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:
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:
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.”