Do You Expect Your Inside Sales Team to Practice Alchemy?

August 15th, 2011

Originally published on B2B LeadBlog

Too many marketers think that their inside sales teams are alchemists. They dump data that’s absolute garbage into the top of the sales funnel and expect sales lead gold to come out the other side.

This came to mind when my teleprospecting team was struggling with one of our lead-generation clients.

They had promised us a “high-quality list” from their database: tens of thousands of names of c-suite executives who were in their target-market sweet spot.

The reality: nearly half the contacts had disconnected phone numbers and another 30 percent definitely wasn’t in the target market for this particular product. Think fast food joints and mom-and-pop businesses. The remaining contacts had missing or inaccurate information. My team spent at least 80 percent of their time doing research and investigation to make the list usable so they could do what they were actually hired to do — generate leads.

Unless you want your inside sales professionals to be mere data entry clerks, test your lists! It takes about 30 hours of calling to attain a fairly accurate understanding of list quality by answering these questions:

  • Is there duplicate data?
  • Is the information current and complete?
  • Are the contacts truly in your product’s target market?

If more than 1 out of 20 contacts fail this test, I advise cleaning this list before you pass it along to a lead-generation team. Unless, of course, you don’t mind your team spending their time tracking down and entering data instead of generating leads.

Here’s the crux: you may think you have this awesome, robust database, but only a small segment of it may actually be the customer you want to reach. Unless you’re constantly updating your lists, too much of the data is likely old and unusable.

Your team may, indeed, be alchemists, and generate impressive numbers of leads regardless of the garbage you’re giving them. My team did. They ended up giving the client with the horrifically bad list an 800 percent return on investment, but not without a lot of extra work and stress. I can’t help but think how much higher their ROI would have been if we were given a better list. Think about what your teams could achieve, too.

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