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Scaling the Teleprospecting Mountain

July 16, 2014 | By Julian Archer

When recently tackling several client projects aimed at determining the optimal multi-country teleprospecting structure, it’s essential to understand the challenge from all angles, evaluate all possible and realistic route options and consider your team members and partners.

Many undertakings in life are often likened to climbing a mountain, with daunting challenges, an upward struggle and an almost unending variety of obstacles to overcome and possible paths to travel. We trust our efforts will ultimately lead to successfully reaching our goal.

Scaling the Teleprospecting MountainWhen recently tackling several client projects aimed at determining the optimal multi-country teleprospecting structure, I again considered this an appropriate metaphor and approached the problem like any good mountaineer. When climbing a mountain – or choosing a teleprospecting structure – it’s essential to consider the following points.

First, understand the challenge from all angles. Agree on the ultimate goal – scaling the highest summit or simply attempting to reach base camp? Understand the implications of all external aspects over which you have absolutely no control (e.g. climate, terrain). Determine and evaluate internal factors for which you are responsible or can at least influence (e.g. equipment, fitness).

Second, evaluate all possible and realistic route options. Based on your findings and assessment from the previous step, match your objectives and external and internal considerations with possible routes and select your preferred option.

Third, consider your team members and partners. Who will be responsible for what? Where and how will each participate?

With this metaphor in mind, we presented the Teleprospecting Structure Decision Support Framework at the recent SiriusDecisions Summit 2014 in Orlando, Florida. The tool lays out the following steps:

1. Assess external and internal considerations.

This is an obvious but often neglected step. Ensure all stakeholders have reached agreement on the role and objectives of the teleprospecting function. All too often, I have found that sales and marketing lack a clear understanding of the tradeoffs of a marketing-oriented lead qualification team and a quota-oriented inside sales function. Consider and weight elements that are outside the teleprospecting team’s control (e.g. sales go-to-market model, number and size of markets, minimum language coverage required ). Then assess and weigh internal factors (e.g. teleprospecting contribution to pipeline, expected level of lead quality prior to handoff, available technology support). At the end of this stage, all stakeholders should understand the challenge at hand.

2. Define model options.

Most organizations broadly operate one of three teleprospecting models: a marketing-led local country decentralized model, a marketing-led multi-country centralized model, and a sales-led team-aligned model. Understand and document the consistency of process adoption, scalability, cost of operation, and alignment with marketing or sales goals.

3. Evaluate model scenarios.

Combine your assessment of the teleprospecting function’s role with your understanding of internal and external factors, and the pros and cons of each potential organizational structure. Map your assessment of the criteria you have analyzed to the various model options. A note of caution: Teams managing multi-regional teams are effectively climbing two or three teleprospecting “mountains” simultaneously. Be open to operating different structures in each region.

4. Select the right resources

Finally, turn your attention to deciding about staffing the function with in-house resources, external resources or a blend of both. Consider the benefits of workload balancing, division of tasks by market or activity type, and market coverage.

Whether scaling a mountain or organizing the most efficient teleprospecting structure for your own organization, you are ultimately responsible for arriving at your chosen goal. Climbing will be tough, but taking these logical steps will help you arrive at your destination with more certainty, less risk and lower costs.

If you would like to know more about the SiriusDecisions Teleprospecting Decision Support Framework, please contact me directly by commenting on this blog post.

Julian Archer

Julian Archer is a Senior Research Director of Marketing Operations Strategies at SiriusDecisions. He has more than 25 years of international b-to-b demand creation experience within corporate and pan-European field functions. Follow Julian on Twitter @julianarcher

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