The Teleprospecting List
Having worked in this business for more than 20 years – 13 of those at the head of a successful teleprospecting firm, I know that there is value in getting down to the basics and discussing the fundamentals and good practices for a successful teleprospecting campaign.
Our firm is focused on teleprospecting for complex sales. We use experienced Business Development Executives who have the unique ability to engage executive decision makers in peer-to-peer interactions, helping them better understand our clients’ offerings in the context of their business needs.
It is through this lens that we will explore best practices for Successful B2B Lead Generation for the teleprospector, and discover the elements of the “secret sauce.”
Is there a proven methodology for properly working a teleprospecting list? Absolutely.
The Right Names and Titles
The goal of the teleprospector is to get in front of the decision makers or key evaluators at the prospective organizations, in order to have a conversation about what they are doing, and find out if there is an opportunity. Are their business needs being met? If yes, how are they meeting those needs, and is there a way to do it better? If no, then this offers the opportunity to have a conversation about the business product or solution that can help them.
The key is to penetrate the company and ensure that the teleprospector is having this conversation with the correct targeted prospect.
Who are the right people to call? The answer to this is fluid and depends on the organization.
It is the job of the teleprospector to have enough research to understand if the cold call should be made to a C-level executive, or someone at the VP or Director level, or perhaps someone in a very specific department (i.e. Head of Human Resources). If the targeted list contains names and titles of people who are not the key decision makers, and if this conversation will fall outside the scope of what the business solution pertains to, they should not be called.
Your list may consist of 10 names and titles at an organization, but if 5 of them are not decision makers, it makes no sense to call them. Focus on the people who can have the conversation with you – otherwise it is a waste of everyone’s time.
How Do You Navigate Within a Targeted Organization to Reach the Right Person?
For this level of teleprospecting and complex sales, we advocate a top-down approach. Who are the decision makers who make the deals? Where have previous successes been happening? The right amount of research will yield the answers to these questions, and your approach can be appropriately targeted.
In some cases, the key decision makers are going to be only at the C-level, so that is where you must aim. If you can contact them directly and they take your calls – great, you are on your way to having a meaningful interaction with the right person. But what if you are not successful in reaching that level?
If you’re not getting to the level that you need, but the next person down is picking up the phone and giving you the inside scoop, then continue with them and have the conversation. It may be that you can enter the company through that level, and it is better to have the conversation there than not at all. If you are at least trying at the higher level you might get there – if you don’t try, you definitely won’t.
How Do You Ensure Your List Consists of Good Names and Titles?
Who needs to be targeted within the organization can be based on previous history. Where has the previous success been? Who needs to be targeted within the organization, and what level are we aiming for?
A successful teleprospector will do appropriate preparation for each client. This consists of working closely with that client to develop the message that he or she will be taking to the phone, and getting direction on who the best people are to target within the organization.
Depending on the history and knowledge of the organization, the list may not be as robust as necessary. Remember, the goal is to penetrate the company or organization, and that means calling more than one person within that organization. As a general rule, a teleprospector should attempt a minimum of three different contacts within the same target company. If you only have one name for an organization, you need to expand your list.
If you need additional names, it is appropriate to take advantage of available online resources. LinkedIn, the company’s own website, or a general Google search may provide valuable information that could be useful and is worth researching.
Asking for referrals within the organization is an extremely effective way to get appropriate names.
In 1994, when I began my career in sales, there were no easily available resources like the ones we are so familiar with today – the best way to get names was to call and ask.
I’d argue that this is still the most effective approach.
If you are targeting the CIO and he or she is unavailable, ask the admin in the department for the name of someone you can speak to. They will give you a name, in some cases to direct you away from the CIO, but that can work in your favor as well. Seek out the person who is willing to have the conversation and call them.
Experience has shown me that research and preparation combined with a knowledge of the basic best practices, is the key to successful teleprospecting. Do you have experience with complex B2B Sales and Lead Generation? What lessons have you learned in your sales experience? Please leave us a note in the comments.