Outside sales representatives don’t have time to call un-vetted leads and should be focused on closing versus building their pipeline. You might have heard this before – it is a common issue. I have been in sales for a long time and continue to hear this over and over again with our clients. To address this issue, many companies have created an inside sales team. Others choose to outsource everything to a dedicated lead management organization. And some choose a hybrid model, handling some level of follow up in-house and outsourcing the rest to lead management experts. However you choose to handle your lead qualification and management, consider some of the OppSource best practices on building a successful team:
Recruiting, Assessing and Assembling the Right Team
You will most likely need a variety of skill levels within your inside sales team. Let’s define them as level 1 (fresh off the barn) and level 2 (seasoned veteran) business development representatives. Some to qualify leads, some to optimize accounts and some to feed your outside reps pipeline. It all starts with recruiting and retaining key talent specific to the tasks at hand. It requires an ongoing process to make sure your resources are allocated in the right places at the right times, queuing off of marketing and goals set for revenue.
Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself about your team to ensure resources are being allocated correctly:
- What type of quality are the leads your inside reps are sending to your outside sales team?
- Who is responsible for running the complex system of multiple dial attempts, getting referrals and adding other key decision makers?
- Who is responsible for building product and brand awareness, ranking interest, or processing inbound inquiries from a MAP platform?
- Does your team know how to queue off of certain responses in the conversation?
- Do they have a track record of getting to the conversation quickly and efficiently?
- Do they have experience speaking with executive level prospects?
- What is the process for lead pass-back from sales?
- Is there a quality control process in place?
- What are their dials to conversation ratios?
- What are their conversations to MQL ratios?
Which Option is Right for You?
To maximize your budget and build an effective and efficient team and program, you need the answers to these questions. If there are large disparities in what your team is capable of versus the level of your marketing campaigns and goals, you may want to try the hybrid model and outsource some of your inbound lead follow up work, survey work and seminar or road show events. You will insure the best return on your investments and maximize your budget when you have a really good read on everyone’s level of skill and how they produce.
If you think you have a solid team who delivers high-quality MQLs, assign the less complex tasks (inbound leads, survey work, events registrations, etc.) to your level 1 business development representatives. Reserve efforts for the more advanced members of your team, the ones with more experience in prospecting, getting past the gatekeepers and have more selling expertise for the level 2 tasks. Segment and prioritize leads based on level of difficulty and delegate accordingly within your call queues.
If outsourcing is how you prefer to handle your lead management, make sure you meet with your marketing and sales teams and define what a lead is – what sales wants to follow up on. What are the main qualification attributes? How does your marketing database look? This is always an issue that every marketer has to deal with. It might be worthwhile to find a lead management service that also offers list purchasing and database cleansing – because it is a waste of money marketing to people that don’t fall within your total addressable market.
A combination of the right people, process and technology can give any company a competitive edge. With the split-level team model, level 2 BDRs will feel compensated for their talents and will give level 1 BDRs something to aspire to. Having this flexibility will shorten time spent on getting reps trained when ramping up a new campaign and ultimately produce the most efficient framework for future success. Your company will reap the benefits of a results-driven lead qualification program and have a balance of allocated resources, improved marketing outcomes, and ultimately and most importantly, increased revenue in a shorter period of time with less overhead.