In a recent post I described the differences between telemarketing and teleprospecting. Teleprospecting is a relatively new term, and can sometimes be confused with telemarketing, but the two are different activities.
Choosing the best one for your business needs is determined by what kind of business you have, as well as your specific sales goals.
The “complex sale” (any company selling a complex solution, service or product) requires experienced professional phone representatives having meaningful interactions with executives within those targeted accounts.
To me, this is what teleprospecting can provide to the complex sales cycle.
Teleprospecting is a long-term approach that incorporates an understanding of the customer need that the solution, service, or product addresses, and an understanding of the inherent value being provided by that solution.
Teleprospecting Redefines the Cold Call
Using the phone to make contact still works, and it works well.
There are multiple ways to get in touch with executives nowadays, but a phone call from an experienced business development executive (BDE) who is able to engage in meaningful conversation is still a very effective way to generate actionable sales leads.
In fact, if you want to determine interest within a large number of prospective companies, there is no better way to find out than to pick up the phone and speak with key decision makers within those organizations.
Picking up the phone to call a prospect doesn’t have to be completely cold. Before picking up the phone, an experienced BDE will be informed about whom they are calling, and will make sure that the business is relevant to their needs.
This is a key step in the process; knowing that the account being contacted has potential as a good fit for the solution being sold.
In addition, a seasoned teleprospector will discover and attempt multiple appropriate contacts to people at the company who may be involved in the decision-making process and who understand their organization’s needs.
A teleprospector will make calls to multiple high-level decision makers and key evaluators with whom they can start a meaningful conversation, often using referrals to target the key decision makers.
The purpose of each call should be about engaging in meaningful interactions with prospects, even if this isn’t their time to buy.
A first call is about beginning a relationship with a prospect and listening to their needs and business pains, in order to understand their business and what they may benefit from in the future.
In Teleprospecting, the Focus is on the Client’s Goals.
In a successful teleprospecting program, there is no “features and benefits” selling to whoever is on the other end of the line.
Teleprospecting is about generating actionable sales leads.
This means that your conversation should be an exploration of the prospect’s goals, pains, and potential roadblocks.
This information can only be gained when there is investment in a conversation – one where the caller is asking open-ended questions, intelligently guiding the conversation, and listening the majority of the time.
Many important details are revealed in the margins of conversations.
But in the end, the conversation can only go one of two ways.
The prospect is interested; which should result in a conversation to qualify the opportunity and set up next steps. Or, the prospect is not interested; in which case the BDE learns the reasons why and also may uncover other valuable business and marketing intelligence.
Teleprospecting Means Peer-to-Peer Business Interactions
A qualified, outsourced teleprospecting firm is in the business of helping their client build a sales pipeline with qualified, actionable business opportunities.
This is not something that can be done by junior-level sales associates or kids right out of college.
In fact, best-case scenario is that business development rep making the phone calls will be savvy enough to be considered a peer when interacting with an executive decision maker.
Peer-to-peer interaction is important for several reasons.
A high-level prospect will recognize a peer caller as someone who is knowledgeable, and also willing to listen and identify solutions for complex problems. Because of this, they will be more willing to engage in a conversation that could generate a business opportunity.
When a novice caller with a scripted, one-dimensional message attempts to engage an executive decision maker, chances are they will not have a meaningful interaction.
Complex B2B sales require complex conversations that can lead to solutions. Ensuring the interactions are peer-to-peer will lead to successful lead generation.
This investment in the initial stages of the sales cycle will reap long-term relationship rewards with prospects that will positively impact your sales pipeline.
“You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression.”
Teleprospecting, whether performed internally or outsourced, and utilizing the right processes and personnel, should be considered a valuable tool in your sales arsenal.
If you want to deliver a solid first impression to your valuable prospective clients, help build a sustainable pipeline of qualified leads, and ultimately lead to sales and ROI, you’ll recognize why teleprospecting is crucial for complex sales.