July 2

3 Principles for Effective Teleprospecting that Drove an 839% Increase in Leads

Inside Sales


marketing-sales-hustleWhen I first started making test calls with MECLABS, I was unsuccessful, to say the least. I was unaware of the real goal of the call, lacked an effective strategy, and was generally unprepared. After about 900 calls, my results were disappointing — I only had one lead!

Since I was unsuccessful, I lacked confidence in my ability, and that feeling came through on each call. After receiving both informal and formal training, as well as making the choice to dive into the task at hand, my results grew to six leads after only 575 calls. That was an 839% improvement.

Although I did not realize I was following a defined outline at the time, after completing MarketingSherpa’s B2B Marketing Advanced Practices Online Course, I was able to see the improvements I made broken down into three basic principles for effective teleprospecting:

  • Be human
  • Build a relationship
  • Be knowledgeable

Of course, it’s difficult to translate these blanket statements into applicable action. I learned the translation must start with the individual who is making the call, because teleprospecting leads starts with a one-on-one phone conversation.

Be human

“We believe that people buy from people, that people don’t buy from companies, from stores or from websites; people buy from people,” said Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS.

To be human, on an individual basis, phone call by phone call, one must be completely mentally present. This means, concentrating on each call, focusing on each decision maker, and determining the qualification of each company.

The most difficult aspect in being present during calls is leaving any anxieties unrelated to work outside of the workplace. Teleprospecting can be a highly stressful, tedious and monotonous task, but mistakes can be prevented by giving the proper energy to each call and leaving unrelated issues aside. I discovered that by creating a healthy work-life balance, I could decrease the inevitable potential for anxiety that often comes along with the position.

Along with focused energy, starting fresh with every call is essential in teleprospecting. Carrying any mistakes, assumptions or a bad attitude from one call to another is a sure way to miss out on opportunities for qualified sales leads. Whatever was done or said by one decision maker should not affect the next company’s opportunity to have a pleasant, unbiased conversation.

In any case, you must continue to optimize your approach to the call, notes on the call and call style by finding the best method through tested means and with applicable feedback from mentors and managers. In teleprospecting, you must always be open to constructive criticism. With the use of analytics in the marketing world growing, there is a ton of data supporting methods and ways to optimize.

Build a relationship

The phone call must be between two humans, and not between a human and a “salesperson” focusing on the universal lead definition (ULD). The great rule in sales is to ask open-ended questions. This allows for less questioning and a better flow during the conversation.  It also gives the decision maker a chance to supply complete information about the company’s issues and solutions.

Another essential element to teleprospecting is conversing by the 80/20 rule: Listen for 80% and talk for 20% of the conversation. The universal lead definition configures the notes, but attentive listening provides the information. Avoid interrogating the lead; instead, engage in a conversation.

Be knowledgeable

First, be knowledgeable by creating good habits for a good call. This includes not only knowing how to build a relationship and starting every call fresh, but it also includes remembering the goal of the call: qualifying sales-ready leads.

Many think this will be automatic, but it’s easy to get sidetracked in other action results for a call. For example, good habits include trail closing even if you “think” there is no interest, and avoiding using actions that could be considered a crutch, like scheduling a callback time or sending an email.

Other actions besides the goal of the call are sometimes beneficial, but this is only after a conversation and/or close have been attempted. It is important to remember these are not substitutes for the true goal of the call: qualified, sales-ready leads.

Second, be knowledgeable by knowing your product or service. Be aware of the company’s value proposition by clearly defining the unique benefit to the customer over the competition. It’s a good practice to be able to summarize this in a sentence or two. Know common objectives and competition to your product or service so you can be prepared.

Overall, don’t get bombarded with facts, tactics and questions; keep it simple. As Dr. McGlaughlin has also said, “Clarity trumps persuasion.”

Related Resources:

Lead Nurturing in 6 Simple Steps

Lead Generation: Does your teleprospecting deliver value to prospects?

The Most Important B2B Marketing Metrics for CEOs

Trade Show Follow-Up: 5 tips to optimize response

B2B Lead Generation: 300% ROI from email and teleprospecting combo to house list (via MarketingSherpa)

B2B Lead Generation: 4 ways to use teleprospecting in your next pilot (and 2 ways to measure it) (via MarketingSherpa Blog)

About the author 

Brian Carroll

Brian Carroll is the CEO and founder of markempa, helping companies to convert more customers with empathy-based marketing.

He is the author of the bestseller, Lead Generation for the Complex Sale and founded B2B Lead Roundtable LinkedIn Group with 20,301+ members.

  1. There is nothing more important than speaking as though you are in the process for the long-haul. We’re based in the highlands of Scotland and more-so here, than elsewhere I have been in the country, there is a focus on relationship and knowing the people you work with.

    We don’t believe in cold calling, we make numerous calls that cold callers would call a failure, where the initial call is a ‘no’, but can actually be the start of developing relationship with business owners, who after they have been re-contacted a couple of times on the back of the hint of interest, will eventually turn into clients.

    It’s remembering that it’s not all in the here and now, but in the lasting impression you make.

  2. Hello,

    This article is very information heavy, which is useful for someone like me who is into building peofessional relations and making lasting impressions. Very conversational and great layout!

  3. Hi Tiffany,

    This is a nice Article. Your Tipps in this Article is very helpful for all telemarketers.
    Best Regards

  4. Thanks for the ideas Tiffany! Great example for all b2b telemarketers out there to get plenty of qualified sales leads. There should be a drive that will push them to do things in a proper way.

  5. Hi Tiffany! The three basic principles in teleprospecting are simple but it will definitely go a long way in generating quality leads. I totally agree with you when you said people buy from people. That human touch is still the key when you want to reach out to prospects to turn them into loyal customers. Thanks for the post. http://bit.ly/ayeen8

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