In my last blog post, I suggested that one of the primary reasons teleprospectors are dissatisfied with their jobs is that they receive inadequate feedback. This leads them to feel that what they do for a living is unimportant, and no one wants to feel that their work is unimportant. Teleprospectors don’t like when people misunderstand the nature of what they do. They want people to know that what they do requires skill, talent and perseverance.
Marketing encompasses a lot of different activities. Imagine that you are a marketing generalist. You drive lead generation and qualification, create branding and messaging, produce trade shows and webinars, run multimedia campaigns and so forth. You wear a lot of hats.
Every day you come to work, there’s a whiteboard outside your office that reads “Marketing Scorecard” across the top and lists you and your colleagues on the left-hand side. To the right of your names are two columns labeled “Words Typed” and “Documents Created.” Each day, the numbers in those columns are updated. If your word and document counts are higher than expected, you get a pat on the back; if they’re lower, your boss encourages you to type faster. To spice things up, on some days she holds a typing “blitz.” After each blitz, the number of press releases and webinar scripts produced is higher than the number produced during the last blitz. Before long, you become good at typing an adequate number of words and the right number of documents. However, you might also begin to resent the fact that you weren’t being measured on the real nature of your work and the value you produce.
This is the way most marketing organizations manage teleprospectors. A teleprospector’s real job is to have great conversations with prospects, through which they attract and qualify potential new business partners for the company. Too often, they are managed based on how many times they dial a phone and how long they spend with the phone receiver off the hook.
This way of measuring is demeaning. There is no skill reflected in those measures. Teleprospectors didn’t go to college for those skills, and those skills were not part of the selection process. No teleprospector has ever woken up in the morning inspired by the possibility of pressing buttons on a dial pad. Teleprospectors want to be measured for having great conversations with prospects. They want to be evaluated based on their skill in working through difficult gatekeepers and for artfully navigating the minefields of prospect questions and objections. Teleprospectors want to be recognized for their persistence and determination.
Recommended action: Put away your dials and talk-time reports (you can look at them later), and start counting conversations. Celebrate the reps who achieve big in these ways, and coach the ones who do not. When you do, dials and talk time will take care of themselves.