As provider of Outsourced Lead Generation, at Invenio Solutions®, we are always on the hunt for the right conversation that could provide us with our next client. In 2014, we conducted a survey asking participants: If you could create the perfect outsourced sales solutions partner for lead generation for the front-end of the sales funnel, what would the partner look like? The most popular answer for the ideal sales partner was “one that responds to marketing qualified leads in a timely manner and a partner that understands the client’s industry well.” Survey participants, that included members of the software, telecom and financial industries, identified client industry knowledge as the one attribute that’s just as important, if not more in certain cases, than the ability to sell well. Even though sales is a function that transcends all companies, we had to look not just at our expertise in sales, but also at which industries were we the best-versed in as this helps better focus efforts on new prospects.
When asked why an individual would consider outsourcing lead generation and/or sales, over 20% of participants responded with: “We need to warm up leads for our sales team.” For other participants, metrics was a driving factor in considering outsourced lead generation, with almost 19% responding that they needed to create a metrics-driven sales process using a CRM. The front-end of the prospect funnel is the least fun part of the new business sourcing journey. And no surprise, sales teams prefer the back-end of the funnel- leads are already warmed up if qualified correctly, pipeline is more predictable and deals are won.
So why not find an outsourced lead generation partner so that your sales team focus on what they enjoy most i.e. closing? Well, some of our respondents did do that. Exploring the search process for finding an outsourced sales solutions partner, survey participants indicated that online research on a potential partner was their first step. When asked how well certain phrases relate to online research on a lead generation/outsourced sales partner, we were surprised that “Cold Calling” was a popular phrase. Whoever said “Cold Calling is dead” is wrong! When it comes to how people search for a sales partner, Cold Calling is still a term some companies use to hunt online for outsourced sales partners. Additionally, participants were asked which criteria they would use to evaluate the list of companies generated via online search results. The majority answered that “Feedback from peers and other like companies” was the most important criteria when evaluating potential sales solutions partners. Reputation is everything, in this case within an industry- eg: we have to treat our telecom customers right if we want any other telecom referral business. “Side-by-side competitive comparisons” followed close behind as a method of evaluating potential sales partners. How we looked against our competition was critical. How did we differentiate ourselves? And how do we compare against an internal sales team? Other criteria identified by survey participants included customer success stories, online reviews, and company site content (blogs, white papers, thought leadership) as means to evaluate an outsourced sales partner.
When asked about other sources participants might use to find a lead generation/outsourced sales partner respondents once again selected “Referral from professional colleagues” as the main source. Others attributed their marketing agencies, LinkedIn search and business consulting firms as their source when searching for a sales solution partner-all channels that need to be part of raising awareness around our solutions.
The survey also delved into why an individual might be deterred from outsourcing sales and lead generation for their company. Cost of outsourcing was listed as the obstacle. Getting ahead of budgeting cycles was key for outsourcing to be considered as a lead generation channel. Another popular reason that was a deterrent to outsourced lead generation: Past experiences where sales partners delivered poor quality leads. Discussions around a PPL or non-PPL model for success as well as sales program advocates devoted to success both on the customer and client end are key to producing qualified leads. If you are a company that would like to consider a lead generation or cold calling outsourcer, when considering outsourcing sales solutions and lead generation, keep in mind that though the cost of outsourcing may be seemingly high, a lead generation ROI assessment might prove the costs worthwhile. To guarantee leads are sales qualified, be sure to partner with a vendor with a proven track record of producing hot leads that are sales ready.
For more information on why sales outsourcing should be a part of your 2015 budget, check out our free webinar, now on demand here.