B2B organizations seeking to build repeatable, systematic demand creation engines over the last several years have often formed -- or reformed -- teleprospecting teams as part of their efforts.
This internal human resource or outsourced partner has been positioned as a receiver for inbound inquiries and marketing-generated leads, a source for original demand, and, in some cases, a direct resource for field or channel sales to rely on for help.
The positioning of teleprospecting at the center of most organizations' demand creation schematics suggests that it should be treated as highly strategic. Often, however, nothing is farther from the truth, leading to teleprospecting being one of the most mismanaged functions in B2B today.
Though many organizations only seek to hire 20-something teleprospectors looking to become field salespeople, there is growing indication of a change in this thinking.
Diversifying the target profile to include past field reps who love to sell but are tired of carrying a bag not only attracts candidates who won't be transient, but also provides built-in mentoring for younger reps.
2) Develop Reps to Teleprospect Successfully
In many B2B organizations, the teleprospecting function is exceptionally flat, with little -- if any -- opportunity for advancement.
Best-in-class, third-party teleprospectors retain reps by creating roles including team leaders, peer-to-peer trainers, and job specialists (e.g. vertical experts, lead nurturers, inbound reps). They also onboard their reps carefully and provide ongoing ways to improve their selling, phone, and research skills.
In a B2B organization, taking these steps will not only better prepare young reps for a move to the field, if they are so inclined, but also build a more solid environment for those who excel and wish to stay.
3) Support Your Reps When They Need It
Today's teleprospectors need more than a telephone -- there are a growing number of information-based tools that augment the role, allowing reps to conduct research on prospects before connecting.
Outbound communication tools allow a rep to engage with prospects before and after picking up the phone, which can enrich their mix. From a management perspective, leaders must be able to track activity and results so that proper compensation, mentoring, and training programs can be built.
4) Manage Teleprospecting in One Department
Companies often trade teleprospecting back and forth between marketing and sales. This is an indication that the function is viewed as nothing more than a tactical football.
A permanent home in marketing can help to build a tight demand creation engine and prevent a problematic blended scenario.
Want to know the latest best practices of teleprospecting? Join Mark Roberge, Peter Gracey, and myself today, October 29, at 1 p.m. EST on our free webinar, Teleprospecting the Inbound Way.
Jay Gaines is Vice President and Group Director at SiriusDecisions and a seasoned marketing professional with 20 years of experience in a variety of industries. He has consistently transformed marketing organizations to achieve significant and measurable increases in efficiency and effectiveness. You can follow him on Twitter at @izjay.