to a subordinate evaluator.
Not only do you have a confirmation that there is in fact interest at the most senior levels, your call to the subordinate evaluator has the name of his boss associated to the referral and that person is much more likely to take your call and discuss your solution.
A highly qualified sales opportunity can only be developed by a having a meaningful interaction with the most senior executive decision makers who are involved with the decision making process. So it is critical not to get bogged down interacting with those at the lower title levels who may have ideas about what is happening in their department, but are not involved in the buying or discovery process and may actually impede your progress.
What not to do: Have inexperienced telemarketing reps reading scripts and calling down a prospect list hoping to stumble onto the right person.
What to do: Engage experienced business development reps who understand how to navigate an organization to engage peer to peer with executive level decision makers.
Who and what are the decision makers going to respond to?
Executive decision makers are not interested in engaging in a scripted exercise, however, they will respond to a knowledgeable business development executive who is interested learning about their specific needs.
In this earlier blog I highlighted some of the skills I thought were most essential to sales conversation, taken from the article Six Critical Skills for the new Sales Dialogue:
“JMS Elite’s business development executives (BDE) have mastered the art of listening. It’s a talent that has proven to be a major aspect of our success. Nuances are revealed in the margins of conversations. As the seller, you’ve got to be invested in the entire conversation. You’ve got to respond not only to what you hear but to what’s not being said – without jumping to your own naturally biased conclusions.”
Senior level decision makers in any type of organization are more likely to respond to a caller who understands the value of having a meaningful interaction based on the perceived need of that organization.
B2B sales leads that are generated from these types of conversations are qualified, actionable leads that provide value to the prospect’s discovery process and will feed your sales pipeline and have your sales reps asking marketing to “get me more leads like this”.. A senior business person is not going to waste time on a scripted sales call from someone who does not understand their business, or have the business acumen to discuss their needs.
“The top down strategy does not work well with a scripted approach or a “features and benefits” sales pitch. What does work is when a prospect is comfortable engaging in meaningful dialogue with an experienced business development caller who can uncover the business pains and the motivation of an organization.”
When the prospect list is researched, vetted and focused, and the business development executives making the calls are knowledgeable and invested, the ground work has been laid for a successful lead generation campaign. Add to that an effective teleprosecting process including service level agreements (SLA’s) and you are on the path to creating a healthy sales pipeline.
What additional steps would you include to make a lead generation campaign for a complex sale successful? We welcome additional thoughts and insight on this process.
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