Lead Generation, as a process, is as basic as it gets: A prospect is engaged in a conversation, then asked for vital information, then ultimately qualified as a sales lead. But in Business-to-Business (B2B) Outbound Telemarketing, the responsibilities are not limited to “searching” for leads. Considering that the prospective clients are also businesses, the dynamics of the demand for business partnerships may rapidly change before anyone’s eyes. Hence, leads must also be followed-up until the very closure of the transaction.
This is also to say, to “extend” the life of a sales lead.
The rationale behind this need lies on every Telemarketing company’s desire to generate quality leads as opposed to quantity. After a professional telemarketer has just finished a successful correspondence with a prospect, it should be imperative for the telemarketing team to check on what has transpired during the conversation, assess the degree to which the lead is qualified, and confirm whether future contacts and meetings are necessary. Why? Accuracy, for one. Sure, the agents gathered all these information from the prospects, but are they correct? And if they are correct, are they relevant? Are they useful?
Another reason is, again, business operations and needs rapidly change. It’s not the same as with regular household consumers, basically because these people usually know whether they want a product or service. If a housewife agrees to buy a vacuum cleaner next week, the salesman doesn’t necessarily need to follow-up on her to verify the agreement. Otherwise, if she says they don’t need a vacuum cleaner, the chances of her changing minds are already remote.
Most of the time in B2B, the process of “extending” the life of sales leads goes even further – especially when the prospect manifests a “soft NO”. In industries such as Information Technology and Software Development, the word “no” is never absolute. New innovations and upgrades happen almost every day, and no one knows what companies would require in the future. In this case, the telemarketing team reserves the lead for future use, which only means that they would have an additional (although non-urgent) task of getting updates on the target company’s recent and upcoming changes in their operations, particularly their potential needs and wants, which may bring about another opportunity for a business partnership.
Various outsourced Lead Generation and Appointment Setting firms develop their own strategies in looking after their leads to make sure that they follow through. Some implement a hands-on management style, such as delegating a team whose sole purpose is to track the progress of a sales lead. Others rely on establishing a steady communication with the prospect wherein the goal is to secure a spot on that company’s priority list should their needs arise in the future.
Fostering a sales lead may require additional time and resources, but the potential gain makes the effort worth doing. As leads could either be an unexpected lucky strike or a total waste of time, don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched, and all that aphorism.