The other day I came across a great blog post from MarketingProfs on how to select a teleprospecting partner. I was thrilled to see the article because it means the idea of partnering to grow your business is going mainstream.
While I found the post to be informative and thought-provoking, it was also geared more toward marketers and, in my opinion, didn’t dig quite deep enough if you are going to develop a true partnership like what we try to achieve here at Mansfield Sales Partners. That’s why I originally commented on their post and decided to expound on those comments in this blog post.
The seven steps MarketingProfs lists are a great introduction to a company that is just beginning to think about outsourcing their telephone prospecting. I’m paraphrasing, but essentially the steps are: define your needs, determine your priorities, do your research, request a phone call from the vendor, issue an RFP, objectively evaluate the RFP responses, and conduct a site visit. All good, solid advice.
For a company that is looking for a more experienced and strategic sales partner rather than a simple telemarketing partner, I think the list needs three more steps:
1. Agree on Program Management
One of the biggest obstacles to the success of these programs is the creation and execution of a management plan for the sales partner. Before you agree to partner with anyone, you need to agree on a few simple but essential things:
- Who is responsible for the overall success of the program?
- What is the level of integration and communication with the internal sales team?
- How involved will the sales consulting firm be in the creation and evolution of the plan?
Only when you get the answer to these can you move forward to talk about your company’s goals and the actual activities around generating leads.
2. Determine Shared Goals and Close the Loop
The stated goals for the program should never be limited to activity-based metrics like number of calls, number of meetings, etc. They should instead also include revenue related sales goals and expectations. For example, there should be clear visibility and feedback about how the inside sales activities are impacting the sales pipeline internal quotas. Most of the time, it seems, once the meeting is set the client fails to re-engage with the inside sales partners to provide feedback and strategic planning based on the meeting results. Failure to complete the communication loop prohibits the kind of incremental improvements necessary to make the project profitable and successful for all involved.
3. Develop a High Quality Prospects List
The quality of the lead lists is essential to the success of the lead development program. It is critical that the outsource provider be able to effectively mine internal databases and list generation sources. Some degree of industry specialization from the provider becomes important, as is a degree of autonomy; the vendor should be allowed to discuss and demonstrate creativity when it comes to generating lists and targets. Part of the interview process should dig into process and examples for the preparation of these lists.
So, MarketingProfs is right when it states that teleprospecting isn’t all about smiling and dialing. If it were that easy, everyone would do it. To be truly successful and to ensure that you have a sales pipeline that enables your company to grow, you need to approach cold-calling as a strategic activity. You need to build a relationship with your sales consulting firm that is based on clearly defined roles, mutually shared goals, and, above all, trust.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in April 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and relevancy.