In a previous post, I suggested that one of the primary reasons teleprospectors are dissatisfied with their jobs is that they do not receive adequate feedback on their results. This leads to the sense that what they do for a living is unimportant, and no one wants to feel this way.

Another, perhaps even more powerful, source of disengagement is variable compensation based on revenue contribution.


Some readers may be recoiling in horror at the thought that a teleprospector would object to being held accountable for revenue, but hear me out.

We all prefer to be held accountable (and paid variable compensation) based on things that are within our control. The more completely we control an outcome, the more we are motivated by variable compensation tied to those outcomes.

Naturally, salespeople are motivated by the goal of generating sales revenue, and teleprospectors are very much like salespeople, in that they talk to and often try to influence the behavior of prospects. While teleprospectors contribute to pipeline and revenue, they generally have no further contact with prospects once they are turned over to sales. Following that transfer, there are typically dozens of contacts and many months of sales cycle before a deal is done, but the teleprospector has long since been out of the picture.

To properly assign credit where credit is due, teleprospectors should be measured and compensated, based on the production of leads that sales receives and accepts for followup. At SiriusDecisions, we distinguish two key stages in the early life of a lead once it reaches sales. One is the sales accepted lead (SAL) stage, which is the formal acceptance of a lead by sales. At this stage, sales has not spoken with the prospect yet, but has reviewed the coordinates associated with the lead and deemed them acceptable. If teleprospectors are paid for production of SALs, there is a great danger that the standards for quality will suffer, as teleprospectors will be motivated to deliver anything that looks like a lead – whether or not it actually is.

The next stage is the sales qualified lead (SQL), which occurs once sales has spoken with the person named in the lead and has determined that it represents a viable sales opportunity. In a highly functioning relationship between teleprospecting and sales, it is only necessary to measure the conversion of leads from teleprospecting to SQL in order to gauge how well teleprospecting is doing its job. Once a lead converts to SQL, it is time to acknowledge a job well done by teleprospecting.

When teleprospectors are made to wait and ponder the fates of their leads, their motivation and productivity wanes. When they are rewarded in a timely fashion for doing what is within their control, the teleprospecting team becomes motivated to produce more SQLs.

What methods are you using to measure effectiveness?