Sales prospecting can make for some long and frustrating days, especially if your telemarketer or “caller” has but one goal in mind: get that first sales appointment.
Most of your sales appointments come from follow-up calls, calls to champions or influencers that usher you up the chain of command, or complementary marketing initiatives that lead to further engagement.
With that in mind, many companies will default to a two-tiered approach to their lead generation. They will use less-skilled callers for basic projects, including data scrubbing, list building or event invitations, and also rely on “A-caliber” callers for prospecting.
This approach however, can lead to some interesting behavior.
Imagine this scenario: One of your junior event callers gets a decision maker on the phone. Instead of pitching them, they confirm the spelling of their name and ask them for their email address.
As you know, the number of one-call sales appointments is extraordinarily low.
For a cold call to lead to a first appointment, the stars need to align for you to connect with the right person at a company that has the right setup and a current need for your services. It happens rarely.
Your “A-caliber” caller needs to build a pipeline before they can begin setting up your “at-bats,” and that can take months. If you’re dejected thinking about that timeline, imagine how frustrated your caller is.
He or she could make 1,000 calls a week just to get one that is considered to be a “win” by company management.
The two-tiered approach to traditional tele-sales leads to some major challenges.
One, you’re losing opportunities. You may only ever get one chance to talk to someone. Your best caller should be making your first calls, because they may be the only ones that get answered.
Using a junior caller, or an off-shore caller may be damaging your brand and your chances of getting the great appointments you want in the future.
Two, you’re not encouraging your best callers to do anything for you other than try to get meetings.
When you go that route, you lose important data. When meetings don’t materialize, your caller will feel psychological pressure, which often leads to rolling more calls and ignoring the important “after-call” work that keeps your pipeline fresh.
If your best prospector won the lottery today and walked out the door, would you have useful information available for succession planning, or is he or she taking your entire sales cycle to the Cayman Islands?
Now imagine that instead of creating a two-tiered approach to your prospecting, you create an incentive for your caller that rewards both primary and secondary outcomes.
While your primary goal may remains the same—secure a sales appointment with a qualified decision maker—your secondary goal can take on many new forms. This includes:
- Collecting an email address and securing opt-in marketing permission for your newsletter. Armed with this, you can track who opens your newsletter. Fellow Penton Xpert Stuart Crawford from Ulistic can teach you how to do this using InfusionSoft.
- Inviting a prospect to attend a marketing event, either online or live. Will they register? Will they attend? Both allow for ongoing engagement. That’s a win.
- Encouraging a prospect to visit your company website. Install software to monitor this. You’ll see a direct correlation between good prospecting and website traffic. (We use and recommend My Visitor by Equilibrium).
- Filling in the blanks in your CRM system. Imaging knowing how many PCs and servers a prospect has, or what IT company it is currently working with, or when its contracts expire? Did they put it in the appropriate places? This creates your long term sales pipeline, and will ensure that you have everything you need to successfully transition prospecting to a new rep should your current rep opt to leave.
A combination of successful secondary outcomes will eventually lead to that primary objective—the first sales meeting.
Create a picture of a successful call that encourages your callers to “show their work” instead of dialing as fast as they can to get that elusive first call appointment.
It leads to useful databases, and warmer leads.
This approach builds on your other marketing investments and will make every day a “win” for your call team. Long-term this leads to less frustrating days—for both you and for your call team. It also eliminates the need for a two-tier approach to prospecting.
That’s what I call better selling.