BtoB

The undervalued metric in b-to-b teleprospecting

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B-to-b teleprospecting continues to be one of the most effective channels for pipeline development. It is more often associated with demand generation for new business—to identify decision-makers and influencers, qualify them, create awareness, develop interest and move the contact to the next action step—all of which are integral in developing a sales-ready lead. But the one result of this process that is so often undervalued is identifying the unqualified account. One key metric that receives much attention in measuring the teleprospecting channel is conversion of contacts to leads. Also measured is the efficiency of the teleprospecting process looking at leads per hour, day, week or any other appropriate time measurement. For example, if 100 businesses are contacted a day and 15% become qualified leads, you've generated 15 sales-ready leads for the sales team to focus their valuable time on and follow up with. What about those 85 businesses that did not qualify? Assuming that your teleprospecting process for qualification is working well, you just saved the sales team from wasting time on 85 businesses that won't get into the current pipeline. Using this example, by the end of the month that number grows to nearly 1,800 unqualified accounts. Translating such time-saving dollars into productivity dollars for the sales team alone may more than justify the cost of the teleprospecting channel. It eliminates what may otherwise be wasted sales time, efforts and expenses. However, do not discount the value of the information that disqualified those businesses. That marketing intelligence can also directly save time and costs for future marketing initiatives. For example, why call, mail, email or otherwise attempt to communicate with a company that is going out of business, already closed its doors or may never be a prospect? In the course of qualifying or disqualifying companies, teleprospecting also delivers a valuable data-hygiene function. Armed with that data, you can target better, adjust strategies and significantly increase overall sales and marketing results. Many of the same benefits are realized when teleprospecting is used in conjunction with other demand channels to focus on qualifying inquiries from those channels. Even with the most sophisticated lead-scoring software for online inquiries, business cards gathered at a trade show, and so forth, at some point a conversation must happen. The teleprospecting channel can be utilized to qualify these inquiries before they are handed off for sales follow-up. In summary, a well-defined, executed and managed teleprospecting channel should be able to deliver the quality and quantity of sales-ready leads that can directly contribute to sales revenue. The marketing intelligence, time and productivity savings that result from understanding unqualified accounts can also make an equally valuable contribution to any organization. Hugo Bader is director-business development at telemarketing company DialAmerica (www.dialamerica.com). He can be reached at hbader@dialamerica.com.
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