Dave Green

B2B Lead Generation: Why teleprospecting is a bridge between sales and marketing

For complex B2B sales, there is no better capability than teleprospecting for optimizing funnel efficiency.  I suspect that is one of the reasons more and more marketing executives have taken ownership of this function from sales.

One of the reasons that teleprospecting is so important is that it is (or should be) a bridge between upstream marketing campaigns and downstream sales teams.  For marketing, the teleprospecting team cannot only convert marketing responses into sales-ready leads, but provide marketing with clarity on how to improve its demand generation efforts.

Let me provide two simple examples:

1. Fine-tuning lead scoring models

There is probably no more promising capability than lead scoring.  To evolve the rule set, marketing must take aggregate funnel data from teleprospecting and fine tune the scoring model.  For example, usually 20-50 percent of the leads will be unreachable after four or five dials and three or so personal emails from the teleprospecting representative.  By comparing a large pool of these unreachable leads with leads that do respond to follow-up of teleprospecting representatives, marketing can often find different characteristics that correlate to responsiveness and dial up the lead score accordingly.

2. Fine-tuning messaging and media strategy

If a large percentage of potential customers the teleprospecting team does reach are out of the target market, then marketing can often fine-tune its messaging and its media/search strategy to improve the percentage of responders who are actually in the target market.

If the teleprospecting team receives similar, simple feedback on the sales-ready leads, that feedback can help the teleprospecting team improve it’s practices.  For example, if there is a disproportionate percentage of sales-ready leads that do not respond to the follow up by sales, then the teleprospecting team (or some subset of the team) most likely needs additional training (or talent) in order to better qualify prospects.

What’s important is that there is a repeatable process and that the operation measures the right things.  What’s also important is that marketing views the teleprospecting capability as a mechanism for improving upstream marketing efficiency and that the teleprospecting operation views sales feedback in a similar light.

In this light, the real question isn’t whether sales or marketing owns the teleprospecting function, but that everyone sees the potential for teleprospecting to better connect marketing to sales and drive optimization of the funnel.

Related resources

Free Web clinic, March 30th — Converting Leads to Sales: How one B2B company generated $4.9 million in additional sales pipeline growth in only 8 months

B2B Marketing: The FUEL methodology outlined

How and When to Use Content in the B2B Sales Process (Members library)

Free MarketingSherpa B2B Newsletter

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  1. Sterling McMannis
    March 25th, 2011 at 17:41 | #1

    Great blog Dave! I find it easier to develop a downstream strategy when the upstream piece of the puzzle is complete. Separating the calling process into two parts is preferable because it means less time spent guessing and more time communicating with decision makers about their specific needs- and only their needs… no matter the touch.

    While the upstream marketing message is always dynamic, there is ever a battle between marketing and sales about when the sales professional takes the baton. I would argue that they have no business in the tele-prospecting arena. They are not process driven are better off presenting to and closing viable leads only.

    Per your description, I would call data gathering and message fine-tuning “tele-prospecting”. This should be step #1. Step #2 should be “a call touch” as a part of a multi-touch marketing/lead gen campaign rather than calling both tele-prospecting.

    Anyhow, that’s my perspective on it… Good stuff!

  2. March 28th, 2011 at 08:16 | #2

    Thank you for the kind words. The numbering of the two examples (fine turning 1) lead scoring and then 2) messaging and media) are not meant to suggest priorities. Sorry for the confusion.

    I agree with you that in general, sales should follow up on qualified opportunities and not invest precious cycles prospecting. Of course, from time to time, their pipeline is dry and they have nothing better to do. There are also some kinds of prospecting that they can do easily, like ask about others to talk to in the course of a sales call. (Such referrals, however, are often best turned over to a tele-prospecting rep).

  3. March 28th, 2011 at 08:20 | #3
  4. June 7th, 2011 at 23:54 | #4

    Really great read and a helpful one at that. I agree that teleprospecting is a key medium for businesses to gain more out of their sales and marketing.

    Hope to read more from you!

  5. October 6th, 2011 at 23:33 | #5

    Great post Dave. Teleprospecting is the best tactic to warmen up leads. There are a lot of benefits tele prospecting offers.

  6. Dave Green
    Dave Green
    October 9th, 2011 at 16:49 | #6

    Thank you, Amber.

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