How To Set Up a Telesales B2B Lead Generation Department
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.
What Does a B2B Sales Lead Generation Team Do?
An effective, telephone based sales lead generation team will:
- Reach out to prospects or inactive customers
- Introduce your company, product & services
- Generate interest
- Qualify contacts
- Gain agreement to have a Sales Rep follow-up
- Plant the seed for future sales
- Leave a very positive image of your company with the contact(s)
- 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 Salesforce.com 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.
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.
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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.
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Copyright 2009, M. Reynolds, All Rights Reserved