Oscar Wilde once said, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” We don’t like to be the subject of gossip, but neither do we want to be invisible. This often rings true in the workplace, where employees consistently report that not receiving feedback and not feeling that their work is important are two primary causes of job dissatisfaction.
So consider the plight of the B2B teleprospector, who commonly delivers a qualified lead to sales only once or twice a week. To put that in perspective, teleprospectors make between 100 and 500 calls for every lead they qualify. Along the way, they relentlessly pursue innumerable dead ends, enduring countless suspicious greetings and abrupt dismissals to produce that one good lead. It is a hard job.
All the while, managers and sales reps are breathing down teleprospectors’ necks, demanding to know when the next good lead is going to come. So, of course, when a good lead finally does come, any teleprospector is excited. She writes it up, sends it off, jumps up from her chair for a quick victory lap around the office, and then…
And then… nothing, a deafening silence. More often than not, that handoff is the last the teleprospector will ever hear of that lead. And when a teleprospector receives no feedback on a lead, he or she is left to form an opinion about what might have happened to it. That opinion is likely to fall somewhere between “I guess that one didn’t pan out” and “Why do I waste my time producing leads that sales is going to screw up?” Neither explanation leaves teleprospectors motivated to continue fighting the good fight to uncover more leads.
There are many good reasons to create a full accounting for every lead produced by teleprospecting. In upcoming blog posts, I’ll discuss some of these reasons. For now, simply consider that every time your teleprospectors produce a workable lead that they never hear about again, their odds of producing the next lead go down slightly, while the odds that they’ll start looking for work elsewhere go up.
There are many ways of creating a feedback loop for leads delivered to sales, but the best is to establish service-level agreements (SLAs) between marketing and sales, along with the reports that support them. Doing so will establish the basis for a full accounting of all leads passed to sales and set up the mechanisms to track what sales does with each lead.
To create a continuous learning process, require that every lead disqualified by sales be coded with a disqualification reason. Report those back to teleprospecting and provide training around them.
If you don’t have SLAs in place yet, you can still establish monthly meetings with sales to review lead status and provide a live feedback channel from sales to teleprospecting. If teleprospectors and sales reps are grouped into teams, this process should be structured so that all teams produce and deliver feedback in the same way. Hold sales accountable for 100 percent followup and feedback (by providing disqualification reasons to teleprospectors), and hold teleprospecting accountable for continuous improvement. Everyone will end up happier.