HomeBlog Summit Europe 2016 Highlights: Following the Golden Rule of B-to-B Lead Development

Summit Europe 2016 Highlights: Following the Golden Rule of B-to-B Lead Development

September 27, 2016|Kate Pierpont

  • Teleservices teams are being managed and measured inconsistently, which impacts their ability to track and improve their performance
  • Teleservices reps are being asked to juggle a range of activities with no structured guidance or support; this results in inconsistent performance
  • Organizations are not managing the most important determinant of teleprospecting success: the quality of their conversations with prospects

As they took to the stage this morning at Summit Europe 2016 in London to present “The State of Teleservices in EMEA,” SiriusDecisions analysts Kerry Cunningham and Isabel Montesdeoca shared a shocking stat from a recent customer poll.  When asked if they would prefer an email or a phone call as an intro from a new vendor, nearly 80 percent of survey respondents said they would rather be contacted via email.

“We have met the enemy,” Kerry intoned to the audience, “And it is us.”

This made for the perfect segue for Kerry and Isabel to impart the “The Golden Rule of B-to-B Lead Development” to the audience of Summit attendees: “Do unto others the type of teleprospecting you would have them do unto you.” However, they noted that this rule is not being followed, as a result of three key issues impacting teleservices organizations today:

  • Teleservices teams are being managed and measured inconsistently, which impacts their ability to track and improve their performance
  • Teleservices reps are being asked to juggle a range of activities with no structured guidance or support; this results in inconsistent performance
  • Organizations are not managing the most important determinant of teleservices success: the quality of their conversations with prospects

Isabel then explained in depth the results of the survey, which polled 100 European teleservices leaders from a cross-section of small and medium-sized businesses to large enterprises. All respondents were based in Europe and had direct management responsibility for a teleservices team delivering services to one or more of 11 European countries across 15 industries.

“Our goal in conducting this study was to understand more about how the teleservices function is being employed in Europe and benchmark these teams across a number of factors,” said Isabel.

Next, Kerry got down to basics by defining terminology – starting with lead development as a blanket term for all pre-sales telephone-based work. Within lead development are three distinct functions: telemarketing (contact discovery, validation, account mapping, some event recruitment), telequalification (followup on marketing-generated leads, qualifying opportunities), and teleprospecting (outbound calls to prospects who have not previously expressed an intent to engage, qualifying leads).

Using the same categories that Kerry had defined, Isabel shared how respondents were asked how much of their team was focused in each area. In Europe, it was revealed that the activity mix was most heavily focused on telemarketing (40 percent), with telequalification and teleprospecting coming second and third. At 61 percent, Ireland stood out as the country with the strongest weighting toward telemarketing.

An ongoing debate in tele is whether lead development reps (LDRs) should report to marketing or to sales. The surveyed respondents favored the sales reporting model; the country that stood out in this area was the UK, where respondents reported a much higher percentage of tele reporting into sales.

“Regardless of how your tele function is organized, we should all agree on the desired end state,” Isabel said. “Everything we do should be consistent with getting teleservices to a place where it can systematically deliver results using processes that are well planned and interconnected with upstream and downstream functions.”

Kerry and Isabel identified an eight-factor model that organizations must master to optimize a b-to-b lead development function. These factors can be classified into three foundational elements, four building blocks and one overarching discipline:

  • The foundational factors. The model is built on three pillars: the culture of the lead development organization, the design of lead development jobs, and the measurements that are established to characterize performance and diagnose opportunities to optimize.
  • The building blocks. On top of the three foundational factors sit four operational building blocks. The first of these, LDR selection, establishes how to select candidates who will likely succeed in an LDR role. The second, LDR development, describes an approach for organizing and prioritizing subjects for mastery by the LDRs. Next, how LDR roles should be executed is considered, including the tools, processes and systems that enable consistently excellent execution. The final building block is the thoughtful selection of calling targets.
  • The overarching discipline. The last factor in the model, management, builds on the foundational elements of culture, job design and measurement to ensure the consistent application of best practices for governing the effort and the quality of work conducted by lead development.

As the conclusion of their presentation neared, Isabel advised marketing leaders to assess their LDR organization’s execution against the eight-factor model and to build focus on conversation quality into the LDR org’s culture. Kerry then addressed the sales function and recommended they collaborate with marketing to ensure that enablement of LDRs is consistent with best practices, adhere to service-level agreements and follow up on all leads to drive continuous improvement.

Bringing things full circle, Kerry left the audience with this bit of tele wisdom, “In the drive towards tele effectiveness, we are both the problem and the solution. If we can move away from a single-minded focus on activity to one that rewards meaningful conversations with prospects, we have the power to turn things around.”

Kate Pierpont

Kate Pierpont is an editor at SiriusDecisions and has nearly 20 years of editorial experience, the majority of which was in magazine publishing. Follow Kate on Twitter @KatePierpont.
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