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How To Set Up a Telesales B2B Lead Generation Department

Updated on July 15, 2011

How To Set Up a Telesales, B2B, Sales Lead Generation Department

Do you want to build a telephone based, new business focused lead generation department? Have you been asked to find more "warm" sales leads for your Sales Reps? Marci Reynolds has led successful B2B lead generation and outbound sales organizations at several Fortune 1000 companies and shares her tips and tricks for success on How To Set Up a Telesales B2B Lead Generation Department.

Why Should You Build a B2B Lead Generation Team?

In this economy it’s more important than ever before to have an effective lead generation or new business development team within your sales organization. Prospecting is one of the most difficult and time consuming sales activities.

An effective lead generation program will increase sales productivity, shorten the sales cycle and allow highly skilled Sales Reps to focus their time on the highest value selling activities.

Your Marketing team should have their own set of marketing activities planned to generate sales leads including trade shows, emails and webinars. This article focuses specifically on telephone based, lead generation programs.

Ambro | Source

What Does a B2B Sales Lead Generation Team Do?

An effective, telephone based sales lead generation team will:

  1. Reach out to prospects or inactive customers
  2. Introduce your company, product & services
  3. Generate interest
  4. Qualify contacts
  5. Gain agreement to have a Sales Rep follow-up
  6. Plant the seed for future sales
  7. Leave a very positive image of your company with the contact(s)
  8. Ultimately.. Generate qualified leads (often called “warm leads”) that will go to your sales force and result in closed sales.

Business to business sales lead generation employees may be called “new business development”, “telemarketing”, “tele-prospecting” or simply lead generation representatives.

Achieve Goals With Lead Gen


How Do I Build an In-House Telephone Based Lead Generation Team?

There are nine key components that must be in place to build and run a successful lead generation organization. Let’s assume that you have the location, the workstations and the telephone system. Now you need to consider:

People: An effective lead generation team is made up of well trained, appropriately skilled, proactive phone representatives. In most cases, these Reps will be more entry level and lower paid than your actual Sales Representatives. Often times, experienced Lead Gen Reps are a feeder pool when hiring new Sales Representatives.

Contacts/Calling Lists: The Lead Generation Reps will need to leverage targeted, accurate, updated contact or calling lists. These are often purchased from external vendors like D&B or ZOOM Info and include business names, addresses, telephone numbers, contact names and sometimes email addresses.

Technology: Contact relationship management systems (CRM), auto-dialing software and other technology, both hardware and software, will boost the productivity and effectives of your lead generation team. A CRM system like or Siebel, can help store your contact information, plan contact strategies and timing, track activities, track sales pipeline built and track closed sales. Auto dialer technology can boost daily dials from an average of about 60 per day per Rep, to more than 175 per day per rep.

Scripting and Approach: For our every product, company and industry, there are best practices related to the lead generation approach, call scripting and verbiage. These apply to both the outbound calls and voicemail messages. You can purchase training materials and/or develop your own best practices through testing and trial.

The average “decision maker contact rate” for a prospect telephone campaign ranges from 20% to 40%. Therefore, your scripting must include the best voicemails to leave to generate a call back. I highly recommend Art Sobczak's (A Telesales Guru!) voicemail training and techniques.

Your entire lead generation approach should be documented and part of a more holistic new employee training and ongoing coaching program. For an interesting perspective on tele-training, read the online article “Did your cold calling telesales training prepare you for this?”

Email Strategy: Email can be a powerful tool as a follow-up to a lead gen telephone conversation and/or to send a prospect more information. Often times employees with great telephone or verbal skills are not the best writers. So, have standard email templates ready for all Reps to use.

Lead Generation Measurements
Lead Generation Measurements

Measurement: An effective lead generation manager must track the baseline, ongoing improvement and the ROI of your lead generation organization via a set of “key performance indicators” There are industry standard measurements tied to outbound lead generation which include calls, contacts, contact rates, lead rates, lead follow-up percentage and leads converted to sales.

Morale and Work Environment: Outbound Lead Generation is an extremely difficult job. Reps deal with hearing the words “no” or “not interested” throughout the day. Therefore it’s important to consider and build in morale boosting activities as part of your day to day operation. This could include contests, social activities, team meetings etc. Celebrate your successes and recognize your top performers.

Partnership With Sales: The Lead Generation Manager and employees must have a strong working relationship and partnership with the Sales Managers and Sales Reps who are receiving the leads. Why? Because you want the sales teams to follow-up on your leads, ideally within 48 hours and turn your leads into sales. They need to feel confident that the leads are high quality and worth their time. Relationship building and strong communication across departments are key to your program’s success.

There are also legal and regulatory considerations tied to outbound calling. You can read more about them here on the Direct Marketing Association website.

Should You Outsource B2B Lead Generation?

