Five Tips for High Quality Leads
By A. J. Windle
Our economy exists because of sales. Think about it. Everything we have is tied back to a sale that was made from a conversation, which all started by generating that first lead. Most businesses have a goal to grow, and in order to do that, they need new leads and new opportunities.
So what’s the secret sauce? How can you get more leads, and how can you make sure that your sales team is capitalizing on those leads? Every business is different. However, I can tell you that after running hundreds of B2B telemarketing lead-generation programs, there are several processes that I believe will make sure your team is generating strong leads and your sales force is capitalizing on those opportunities.
Follow these five tips, and you’ll see improved results.
1) Multiple Touch Points: One of the hardest and most time-consuming aspects of lead generation is actually reaching the person who actually makes the decisions. Regardless if you are generating your own leads or using outsourced telemarketing, the days of people sitting at their desk all day is dead. We are truly living in a mobile age. So how can you more effectively reach prospects? You must use a multiple-touch approach.
Call, leave voicemails, send emails, connect on LinkedIn, and join groups with people you know need the product or service you are selling. Implement a process for these contact methods, including what attempts you will try using a different or multiple-touch approach. Also consider the amount of time between contact attempts. You do not want to call, leave a voicemail, send an email, and connect with your prospects on LinkedIn on the same day. That is borderline creepy, and it will more than likely push them into your competitor’s hands.
2) It’s Not an Interrogation: One of the biggest mistakes I see when launching a B2B telemarketing lead-generation program is using an overly interrogative script. I get it—you want to ensure that your sales team has as much information as possible going into the sales call in order to be successful. Consider this: If you had to sit on the phone for fifteen minutes answering questions, only to find out the purpose of the call was to set up another call with more questions, would you stay on the phone? I’m going to put my money on “no.”
Don’t get me wrong, valuable information needs to be collected. However, if you are skilled enough to get C-Level managers on the phone, respect their time and understand that they probably have better things to do. Keep questions to a minimum. Part of the follow-up call from your sales team should be engaging the conversation and asking more questions so they can build the relationship with the potential client.
3) Setting Up the Sales Call: This is critical. If your outsourced telemarketing team does not have a proper process in place to set up the follow-up sales call, your leads will run cold. Time is critical. The closer the follow-up call to the original lead generation call, the more successful you are going to be.
I recommend a maximum of no more than two days, which should only be exceeded if there is a very valid reason. If your prospect wants to push past a week, don’t set the appointment. Instead schedule a time to call the prospect back when there is a smaller window. This will keep show rates up and the likelihood of your prospect recalling the initial interest much higher. Second, send the prospect a calendar invite while you’re on the phone together and get the prospect to commit to adding it to his or her Outlook calendar. If the time is blocked off, it is a lot less likely the prospect will back out of the appointment. Last, walk your prospect through the next steps. If a prospect clearly knows what is going to happen after you get off the phone, he or she more likely will be prepared for the next level conversation.
4) Create a Lead Rating System: Every lead is not equal, so why do people classify them as such? When conducting a lead-generation program, you are going to get bad, good, and great leads. The key is to know the difference so you can appropriately prioritize the time in which you contact these prospects back.
When conducting B2B telemarketing lead generation, you should have a method for rating prospects on how they answer specific questions you have deemed necessary within the script. You can use the hot or cold method; however, I prefer a bit more detailed approach of A, B, or C.
“A” leads want to make a decision now; they have been looking, have the budget, and want a call right away. They are informed, and you can tell they have done their research.
“B” leads are prospects who are interested in having further conversations. However, their time frame for a decision could be several months out. You will know when talking to them that they are interested, but they just don’t have a plan in place.
“C” leads are those who don’t necessarily want to have a phone call or in-person conversation but would like more information sent to them for future reference. Because timely follow-up is critical with prospects, having a system in place for your outsourced telemarketing team that clearly conveys who is priority number one helps increase the likelihood of closing deals.
5) Synergize Lead-Generation and Sales Teams: Finally, one of the most important pieces of a successful B2B telemarketing lead-generation program is to open communication between your lead-generation team and sales team. Although these teams both play separate roles, the goal is the same, and you should never create silos.
A strong lead-generation team should always know what the sales team is looking for in new leads, the results of leads sent, and what they need to do to improve the quality of leads that the sales team is receiving. I recommend a weekly or even monthly call between the two teams to ensure everyone is on the same page. The time spent will be worth it.
Conclusion: Generating high-quality leads for your sales team is a learning process and one that requires constant refinement. However, if you stick to some basic processes and communicate your expectations clearly, it can be fun and rewarding.
A. J. Windle is senior operations manager for Quality Contact Solutions, an outsourced telemarketing organization, which has run hundreds of B2B telemarketing lead-generation programs. With fourteen years of telemarketing experience, A. J. has built his career on creating win-win-win relationships between his team, his clients, and his telemarketing vendors that drives success. A. J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 516-656-5106.