Many organizations struggle aligning their sales and marketing teams. It’s often difficult for marketing professionals to get the respect of salespeople and vice versa. While each team has its own responsibilities and functions, they both share the same objectives of keeping customers happy while growing business revenue.
The different roles of marketers vs. salespeople
Marketers focus on creating activities to capture the attention of targeted prospects with a goal of driving them into and through the sales process while shortening the sales cycle. Savvy marketers need to be experts in persuading an audience of many. They also add context to your organization’s expertise, products, and services. Their biggest challenge? Generating high-quality leads.
The role of salespeople is completely different. They need to influence one prospect at a time when a potential buyer gets closer to making the buying decision. They close the sales cycle by trying to sign as many opportunities as possible once they mature.
Generating sales-ready quality leads
This is a regular sticking point between marketing and sales. Sales is required to fill the pipeline with enough opportunities to close on a monthly basis to reach their sales objectives and even better, surpass them and get a bonus.
Since salespeople are busy with one-on-one conversations, their time is limited to generate one-to-many conversations. One way to address this challenge is for marketing to add a layer in their marketing tactics. By engaging with interested prospects in a phone conversation and qualify them before handing only those that fit the criteria agreed to with sales.
An important step in this process is to develop a list of requirements agreed to with sales to ensure the lead is properly qualified and reaches the status of what is commonly called a « Sales Qualified Lead » or SQL. If a potential buyer is not mature enough but still qualifies as a potential lead, then the contact can remain in the marketing database for further nurturing. This lead is called a « Marketing Qualified Lead » that will be included in future marketing activities until it either matures or gets tossed out once interest is lost.
This is a proven way to increase the lead quality generated by Marketing and strong enough for Sales to be able to expect to close some of them. Sales people do not have time to waste with “tire-kickers”; those people with an interest in your product or service but not mature enough to be in the buying cycle today. In order for marketing to earn the trust from salespeople, they must at all cost keep marketing qualified leads in the nurture process and not pass them to sales. Otherwise when trust is broken, salespeople will likely treat any lead you give them as unacceptable and a waste of their time and squandering of the marketing budget.
Why Teleprospecting vs. Telemarketing?
A successful pre-sales strategy is to engage in a phone conversation with a potential prospect generated by marketing tactics such as website inquiries, white paper content download, email responsiveness to a marketing campaign, and to qualify it.
First let’s define the difference between telemarketing and teleprospecting:
What is Telemarketing
- Telemarketing is typically a lead generation machine. Agents will contact multiple, unqualified contacts once having identified the target audience, industry, titles and roles and any other relevant criteria. A formal script is developed that presents the company message and offer, while validating contact information and doing a preliminary qualification.
- Telemarketing generates numerous calls per day. It typically runs for a time as a campaign and it’s like a direct-mail piece done verbally, with on average one to three percent return on investment although that also depends on the complexity of the offer. The less complex solution or service offer to small business will generate more follow-ups, the more complex solutions to large businesses, less.
What is Teleprospecting
This is usually carried out by a business development professional (in-house or agency like VSM) that makes every conversation count for the company. This person has typically acquired several years of experience in both telemarketing and sales. The experience comes into play during telephone prospecting by presenting a higher level of business acumen.
- Hunter Mentality – The professional that executes a teleprospecting effort is hungry for new business just like most sales professionals. They will carefully listen for the clues to either qualify the contact as worth pursuing or not.
- Qualifying leads – The biggest difference with a telemarketing effort is that teleprospecting will result in gathering more information about each contact to provide the organization with a full picture of the prospects needs, challenges, including Business Intelligence, and lots more. The contacts will be fully qualified and include specific information required to increase the probability of sales.
- Clean database – long-term results – Along with sales qualified leads, teleprospecting will deliver a cleaner database along with a list of contacts to be removed, others that require further nurturing, or followed-up when they are closer to being sales-ready, etc. This continuous process will help future marketing strategies be more focused, efficient and continue to deliver results. Unfortunately, many companies do not see the value of constantly cleaning and updating their databases because of the short-term focus on their drive for immediate sales results. Teleprospecting is an efficient way to execute a longer-term vision due to the numerous call-backs that lead to stronger relationships with a prospective client while still meeting short-term results and a higher ROI.
Did you know how many calls it takes to initiate a conversation?
The general opinion about telemarketing (shared by Marketing Sherpa) is that if you fail to connect with a prospect following three or four attempts means it’s time to move on. But the experience at VSM Marketing confirms that if you give up after three calls, you are missing out on prime opportunities.
Analyzing our B2B campaign results over several years, we have found that:
To sell a B2B Solution to SMBs
- It takes on average 4 to 6 call attempts to complete a conversation
To sell a mid-to-complex Solution to bigger organizations
- It will take on average 8 to 10 call attempts to complete a conversation
- And it takes on average 12 call attempts before your ROI starts dropping
Therefore, if your telemarketing efforts limit the number of attempts per contact to only two or three calls, imagine the missed opportunities and the lower return-on-investment your campaign gets! It’s best to start with a smaller list and invest to get the maximum value out of it. You need to think long term as well. Get those nurture prospects that you can market to in addition to sales qualified leads.
Business-to-business telemarketing and teleprospecting have survived the gamut of technology-based tactics marketing has come up with in recent years. Why? Because at the end of the day, you need to have a verbal one-on-one conversation with a prospect.
No matter how they found out about your company, product or service, a customer deals with a sales individual and the telephone remains a crucial piece of a B2B lead generation strategy.
Pre-sales business development professionals also fill the gap that exists between Sales and Marketing as they execute teleprospecting programs. They don’t have the time constraints that sales have and are freer to make over 4 attempts to have a conversation. They will promote your products and services (marketing effort) while they start building business relationships (sales effort) before handing off the lead to sales when the time is right.
Isn’t it time for you to bridge the gap between your Sales and Marketing teams with a strategic teleprospecting campaign?
Contact us to discuss your business objectives and we’ll evaluate together if this can help you accelerate your sales cycle.