Should you outsource lead generation? There are thousands of out-source vendors that offer turn-key outbound lead generation services. Although they would not be happy to hear this, in general I am not a supporter of outsourcing lead generation for these reasons.

Most B2B outsource vendors, especially business located oversees, will never be able to describe your company and the value proposition as well as your own employees. They are the ones that day in and day out are surrounded by your products, your advertisements, your sales people and your sales collateral. No script or checklist can replace the “real life” employee experience.

I have found that salespeople by nature, have very high standards. One of the keys to a successful lead generation program is sales rep follow-up. And, salespeople will often have less confidence in outsourced leads, won’t always follow-up on outsourced leads, and therefore you may generate fewer sales via outsourced leads. Although the lower cost of outsourcing may interest you, think about the long term sales implications when you consider your return on investment.

For some alternative views, John Cole penned the article "Advantages to Outsourcing Your Teleselling" and Leo Blanco provides his views on the advantages of outsourcing for small businesses linked here.

More About The Author

Marci Reynolds has led successful B2B lead generation and outbound sales organizations at several Fortune 1000 companies.

Marci has her MBA with a concentration in Operations and Technology from Bentley University, a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Northeastern University and is a Six Sigma Greenbelt.

Click here to contact the author.

Copyright 2009, M. Reynolds, All Rights Reserved

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    • profile image 

      8 years ago

      To continue with the “Lead Generation” theme: (Nice blog spot here by the way)

      I don't know if the rest of you agree but, the obvious difference between a lead generation program and an appointment setting campaign is that a lead generation program stops one step short of setting a qualified appointment. Some clients, involved in a complex sale that requires a vast knowledge of the industry or strong knowledge capital, prefer us to qualify the lead and then hand it over to the client to have an in-depth business discussion and qualify the lead more thoroughly before they actually set a qualified appointment.

      What you have to do is Select Target Campaigns: Some of our clients (Tech Company Lead Generation) request that we focus our cold calling to set qualified appointments on a short list of select targets. The Select Target campaign involves calling multiple times collecting information and escalating the qualification process until we set a qualified appointment. For enterprise targets involving a complex sale we can contact multiple decision makers and influencers to schedule a qualified appointment with each executive. All B2B appointment setting campaigns are customized to meet your needs.

      The Bottom Line. Would sales increase if your salespeople and agents spent more time with qualified prospects and less time trying to find them? Appointment setting isn't just a necessity - it's an essential resource to help capture market share, build your business and achieve your revenue goals.

      Here is what we offer, what do you people think in here about this?

      * Decision Maker appointments

      * You receive every email and communication with prospects (audio recordings)

      * (No Shows for you = 0%)

      * We have lists of over 25,000 potential prospects in the U.S.

      * We can use your CRM list if requested

      * Unlike most Lead Gen firms, you can directly call our Bus. Dev. people anytime

      * Your account status is done DAILY by Phone not email like our competition

      * Fast turnaround of your project

      * Cost savings and revenue increase

      * Significant improvement in the quality and productivity of your business

      * RESULTS

      Honestly, every post that you see on the web describes the next BIG methodology when it comes to B2B Lead Generation. At my company Partner Source, which is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, we approach the Lead Generation subject with science, as it is our business.

      You have to have values that you stand by as an organization, Partner Source Values: Our principles define us. We stand for: Qualified appointments, results, performance and quality above all else. Outstanding Client Service is our dedication to responsiveness, consistent and effective communication with no surprises, and always meeting deadlines. Absolute honesty and integrity. Continuous Self-Improvement - the spirit of mastery. Making a difference with each person, every minute, every call, every day. We are dedicated to our client's total satisfaction.

      Glenn Wright

      Partner Source Minnesota (B2B Lead Generation)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Au contraire! OUTSOURCING Lead Generation is a terrific way for business's to save on their overhead and receive quality leads for their sales team. Major companies such as, Microsoft, HP, Apple outsource aspects of lead generation.

      Do your homework, look at testimonials, but do NOT shy away from outsourcing.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Good stuff.

      Not sure if you've received my email.

      Would be happy to work with you on lead generation for our clients (with SEO, social media, email marketing, display ads, telesales or whatever you excel at) utilizing our Pay Per Deal advertising model.

      Ping me if interested.

      bizdev, Alex

    • Writomania profile image


      9 years ago

      Telemarketing is a widely used mode of generation leads. Having a strong telemarketing setup not only helps bringing in leads but also develops a sutainable marketing channel. Another a bit lesser used way is through the online marketplaces. I have publishes a hub on the topic . hope you like it

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Great hub of information on b2b lead generation. I am looking for ideas and this was a great start.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Have you ever considered an MVT Test for Outbound activities?

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Good Information. Most content on the internet is about internet lead generation not telephone based. This is a great list. I'm ready to read the extended book

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      another great informative article.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      this is a great article for all up and coming entrpreneurs. lead generation is the key to a sucessful business.


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