Sep 09

The Reality of Outsourcing Sales Lead Generation

Ok. You know the importance of generating qualified sales leads for your internal sales staff. Good, quality sales leads are the life blood of any sales operation.  Generate more sales leads should keep your internal staff busy closing more sales and generating more revenue.  Do you keep the sales lead generation process completely in-house or do you outsource some or all of the process?  By whatever evaluation criteria you use, it is likely that you will decide at some point to outsource a portion of the lead generation process.  Depending upon how you manage your outsourcing vendor and the lead generation process will significantly affect the results, good or bad.

Listed below are recommendations on how your company´s investment of time and resources with your outsourcing partner can result in a successful sales lead generation program.

  1. Set the proper expectations. Be pragmatic.  Your decision to outsource the sales lead generation process reflects a variety of factors.  If this process has not been meeting expectations internally for your company, what suggests your outsourcing partner will be more successful?  Perhaps more experience, better infrastructure, greater focus of resources, whatever the reason, your outsource provider needs to be able to deliver.  How will your company deem the outsourcing relationship a success?  Lower sales lead cost?  Lower cost per sale?  Shorten time from sales lead contact to sale conversion.  Average sales leads generated per agent hour?  Improved quality of sales leads versus internally staff generated?  This list can be extensive.  It is better at the outset to provide your outsourcing partner some type of guidance as to how your company will judge the project success or failure to avoid surprises.
  2. Start with baby steps. Your company knows its market.  Your outsourcing partner knows how to generate sales leads.  (If it doesn´t you already made your first mistake and it is better to gracefully exit as quickly as possible.  No harm, no foul – just some damaged credibility with your internal staff.)  This may be in the form of a pilot-project, with a limited commitment of resources to minimize risk.  Alternatively you can limit the amount of resources (hours, personnel, daily sales lead caps) until both parties are satisfied with the results and it moves to the next phase of growth.
  3. Frequent communication. Since this is a new relationship between your company and your outsourcing partner, be prepared to invest the time to respond to the volume of questions as the sales lead generation program starts off.  Notwithstanding how well you know your market, your outsourcing partner is guaranteed to have first-time questions that were not anticipated.  The sooner doubts are eliminated, the sooner the outsourcing representatives will improve their ability to promote your product or service.  You want to get the outsourcing reps to “speak your language” as soon as possible.  This “teething period” will provide your company valuable real-time, market feedback that will help your company fine-tune the sales lead generation program.
  4. Do Your Job (Well). Clearly understand what will be your company´s role.  You define what will be the criteria for a qualified sales lead.  You define the characteristics of the calling list data that the outsourcing reps will use.  You define the telephone script.  You define the sale lead contact information to be captured.  You define key benefits that need to be communicated by the outsourcing reps to get the sales lead.  You define how your internal sales staff will follow up and work the sales leads.  You define how best to communicate with your outsourcing partner.  If you do not do your job (well), you are setting up your outsourcing partner to fail and not meet your company´s goals.
  5. Quantity versus Quality. Is your company´s internal sales staff starving for leads of any type or is it more of too little quality?  If your outsourcing partner´s sales representatives are the “fronters” pre-qualifying sales leads, is your internal staff ready to act as “closers” and turn that sales lead into a sale?  If your internal closers are not converting enough sales over a reasonable period of time for the sales cycle, is it the quality of the sales leads being received or the quality of your closers?
  6. Prepare the Back-End. If your outsourcing partner hits a home run, is your company prepared to convert the sales leads into sales?  There is a process from initial contact to sales close that may span several days to many months.  Depending upon the product or service and whether it is Business-to-Business (B2B) versus Business-to-Consumer (B2C), the sales lead can take many different forms and timeframes.   Is it a “call-back” from your internal staff (the experts), an appointment, an on-line sales presentation, sending an Email or fax then follow up call, etc.?  You really don´t want to tell your outsourcing partner that you need to “pause” the sales lead generation program because your company is having problems with the follow up back-end process.  (You did NOT do your job well.)
  7. Listen. Your outsourcing partner is talking to your potential market on a daily basis.  In a very short span of time, the outsourcing representatives will have heard many, many things:  the perception of your company´s offer versus the competition, whether this is the right market for your offer, whether the presentation of your company offer is hitting the “sweet spot” of the customer, etc.  Invest the time to listen to the sales representatives and their conversations with potential customers.  You will learn from the experience, allow for adjustments and improve the results of the sales lead generation program.

To paraphrase a movie from the ´90s:  “Help me…help you.  Help me, help you.”  Help your outsourcing partner to help your company to be successful.


For more information, please visit:  http://www.NexusTeleservices.com/